Bird home: A recent report in The Arizona Republic confirms Carson Palmer is expected to remain Arizona’s starting QB in 2014. Even though Drew Stanton is listed as the backup, I still wouldn’t rule out Arizona drafting a strong young QB of the future to groom — even in Round 1 — should one fall in their laps. Anyhow, the downslope of Palmer’s career has been underway for some time now. The Cardinals offense was certainly better off having Palmer under center than had they decided to stick with their 2012 QB crop, but Palmer was either dazzling or depressing to watch … sometimes even both in the same game. His fantasy value is kind of like one of those hand-me-down cars you received and just hope to squeeze another few thousand miles out of before making a big purchase.
He gone: Rumors are rumbling that Dallas WR Miles Austin could become a cap casualty sometime this summer. The Cowboys need to do some work to have cap flexibility this offseason. After posting enormous numbers in 2009, Jerry Jones handed Austin a huge contract, and he hasn’t been nearly as productive since. Austin still might have some fantasy value if he catches on with the right team. File this one away to monitor this coming summer.
For better or worse: For those of you still questing after Playoff Challenge dominance, Steve Smith is dealing with a knee issue and said there’s a 60 percent chance he’ll play this Sunday against the 49ers. Smith has been sidelined since spraining his PCL in Week 16. If he can’t go, then that will be a huge blow to Carolian’s chances of advancing. Smith hasn’t been a productive fantasy wideout in some time now, and the WR position has to be Carolina’s top upgrade priority this offseason. Even if he does play, I’m leaving Smith off my Playoff Challenge roster.