For fantasy owners injuries are a pain in the behind when setting weekly line ups. On top of that owners must deal with the slew of bye weeks happening from week five through week 11. Each week there is between four and six teams on a bye; except for week seven when there are only two.
Each week I will be giving my fantasy followers potential “bye week saviors” that they can use when their studs are on a bye. In order for players to qualify their ownership in ESPN leagues must be under 60% owned. For each position I will suggest players that fantasy owners should consider picking up and one player I feel that needs to be dropped in order for owners to pick up their “bye week saviors” player.
Teams on a week ten bye: Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles.
Jared Goff vs Houston (49% owned): Goff’s ownership is up 22% from last week and that should jump another 20 plus percent after his 28.4 fantasy point game last week against the Giants. With all the injuries to starting quarterbacks, Goff is a QB1 the rest of the season and needs to be added in all 10 or 12 team leagues. The Texans have given up an average of 26.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks on the road this season.
Andy Dalton at Tennessee (43% owned): In three of his last four games, Dalton has scored under 13.5 fantasy points and the Bengals offense has struggled recently. However, this week he faces the Titans, who give up an average of 15 fantasy points per game. Dalton has been up and down all season long but had his two best fantasy games on the road this season.
Josh McCown at Tampa Bay (36% owned): If you read my three quarterbacks to replace Deshaun Watson article, you would know that McCown has been a fantasy surprise this season. Over his last four games, McCown has scored an average of 20 fantasy points per game. Last week the Buccaneers gave up 18.7 fantasy points to Drew Brees despite the blowout win for the Saints. On the season the Buccaneers give up an average of 18.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.
Jameis Winston vs New York (86% owned): On Monday head coach Dirk Koetter announced that Winston will be shut down for at least two weeks. The Buccaneers are currently 2-6 and if they fall to 2-8 the team may decide to just end Winston’s season to avoid more damage to his shoulder. However, even if Winston returns, his final six games are all bad match ups. Unless your league’s wavier wire is super thin or you have an IR spot, drop Winston in all redraft leagues.
Matt Forte at Tampa Bay (56% owned): After the lost to the Falcons in week eight, Forte publicly criticized the play calling after he got just 10 touches. Last week verse the Bills, Forte had 18 touches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. While the Jets have a running back by committee, Forte is the lead back in this committee. The Buccaneers give up an average of 26.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Orleans Darkwa at San Francisco (41% owned): Another running back by committee in New York, but for the Giants, Darkwa is clearly at the top. Last week verse the Rams, Darkwa had 18 touches compared to nine for Wayne Gallman. The 49ers gave up 159 rushing yards and 16.7 fantasy points to Adrian Peterson last week and are giving up an average of 30.5 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season.
D’Onta Foreman at Los Angeles (10% owned): Week ten is a running back heavy bye week and in deeper leagues fantasy owners should take a look at Foreman. The Rams give up an average of 27.2 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Last week against the Colts, Foreman had 11 touches and has five games this season with double digit touches. If Foreman can get his first touchdown of his career this week he should give fantasy owners a 12 plus point fantasy performance.
Wendell Smallwood BYE Week (22% owned): Last week in a blowout win verse the Broncos, Smallwood was fourth among running backs in touches with just five. The Jay Ajayi trade clearly hurt Smallwood’s value and now it seem like Corey Clement has surpassed him in the pecking order. Furthermore, in the last three games since returning from an injury, Smallwood is averaging just 5.7 touches per game. The Eagles might cut Smallwood at some point, but fantasy owners should drop him now.
Robert Woods vs Houston (26% owned): Woods has four straight games with double digit fantasy points and is averaging 14.2 fantasy points per game over that span. The Rams have the highest scoring offense in the league and dropped 51 points on the Giants last week, as Woods scored 23 fantasy points. Last week the Texans gave up 34.5 fantasy points to T.Y. Hilton and give up an average of 34.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season. Woods is the number one receiver for the Rams and should have another double digit fantasy game this week.
Zay Jones vs New Orleans (11% owned): In the first seven games of the season Jones had 21.5 fantasy points combined. Last week Jones had 17.3 fantasy points verse the Jets. However, newly acquired Kelvin Benjamin did not play but is expected to play this week. I actually think this helps Jones, as he can fill the number two receiver role better now that Benjamin will be lining up across from him with Jordan Matthews in the slot. Jones had career highs across the board last week and he should continue to get better as the season goes on.
ArDarius Stewart at Tampa Bay (1% owned): On Monday, Jeremy Kerley was officially suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Stewart, a rookie third round pick, is expected to take over Kerley’s role in the slot. In deeper leagues Stewart is a sneaky add this week verse the Buccaneers, who give up an average of 40 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Stewart has just 9.4 fantasy points this season but could get that many points this week.
Pierre Garcon vs New York (51% owned): Right after trading a 2018 second round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo the team announced that Garcon was out of the season with a neck injury. The 49ers placed Garcon on injured reserve on Monday, leaving the team with no proven threats at wide receiver. In keeper or dynasty leagues, fantasy owners should hold on to Garcon, especially if they have an IR spot; in redraft leagues obviously drop him.
Tyler Kroft at Tennessee (43% owned): Last week against the Jaguars, Kroft had just two catches but for 79 yards. However, it was his third straight game with 9.5 or more fantasy points. This week he faces the Titans, who give up an average of 11.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Kroft has been the most consistent pass catcher on the Bengals this season other than A.J. Green.
Charles Clay vs New Orleans (21% owned): Out since week five with a knee injury, Clay did light work on the side at practice on Monday and has a chance to play this week. If Clay plays, he should be started in fantasy line ups. Prior to the injury, Clay was averaging 11.6 fantasy points per game. The Saints only give up an average of 9.6 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, but gave up 11.5 or more fantasy points to three opposing tight ends this season. With all the injuries at the position this season and with two elite tight ends on a bye, Clay has top ten upside if he plays.
O.J. Howard vs New York (20% owned): Howard would love to forget the game verse the Saints last week as he finished with one catch for six yards and a fumble, scoring -0.4 fantasy points. However, this week things should turn around for Howard. With Mike Evans facing a one game suspension and with Jameis Winston out for at least two weeks, the Buccaneers are more likely to run two tight end sets. Assuming Evans’ suspension isn’t overturned, Howard should see some of Evans’ targets thanks to his size.
Trey Burton BYE Week (9% owned): With Zach Ertz a last minute scratch last week against the Broncos, Burton was a hot add right before kick off and he paid off for fantasy owners with 12.1 fantasy points. However, the Eagles are on their bye week and Ertz is expected to be ready to go in week 11 against the Cowboys. If for some reason Ertz can’t go against the Cowboys, Burton should be added again, but for now fantasy owners can drop him.
Patriots at Denver (29% owned): To begin the season the Patriots D/ST was awful. However, over their last three games they are averaging 7.3 fantasy points per game. Head coach Bill Belichick is one the best coaches coming off the bye week and he’s had two weeks to prepare for this game verse the Broncos. Furthermore, opposing D/STs are averaging 11.8 fantasy points per game when facing the Broncos offense.
Broncos vs New England (85% owned): In most fantasy drafts the Broncos D/ST was the first one off the board. However, this season they scoring just 7.5 fantasy points per game and have scored just 14 total fantasy points over their last three games. Meanwhile, opposing D/STs are averaging just 1.3 fantasy points per game against the Patriots offense; worst in the league. The Broncos defense hasn’t been able to be as aggressive this year because of the offense’s poor play; don’t expect that to change this week.