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 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 nine bye: Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jared Goff at New York (27% owned): Coming off his bye week Goff takes on the Giants defense that isn’t the same as it was last season. Through week seven, the Giants rank 26th in the league against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 19.1 fantasy points per game. In week seven, Goff put up 18.7 fantasy points against the Cardinals and is averaging 15 fantasy points per game this season. Goff has accounted for 10 touchdowns and only five turnovers in seven games this season.
Jacoby Brissett at Houston (11% owned): Despite how bad the Colts offense has looked the past few weeks, Brissett has played well for fantasy owners. Over the last four weeks Brissett is averaging 14.8 fantasy points per game. This week he faces the Texans who just gave up 35.1 fantasy points to Russell Wilson and give up an average of 19.3 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the Texans struggle against mobile quarterbacks, giving up average of 31 fantasy points per game to those style quarterbacks. Brissett should be good for another 15 point fantasy performance this week.
C.J. Beathard vs Arizona (3% owned): Yes the 49ers remain winless this season despite the quarterback change in week six. However, Beathard has been solid in his three career games, averaging 12.8 fantasy points per game. While Beathard isn’t an ideal fantasy starting quarterback, he is a solid fill in this week in two quarterback or super FLEX leagues. The Cardinals give up an average of 19.4 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and have given up 18+ fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in five of seven games this season. Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t expected to play this week, giving Beathard one more week as the starter.
Andrew Luck at Houston (38% owned): The latest reports are stating that Luck has had a setback in his rehab and his return this season is now in serious jeopardy. With the Colts standing at 2-6 and currently looking at a top five draft pick in April, the team might just declare this season a lost one and place Luck on IR. Until that happens fantasy owners who have an IR spot on their rosters should hold on to Luck, hoping for his return this season. However, if fantasy owners need a bench spot to help with bye weeks, Luck is safe to drop in all redraft leagues.
Orleans Darkwa vs Los Angeles (40% owned): In the three games prior to the team’s bye week, Darkwa averaged 12 fantasy points per game. Coming off their bye, the Giants take on the Rams run defense that gives up an average of 28.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. The Giants will want to run the ball to keep the Rams high scoring offense off the field as much as possible. Given that, expect Darkwa to get plenty of carries this week.
Alex Collins at Tennessee (32% owned): Collins has been slowly improving this season; becoming more and more involved in the offense each week. Against the Dolphins on Thursday night, Collins exploded with 20 touches for 143 yards and 16.3 fantasy points; all season-highs. The Ravens have found their lead running back for the rest of the season. The Titans give up an average of 22.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs and have allowed opposing running backs to score 23+ fantasy points in four of seven games this season. Furthermore, with Joe Flacco questionable to play this week, look for the Ravens to run the ball even more if Ryan Mallett is forced to start.
Andre Ellington at San Francisco (23% owned): Since Adrian Peterson got to town, Ellington has been an afterthought; scoring zero fantasy points in two straight games. However, Ellington has been dealing with a quadriceps injury that kept him out of the team’s week seven game in London. Assuming Ellington is healthy enough to play this week, he should get enough touches to be startable. The Cardinals offense is expected to struggle without Carson Palmer and when the team is trailing they will use Ellington over Peterson. Ellington was averaging 5.6 catches per game prior to Peterson’s arrival and he could get back to that as the Cardinals will be trailing during most of their upcoming games.
Marshawn Lynch at Miami (88% owned): During Lynch’s one game suspension last week, the duo of Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington combined for 29.4 fantasy points against the Bills. Given their success, the team is likely to use them more at Lynch’s expense. However, even before his suspension, Lynch has failed to score over 12.5 fantasy points in any game this season and has scored under 10 fantasy points in five games. Lynch has two touchdowns this season and in games where he doesn’t get in the end zone, he is averaging just 4.4 fantasy points per game. Drop Lynch if you need a bench spot.
Jamison Crowder at Seattle (52% owned): In the first six games of the season, Crowder scored just 31.3 fantasy points. However, last week Crowder scored 22.5 fantasy points despite not getting into the end zone. The Redskins wide receivers have been a mess this season but Crowder might be breaking out of his funk. Depite the Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom”, they just gave up 68.2 fantasy points to the Texans wide receivers last week. On the season, the Seahawks give up an average of 32.1 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. The Redskins are going to need someone to catch the ball against the Seahawks if they are going to stay in this game and right now the best bet is Crowder.
