For fantasy owners, injuries are a pain in the behind when setting weekly lineups. 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 five bye: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins.
Tyrod Taylor at Cincinnati (30% owned): Taylor is coming off a subpar performance against the Falcons, scoring just 12.5 fantasy points. However, over the first three games of the season Taylor averaged 15.7 fantasy points per game. The Bengals have given up an average of 16.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. With Taylor’s dual threat ability he adds an extra element to his game that can secure fantasy owners a solid floor.
Deshaun Watson vs Kansas City (25% owned): Depending on who your current starting quarterback is, Watson might be an upgrade for the rest of the season. However, if you have Matt Ryan or Drew Brees, Watson can be an excellent bye week savior. Last week against the Titans, Watson had 33.7 fantasy points; bringing his average as the starter to 23.8 fantasy points per game. The Chiefs gave up 24.8 fantasy points to Carson Wentz in week two and tend to struggle with more athletic quarterbacks. Watson has 132 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in three games as a starter.
Carson Palmer at Philadelphia (19% owned): Through three weeks, Palmer is the QB15 and averaging 15.5 fantasy points per game, ahead of players like Matt Ryan, Derek Carr and Philip Rivers. Yet somehow Palmer is still owned in under 20% of leagues. The Eagles have given up an average of 19.4 fantasy points per game to the opposing quarterbacks the past two weeks. Palmer has at least 15.9 fantasy points in every game since David Johnson got hurt. Expect another solid performance this week against the Eagles.
Jay Cutler vs Tennessee (3% owned): Most leagues already have Cutler on the waiver wire where he belongs. However, some owners still think Cutler can turn back the clock and be a solid fantasy quarterback; that idea is ridiculous. In three games this year Cutler is averaging 9.9 fantasy points per game and has the same number of interceptions as touchdowns. While the Titans just gave up 33.7 fantasy points to Deshaun Watson, Cutler isn’t the same player he once was and Watson is clearly player better than Cutler right now. Even in super deep two quarterback leagues, Cutler should only be on a roster as a last resort.
Javorius Allen at Oakland (30% owned): For some reason Allen is still available in 70% of ESPN leagues. Yes, Alex Collins is averaging 7.4 fantasy points per game over the last two weeks but he has zero catches on the season. Allen has produced 10+ fantasy points in two of the last three weeks. If you play in a PPR league and have Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman on a bye week, Allen could be a nice savior for this week and a weekly FLEX play going forward.
Andre Ellington at Philadelphia (4% owned): The last two weeks, Ellington has taken control of the running back position in Arizona; averaging 16.3 fantasy points per game. The Cardinals use Chris Johnson more on the ground, but Ellington has 17 catches in three games without David Johnson this year. Ellington’s ownership should drastically increase this week. Whether you need him for a week or rest of the season, Ellington offers a safe floor in PPR scoring leagues.
Dion Lewis at Tampa Bay (2% owned): For deeper or bigger leagues, Lewis could be an interesting bye week savior. With Rex Burkhead out for the second straight week, Lewis had five touches for 27 yards and a rushing touchdown against the Panthers. On a short week with a Thursday night game against the Buccaneers, Burkhead isn’t likely to play. While picking a Patriots running back to start is like playing roulette, Lewis could be trending in the right direction and see an increase in touches this week against the Buccaneers banged up defense that just gave up 13 fantasy points to the Giants’ Wayne Gallman.
C.J. Prosise at Los Angeles (78% owned): In three games this season Prosise has eight caries for 20 yards and just six catches. Prosise missed week four against the Colts with an ankle injury and there is serious doubt that he returns for week five. Meanwhile, J.D. McKissic took over as the third down back against the Colts; finishing with five touches for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Between Prosise’s injury history and McKissic’s strong play against the Colts, Prosise might not have a role when he returns.
Tyler Lockett at Los Angeles (29% owned): The Rams have given up 45.9 and 34.4 fantasy points the last two weeks to opposing wide receivers. Lockett is coming off a 13.1 fantasy point game against the Colts. The Seahawks running game took a hit with the loss of Chris Carson so expect the Seahawks to throw more going forward. Lockett gives the Seahawks an explosive open field playmaker. If your league gives points for special team production, Lockett provides an extra element to your fantasy team.
Devin Funchess at Detroit (13% owned): The last three weeks with no Greg Olsen, Funchess is averaging 15.5 fantasy points per game. While I don’t expect another seven catches for 70 yards and two touchdown game this week, Funchess does have a good matchup against the Lions. Through the first three weeks of the season the Lions are giving up an average of 32.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. With Darius Slay likely to follow Kelvin Benjamin around on Sunday, Funchess should have a good day against Nevin Lawson on the other side.
Will Fuller vs Kansas City (9% owned): In his 2017 debut, Fuller finished with four catches for 35 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans. As long as Deshaun Watson keeps playing at a high level, expect Fuller to be a matchup based FLEX option the rest of the season. Through week four, the Chiefs have given up and average of 36.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Expect the Texans and Fuller to take advantage of the Chiefs’ cornerback Terrance Mitchell this week with a few deep shots.
Jordan Matthews at Cincinnati (92% owned): As always, Matthews is an injury magnet; now he is expected to miss at least a month with a thumb injury that will require surgery. Unless your league has a deep bench or an IR spot I’m not holding on to Matthews for that long. Even when Matthews is healthy, the Bills are a run first team that passes to Charles Clay second. In four games, Matthews is averaging just eight fantasy points per game; drop him and maybe pick him back up when he is healthy.
Hunter Henry at New York (55% owned): Last week the Buccaneers tight end duo of Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard score a combined 32.3 fantasy points against the Giants. Over the first four games of the season the Giants are giving up an average of 22 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, including five touchdowns. Henry has been up and down in four games this season, scoring zero points twice. However, Henry has been used mainly as a blocker in those two games. If you have Jordan Reed, Henry is a solid bye week savior for you.
Jared Cook vs Baltimore (35% owned): Cook has scored at least 6.5 fantasy points in all four games this season while the Ravens give up an average of 15.8 fantasy points per game to the tight end position. Derek Carr is expected to miss at least this game and with E.J. Manuel starting instead look for Cook to get many targets this week.
Cameron Brate vs New England (10% owned): The last two weeks Brate is averaging 15.7 fantasy points per game; scoring a touchdown in both games. Through the first three weeks of the season the Patriots have given up an average of 19.5 fantasy points per game to the tight end position. Despite O.J. Howard having a good game last week, Brate is the trusted target for Jameis Winston, especially in the red zone.
Tyler Eifert vs Buffalo (88% owned): Unless you play in a league with a deep bench or an IR spot Eifert should be dropped in all formats. Eifert is expected to miss a few week with a back injury and even when he was on the field he was ineffective. In two games this season, Eifert is averaging 4.3 fantasy points per game.
Steelers vs Jacksonville (52% owned): For owners who have the Broncos D/ST and want to roster a second D/ST for the week the Steelers are underrated. Over the first four weeks of the season, the Steelers D/ST is averaging 12.3 fantasy points per game. The Jaguars have scored over 20 points in a game just once this season. The Jaguars have given up four turnovers and three sacks in four games. Meanwhile, the Steelers have 15 sacks, forced seven turnovers so far this season and have yet to give up more than 18 points in a regulation game so far this season.
Patriots at Tampa Bay (91% owned): The simple fact is the Patriots defense has been awful so far this season. They rank last in the league; scoring an average of zero fantasy points per game so far this season, with two games scoring negative fantasy points. The Patriots have given up 27 or more points in three of four games so far this season. Drop the Patriots D/ST and stream D/STs because this defense is a mess right now.