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Wounded Cowboys a risky play

It's not a great time to own a Dallas Cowboy in fantasy football.

Almost every skill player on the 'Boys is dealing with an injury. Complicating matters this week is Dallas plays on Monday Night Football, which means owners won't have the option of putting a replacement in the lineup if, for example, quarterback Tony Romo can't play.

Romo heads the list of walking wounded, dealing with a cracked rib and punctured lung. Romo's thrown for at least 340 yards in both games this season, with four touchdowns and one interception. Despite the glitzy stats, he's too much of a risk for you to start him this week.

That's before considering that his top two targets, receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, are very questionable. Bryant (thigh injury) is closer to playing, while Austin (hamstring) should sit. The extra day this week should help Bryant, who before he got hurt in Week One against the Jets was off to a great start.

Running back Felix Jones is also better left on your bench this week. He's got a separated shoulder suffered in a Week Two win at San Francisco. He might play Monday, but the Redskins have a decent run defense and the Cowboys will be sure to limit Jones' plays.

Dallas isn't the only team going through injuries to its fantasy contributors. In Denver, both running back Knowshon Moreno and receiver Brandon Lloyd missed an attractive Week Two home matchup with Cincinnati.

Moreno practiced Thursday and Friday, but is likely to be a game-time decision against Tennessee. At best, he's a flex option, since former Bill Willis McGahee ran well for Denver last week and will see plenty of work Sunday.

Lloyd has also got back to practice, but faces a tough matchup against the Titans. Tennessee has allowed just one passing touchdown this season, and that came on a screen pass to a running back, and hasn't allowed a wide receiver to top 55 yards in a game. Lloyd's best used as a No. 3 receiver.

In San Francisco, both wide receivers are hurting. Braylon Edwards had minor knee surgery this week and is out against the Bengals on Sunday, while Michael Crabtree should be back but clearly is not 100 percent. Crabtree has been largely defensive and/or evasive when describing his surgically repaired left foot. He reaggravated the injury in Week One and subsequently missed last week's game. Crabtree faces a passing defense that's allowed the eighth-fewest yards through two weeks. Like Lloyd, he's at best a No. 3 wideout.

New York's Mario Manningham somehow turned what could have been a long touchdown catch into a concussion Monday against St. Louis. That's a good idea of the luck the Giants' receivers have had. Manningham should sit on a short week, while New York's Domenik Hixon is out for the season after tearing his ACL.

Hakeem Nicks is the top wideout for the Giants, but he gets the caution flag this week since he's matched up with the Eagles' Nnamdi Asomugha.

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Vick sounds like a go

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick went through practice Thursday after being cleared by an independent neurosurgeon, a great sign he should be able to play Sunday against the Giants.

Vick's ability to play impacts all the Eagles' fantasy options, especially receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Both are good options with Vick at quarterback.

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Helu can help

Fantasy running backs are always a valuable commodity, so one name to keep an eye on is Redskins running back Rey Helu.

Helu rushed for 74 yards on 10 carries, adding three catches for 38 yards in Week Two against the Cardinals.

"When you've got a guy like Helu, you don't know why guys make plays, but the great ones do," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan told the Washington Post. "I think Helu is giving people ideas that he can make plays."

Washington traded up into the fourth round of April's draft to take Helu, a 5-foot-11, 219-pound product of Nebraska. He's a good add as a handcuff for Tim Hightower owners, and also provides depth for owners in deep leagues.

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Analyzing the Bills

Here's an idea of just how far the Bills have come in two short weeks. In his weekly "Love/Hate" column on ESPN.com, Matthew Berry has Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson and David Nelson in the "love" category.

All three of those players are off to good starts, as is receiver Stevie Johnson. Those looking for a sleeper at tight end can also try Scott Chandler, since he's proven to be a reliable red zone target through the first two weeks.

On the other side, you don't need me to tell you to start Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Williamsville's Rob Gronkowski is also a must start at tight end, while the Bills have long made stars out of Patriots running backs. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is thus a worthwhile start. He's rushed for 307 yards on 61 carries against the Bills in four career games, with a pair of touchdowns.

email: jskurski@buffnews.com

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