The first run of bye weeks hits the NFL in week three, as the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans take a seat for a small breather. It’s usually a bummer for pro football teams to get such an early bye week, especially when they really don’t need the break yet. Teams with major injuries would welcome the time off, but not so much for the Patriots and Titans, who don’t have any major injury issues right now.
While they’re probably not loving the week off as much as they would later in the year, fantasy football owners might not be, either. That may especially be the case if you put a lot of stock in Patriots players like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Those guys are owned in 100% of fantasy football leagues, but they’re not the only ones who could be missed this week. Fantasy owners relying on Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis, Marcus Mariota and even Kendall Wright now have to hit their bench or the waiver wire to figure out how to get a win in week four.
It’s easier said than done, which is why we’re kicking off our season-long Bye Week Saviors column. Not a waiver wire or sleeper alert, our bye week replacement advice concerns just the week at hand. Let’s take a look at some potential week 4 gems that are available in 51% fantasy leagues or more and are safe bets to help you get a win this week:
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills (Available in 60% of fantasy football leagues)
Derek Carr is a strong play against the Bears this week and is owned in far less leagues (available in 74% of leagues) but if you have the choice, it’s Tyrod Taylor all the way. Taylor has been very solid as a passer through three weeks, and also offers nice ability as a runner. He’s in a solid system and aided by a strong running game and defense, and this week gets a beatable Giants defense at home. Not much to dislike about all of that.
Fred Jackson, RB, Seattle Seahawks (88%)
You can put Karlos Williams and Ryan Mathews in this grouping, too, although both are flying off the waiver wire and are going to be owned more than F-Jax. All three of these guys depend on their starters being out this week, but they’re all terrific plays. Marshawn Lynch has back and calf issues and could be out this week, and if he is Fred Jackson is an easy play. He’ll be a stud Flex play at the very worst, while he may have RB2 value against a weak Lions defense. The reality is there are only so many quality options on the waiver wire at the running back situation, so if one of these three guys aren’t out there, you may be in some serious trouble for week 4.
Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (78%)
Jones is going to be hit or miss in Cincy’s offense, but he’s come on strong the past two weeks with two scores and even dropped 94 yards in week three. This week he’s at home against a Kansas City Chiefs pass defense that has just gotten obliterated by the wide receiver position all year. With the Chiefs likely trying to slow down A.J. Green, Jones could be in for some top shelf production in week four.
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers (68%)
Green sat out of week three due to his second concussion already this year, but he should be fine for week four. He’s held an active role in San Diego’s passing game when on the field and even scored a touchdown in week one. His matchup is OK against the Browns this week and he’s easily got the most upside of any other tight end out on the waiver wire. He was probably dropped in a ton of leagues due to missing week three (plus Antonio Gates returns in week five) but he should be able to help you out for at least one more week.
Chandler Catanzaro, K, Arizona Cardinals (91%)
Arizona has one of the best offenses in all of football right now, while their elite defense keeps putting them in scoring position – or even scores, themselves. Catanzaro has actually been light on field goals this year (2-2) thanks to Arizona’s offense being so good, but he’s at home this week against the Rams. St. Louis has a good enough defense to hopefully stifle the Cards into a couple of field goal tries and he has the leg and consistency to get the job done. With 7, 6 and 9 fantasy points to kick off 2015, you could find much worse kicking options on the waiver wire.
Cincinnati Bengals Team Defense (80%)
Defense is a nightmare to pick this year, as quality matchups have gone backwards quite often through the first few weeks. If you can nab a defense like the Broncos off the waiver wire, they’re a strong play after being one of the top units in football to start the year. Cincy isn’t a bad consolation prize, though, as they have a pretty balanced defense, are at home and get a struggling Chiefs offense this week. Alex Smith is good for a turnover or two, while the Bengals should also be able to get a few sacks. They won’t be perfect, but the Bengals shouldn’t bury you in week four, either.