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Andy Behrens

Fantasy disaster: Tony Romo breaks his left collarbone

Andy Behrens
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Things were going reasonably well for Dallas quarterback Tony Romo(notes) early on Monday night, at least until New York linebacker Michael Boley(notes) drilled him.

Romo completed a 14-yard pass to Miles Austin(notes) at the 12:20 mark in the second quarter, but he was flattened by an unblocked Boley on the play and driven to the turf, shoulder-first. There he remained, looking like he was pinned to the ground, until trainers arrived. He was eventually taken for X-rays, replaced by veteran back-up Jon Kitna(notes). Watch the play here.

Before the half ended, the team announced that Romo had fractured his left clavicle. (Naturally, the Monday night broadcast team immediately segued into a discussion of Brett Favre's(notes) ankle). The injury threatens to end Romo's season, and it snuffs out whatever hope the Cowboys had of entering the fringes of the playoff picture. This is the third time the Giants have knocked a starting QB from a game in the past four weeks. It seems irresponsible to award fantasy points to a defense for stuff like that, but, um … whoa.

If you're a manager in the imaginary game who just lost your quarterback, here's a prioritized list of the best widely available options at the position, with their upcoming schedules:

Matthew Stafford(notes), DET (30 percent owned) – WAS, NYJ, at BUF, at DAL
Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes), BUF (15 percent) – at KC, CHI, DET, at CIN
Matt Cassel(notes), KC (40 percent) – BUF, at OAK, at DEN, ARI
Josh Freeman(notes), TB (27 percent) – at ARI, at ATL, CAR, at SF
Jon Kitna, DAL (0 percent) – JAC, at GB, at NYG, DET
Matt Moore(notes), CAR (5 percent) – at STL, NO, at TB, BAL
Matt Hasselbeck(notes), SEA (29 percent) – at OAK, NYG, at ARI, at NO
Sam Bradford(notes), STL (42 percent) – CAR, bye, at SF, ATL
Chad Henne(notes), MIA (42 percent) – at CIN, at BAL, TEN, CHI
Kerry Collins(notes), Vince Young(notes), TEN (3 percent, 32 percent) – SD, bye, at MIA, WAS

Keep in mind that I'm just speed-ranking those names for the short term. In all likelihood, you're going to be playing match-ups in the weeks ahead; no single player on your waiver wire will perfectly replace Romo's expected contributions. Kitna won't be the best option for your fantasy team each week, although you have to like the weapons he has at his disposal. (Dez Bryant(notes) didn't suffer on Monday night in Romo's absence, but we shouldn't assume that every game is going to look like the fire-drill we just witnessed). You'll recall that turnovers and sacks have always been part of the script with Kitna. We're talking about an inaccurate 38-year-old quarterback, a guy who's disappointed us before, and who's positioned to do it again.

Without question, the Romo injury is a massive problem for Austin, Bryant, Jason Witten(notes) and Roy Williams. If you've invested in this passing game, you're hoping for a nice line against Jacksonville in Week 8, something you can take to the trade market. Perhaps the Cowboys' run/pass mix will tilt a bit in favor of Felix Jones(notes) and Marion Barber(notes), but any workload gains will be offset by the lower ceiling for the offense as a whole. After Romo was sidelined on Monday, Dallas was a lifeless team (with the notable exception of Bryant, who was ridiculous).

Simply put, this news is brutal. If you can somehow offer hope, please bring your optimism to comments…

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