Oh no, Romo! The possible loss of your franchise QB headlines this week's edition of start 'em, sit 'em
Brad Johnson, QB, Cowboys: No Romo, no problem. The Cowboys Pro Bowl quarterback's broken pinkie only means that the efficient and usually effective Johnson may get a chance to make his season debut against a Rams defense that settled down under Jim Haslett after being throttled the first two weeks. Johnson may be even a better play against St. Louis than the mistake-prone Romo playing with a splint might be. Should Dallas coaches play it safe with Romo as expected, look for the veteran to fully utilize Dallas' vast arsenal of pass receivers now bolstered by the addition of WR Roy Williams. The Rams secondary that would have trouble against T.O. or Williams alone-guarding both is probably asking too much.
Matt Schaub, QB, Texans: Whenever you think it's safe to sprinkle dirt over Schaub and pick up Sage Rosenfels, the former comes alive, as he did against the Dolphins last week in an improbable win against Miami. This week he has a dream matchup against the downtrodden and winless Lions, who coughed up a win last week against Minnesota and have given up at least 31 points in four of the five games this season. Look for another big passing day for Schaub and his big threat receiver, Andre Johnson.
Warrick Dunn, RB, Falcons: Quick quiz: How many running backs have more rushing yards than Dunn over the past two weeks? If you said two (Clinton Portis and Brandon Jacobs) you'd be correct. Dunn has received a heavier workload over the past three weeks than his backfield mate Earnest Graham, getting 49 handoffs to Graham's 35, and this week's opponents, the Seahawks, have allowed their opponents' top running back 226 yards and two TDs over the last two weeks. Although Dunn's 115 yards last week were the most he's had in a game in two years, it's not only wishful thinking to believe that he'll have a solid fantasy week again.
Bernard Berrian, WR, Vikings: Last week in Atlanta the Bears secondary got burned for 218 yards and a TD by Roddy White and Harry Douglas. This bodes very well for Berrian, who has combined with Gus Frerotte for 100 yards and a TD in each of the last two games. Over the last four weeks since he and Frerotte have teamed up, only White (453) has more receiving yards and yards per game (113.3) than Berrian's 398 and 99.5 in the NFL.
Randy Moss, WR, Patriots: Sure Matt Cassel is in a terrible slump, the Pats couldn't move the ball against the Chargers, and Champ Bailey will be in Moss' face all day, but the Broncos safeties are wrought with havoc, which should translate into at least one big play for the game's best big play receiver.
Lawrence Tynes, K, Giants: After missing the first six weeks of the season with a knee injury, Tynes is expected to step back onto the field to resume his duties, replacing the perfect John Carney. He couldn't pick a better team to come back against, since the 49ers have allowed a league-high 16 field goals this year, including a total of seven in the last two weeks to Philly's David Akers and New England's Stephen Gostkowski. They've allowed at least 11 kicking points in four of the six games they've played with only the now-departed Martin Gramatica and winless Detroit's Jason Hanson failing to top seven points.
Dolphins defense: The Cardinals, Eagles, Falcons and Jaguars are all on byes this week, meaning that you might be in the market for a good fill-in defense. Take a look at Miami, who is being led by old veteran Joey Porter and up-and-coming stars such as Channing Crowder, Matt Roth and Yeremiah Bell. This week they face the Ravens, who have scored a total of 13 points in the last two games and rank 28th in overall scoring while contributing only eight offensive touchdowns all year.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: As Rodgers' shoulder injury continues to heal, on the surface he looks like he'd be a good pick at Lambeau against the Colts. But since Indy has allowed only one passing touchdown all season, and Ryan Grant is poised for a big game against what's still one of the league's worst run defenses (despite holding the Ravens to just 51 yards last week), Rodgers should have a less than spectacular day.
DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, RBs, Panthers: You might think that the duo of Williams and Stewart would have a field day against the Saints this Sunday, but Jonathan Vilma & Co. have a different idea after having squelched Adrian Peterson for 32 yards two weeks ago and held the Raiders duo of Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden to just 65 yards last year. The only back to have a significant fantasy showing on the ground against the Saints this year was potential fantasy MVP Clinton Portis, who gained 96 yards with two scores. Neither Williams nor Stewart is Clinton Portis.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Bengals: You don't have to be an alumnus of Harvard, like quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, to realize that Fitzpatrick and all players dependent on him should be avoided like the plague. With some members of the Bengals suggesting that Carson Palmer should take the rest of the year off, you should divest yourself of all assets adorned with orange and black stripes. I guarantee that Sundays are more enjoyable that way.
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