Quarterback injuries are making life difficult for fantasy leaguers

Matt Cassel is not a good fantasy quarterback.

I said it every week leading up to Week 6, when he was slated to face San Diego's 32-ranked defense. Cassel did show some flashes the previous week against San Francisco, though, throwing for 259 yards and hooking up with Randy Moss for 111 yards and a touchdown. Combine that performance with the matchup against the Bolts, and I abandoned my negative viewpoint for a week and promoted Cassel as a sleeper. I even thought to bench Philip Rivers in favor of him. The thought did enter my mind (for about a second).

Thank God I came to my senses and went with Rivers.

Cassel threw for a mere 203 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in a blowout loss. He showed his lack of consistency with the deep ball, and failed to complete a pass longer than 15 yards to someone other than a running back. And here's the catch -- he's got another "favorable" matchup next on the schedule against the Denver Broncos. And a lot of fantasy leaguers will look at the numbers and start him. It's hard to blame them, though, because these are difficult times at the quarterback position.

2008 statistics:
Comp: 58

Att: 118

Yards: 656

TDs/INTs: 2/4

Carson Palmer and Matt Hasselbeck were both sidelined with injuries, and both have already been ruled out for Week 7. So a week with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Seneca Wallace appears to be imminent. Those two quarterbacks are about attractive in fantasy land as Craig Sager's jacket and tie combinations on TBS's baseball postseason coverage.

So with Tom Brady already done for the season, Palmer and Hasselbeck on the sidelines and the likes of Gus Frerotte, Kerry Collins and Brian Griese in prominent roles, the pickings have sure been thin. (But at least Brodie Croyle is back this week!)

Now we find out that Tony Romo is out for around four weeks with a broken pinkie finger.

My fantasy kingdom is crumbling around me because of a pinkie!

With Romo out of action until at least Week 11, some fantasy leaguers will be left to choose from Cassel, Croyle and Joe Flacco as their starting quarterback this coming week (excuse me as I lose my lunch). And if you're in a league that requires two signal-callers in prominent roles, you might as well start Roger Staubach or Danny White. You'll probably get the same level of production as the options still left on that barren waiver wire. Unless, of course, you think Brad Johnson can make an impact.

The quarterback position is not completely de-void of talent, though, as our list of the top fantasy performances from Week 6 clearly shows. If you were lucky enough to add one of these stars in your fantasy draft, be sure to count your blessings and pray that injuries don't ruin your season. (You might want to say a few extra prayers, owners of Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner). Otherwise you'll end up in the corner holding yourself tightly in the fetal position wondering how everything good has gone to terribly bad.

Just like those poor saps that drafted Brady and Romo.

Studs

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans (30 points): Brees might not have Marques Colston or Jeremy Shockey, but he's still one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL. He threw for 306 yards and three scores in a win over Oakland and has now tossed 12 touchdown passes on the season. He's a must-start in all formats.

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego (30 points): Rivers made mincemeat of the Patriots on Sunday night, throwing for 306 yards and three touchdowns in an important AFC win. Believe it or not, but Rivers actually has more fantasy points than any other player (regardless of position) on NFL.com heading into Week 7.

Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis (28 points): Did you think for one second to sit Manning this week? Shame on you. Despite the "unfavorable" matchup on paper against the Ravens, he is still Peyton Manning. He sure looked like the part of an elite quarterback, throwing for 271 yards and three touchdowns.

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas (28 points): Romo is out several weeks as I mentioned, but at least he left fantasy leaguers on a high note with 321 yards and three scores in a loss to Arizona. Brad Johnson, who will replace Romo under center, will be fortunate to have a stat line that looks even close to this one.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay (26 points): So if Rivers is first in fantasy points, who's second? You might be surprised to know that it's Rodgers, who threw for 208 yards and scored three touchdowns in a win over Seattle. You might also be interested to know that he has 33 more fantasy points than Brett Favre. And Favre had a six-touchdown game against the Cardinals.

Other notables:Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville (26 points); Patrick Cobbs, RB, Miami (25 points); Clinton Portis, RB, Washington (25 points).

Duds

Randy Moss, WR, New England (2 points): Moss has become collateral damage of sorts after Brady was lost for the season. Last season's top-ranked fantasy wideout had 26 yards and no touchdowns against the Chargers. He now has fewer fantasy points than Steve Breaston, Lance Moore and Eddie Royal after six weeks. Ouch.

Santana Moss, WR, Washington (2 points): The NFL's other Moss has gone ice cold after a scorching start to the season. Despite what looked like an exceptional matchup on paper against the Rams, the veteran wideout still failed to produce. His two catches for 22 yards and no touchdowns were an enormous disappointment.

Torry Holt, WR, St. Louis (2 points): Keeping with the topic of prominent wide receivers who are failing fantasy leaguers, Holt was held to five catches and a mere 23 yards in a win over Washington. He is currently on pace to finish the season with 672 yards, which would be the worst total of his entire career.

Edgerrin James, RB, Arizona (2 points): James couldn't muster much of a stat line against Dallas, rushing nine times for 29 yards in a 30-24 overtime win. The Edge continues to lose carries to rookie standout Tim Hightower, and he's on pace to rush for fewer than 1,000 yards for the first time since 2002.

Terrell Owens, WR, Dallas (3 points): Romo did have a solid fantasy performance in Arizona, but it didn't equate to good numbers for Owens. He finished with four catches, 36 yards and no touchdowns. Now T.O. will have 40-year-old quarterback Brad Johnson under center for at least the next three games.

Other notables:Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland (3 points), Willis McGahee, RB, Baltimore (3 points); Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta (5 points).

Have a burning question for Michael Fabiano on anything fantasy football related? Send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com, and the best questions will be answered throughout the season right here on NFL.com!

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