Robby Anderson vs Buffalo (26% owned): Over the last three games, Anderson is averaging 15.5 fantasy points per game. During that span, Anderson has 13 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills give up an average of 31.6 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Anderson has become Josh McCown’s favorite weapon in the passing game and given his big play ability, the Jets should continue to target him plenty this week.
Paul Richardson vs Washington (10% owned): Last week against the Texans, Richardson had six catches for 105 yards, two touchdowns and 28.5 fantasy points; all season-highs by far. Richardson has gained the trust of Russell Wilson and is now the clear cut number two wide receiver in this offense. Since the Seahawks week six bye, Richardson has eight catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns. The Redskins defense has been killed by the injury bug this season and over the last four games opposing wide receivers have scored 109.5 fantasy points. Richardson’s big play ability combined with the Redskins banged up defense makes him a strong FLEX option this week.
Willie Snead vs Tampa Bay (56% owned): There was high hopes for Snead entering the season with the offseason trade of Brandin Cooks. However, that hasn’t happened yet as Snead has just one catch for 11 yards this season. After missing the first three games with a suspension and then two games with injuries, Snead had just four snaps Sunday against the Bears. Snead has fallen to fourth on the teams depth chart behind Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn and Brandon Coleman. Snead can be dropped if fantasy owners need a bench spot this week.
Jack Doyle at Houston (39% owned): Last week against the Bengals, Doyle hadseason-highs across the board with 12 catches, 121 yards and 30.1 fantasy points. Doyle has been solid this season, averaging 12.5 fantasy points per game. Over the last three games, Doyle is averaging 18.8 fantasy points per game. The Texans just gave up 19.9 fantasy points to Jimmy Graham last week and give up an average of 14.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Doyle has been the most trusted Colts pass catcher this season.
Tyler Kroft at Jacksonville (37% owned): Kroft has been a solid fantasy tight end since taking over as the starter in week three; averaging 12.1 fantasy points per game. Kroft has been the most dependable Bengals pass catcher other than A.J. Green. The Jaguars are one of the best teams against opposing wide receivers but struggle against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 12.7 fantasy points per game. Kroft is a safe play for owners who have Rob Gronkowski on a bye this week.
Vernon Davis at Seattle (14% owned): A season full of injuries have only gotten worse for the Redskins. Jordan Reed injured his hamstring in the loss against the Cowboys and wasn’t able to return. If Reed is unable to play this week, Davis should be considered a fantasy starter in deeper or 2 TE leagues. In the one game Reed missed this season, Davis had five catches for 58 yards, a touchdown and a season-high 16.8 fantasy points. The Seahawks give up an average of 11.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Davis is worth a look based on volume alone this week if Reed is out.
Zach Miller BYE Week (42% owned): Sunday against the Saints, Miller left the game with a gruesome knee injury that required emergency surgery in order to try and save his leg. Obviously football and fantasy football takes a major step back when it comes to an injury like this. Miller’s season is obviously over and maybe his career is too. We all hope and pray Miller fully recovers from this injury but fantasy wise, Miller clearly needs to be dropped in all leagues.
Rams at New York (52% owned): Entering week eight, the Rams were the second ranked D/ST averaging 11.4 fantasy points per game, yet somehow are owned in only 52% of ESPN leagues. Over their last three games, the Rams D/ST is averaging 15.3 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, over the Giants last three games, opposing D/STs are averaging 8.7 fantasy points per game against the Giants offense. Fantasy owners can stream D/STs against the Giants offense, especially this week with the Rams.
Cowboys vs Kansas City (28% owned): Over the past two weeks, the Cowboys D/ST is averaging 18 fantasy points per game. However, don’t expect that to keep happening as the Cowboys faced a rookie quarterback led 49ers offense and a Redskins offense missing three starting offensive lineman in a rain heavy game. Over the first five games of the season the Cowboys D/ST averaged four fantasy points per game. Furthermore, during their first seven games of the season, opposing D/STs are scoring an average of less than one fantasy point per game against the Chiefs offense. Bottom line is simple; the Cowboys got lucky the last two weeks, don’t expect this to be the norm.