Those breezes you feel are trade winds

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Things are beginning to get a little tense in fantasy world.

Injuries are piling up, trade talk is picking up and the playoffs are right around the corner.

Everybody's on a short leash.

Back in August, Travis Henry was my second-round draft pick. Last week, I tossed him on the waiver wire trash heap for a bye-week fill-in at tight end. In Week 10 and beyond, I have no use for a two-carry-per-game bust-turned-backup. Plus, I think I saw him mocking my dance.

Apparently I'm not the only one with thinning patience and plummeting playoff prospects.

Draft day favorites such as Michael Bennett, Kevin Jones, Eddie George, Steven Jackson and Jerry Porter are starting to show up in the transaction list. Flavor-of-the-week pickups like Mewelde Moore and Amos Zereoue are getting dropped faster than a Mark Cuban reality show.

Somewhere in the vast Yahoo universe, some yahoo felt the need to cut Willis McGahee. And I'm sure he or she had a very good reason.

Point is, now is a good time to get desperate. Stop waiting on Amani Toomer's breakout game and shake things up a little.

Take a risk. Make a trade. Do a little dance.

Just do something. Your fantasy future depends on it.

Quick hitters

  • By now you know the weekly refrain – quarterbacks are king. Four of last week's top five performances (and six of the top eight) came from the QB ranks. Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Jake Plummer made it for the second consecutive week. They were joined a couple of first-time top-fives in 2004 – Michael Pittman, who had the good fortune of facing the Chiefs, and Jake Delhomme. Delhomme barely beat out Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, who kicked four field goals, four extra points and threw a touchdown pass in Week 9.

  • Week 8 marked the second straight week that six QBs threw for three or more touchdowns. That's a lot – there were 61 such games all of last season. Manning and Brees have each thrown nine TDs in a two-week span, and Plummer has eight.

  • For Brees, the first pick of the second round of the 2001 draft, his nine TD passes in two weeks are more than 2001 No. 1 overall pick Michael Vick (6) or 2003 No. 1 pick Carson Palmer (6) have thrown for this season. David Carr, the No. 1 pick in 2002, has nine TD passes on the year. Unless you've got Manning, Daunte Culpepper or Donovan McNabb, Brees should be in your lineup every week until further notice.

  • Not all the news is good news on the QB front. A couple of starters – Jacksonville's Byron Leftwich and Chad Pennington of the New York Jets – are both expected to miss at least two games. Leftwich has a knee injury, which won't require surgery but didn't heal sufficiently during the Jaguars bye week. He could be back as soon as Week 12, but be patient. Pennington's a different story. He's out an estimated 2-4 weeks with a separated shoulder, but given that he ranks 16th among fantasy QBs this season, he might not be worth the wait. If you've got better options, don't hesitate to cut him loose.

  • The backup chatter has picked up in several other cities, including Washington, Dallas and New York. No team needs a QB change more than the Redskins, but Joe Gibbs is sticking with veteran Mark Brunell, who hasn't completed a pass longer than 23 yards since Week 4. And Bill Parcells won't hear of benching Vinny Testaverde, a good indication that Drew Henson isn't ready. But a change is on the way in New York, where the Giants loss to the Bears marked the beginning of the end for Kurt Warner. Eli Manning makes for an intriguing option at QB2, but he's not worth going after unless you're in a deep keeper league.

  • Buffalo's not going to make the playoffs, but Bills fans can look forward to the arrival of rookie QB J.P. Lossman, who will replace Drew Bledsoe before the end of the season. Bledsoe hasn't thrown for three TDs in a game since Dec. 1, 2002. In that 28-game span, he's tossed 23 TDs and 25 interceptions.

  • On the running back front, don't forget about rookies Chris Perry in Cincinnati and Julius Jones in Dallas. Both could get late-season carries if their teams fall from the playoff hunt, and there's an outside chance they could help your fantasy squad late in the season.

  • Despite adding Pro Bowl OG Damien Woody in free agency and using a first-round pick on Kevin Jones, Detroit's running game ranks as the NFL's worst for the second straight season. Jones (3.3 yards per carry) and Artose Pinner (3.1) rank at the bottom of the NFL in rushing average, and neither has cracked 70 yards in a game this season. Even more discouraging, the Lions nearly abandoned the run in a close loss to the Redskins last week, opting instead to have Joey Harrington throw 52 times. With numbers like those, it's hard to recommend either of the Lions running backs right now.

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    Ruling out 'boots on the ground' [Poll]

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