Everybody run! It’s the attack of the bye week!
If Week 6’s slate of teams taking a breather was too much for you to bear, then this week will be the one that ultimately does you in, as there are upwards of 15 top fantasy players on bye. With names like Ryan, Manning, Charles, McCoy and Gates likely convening somewhere in the Bahamas, or maybe making a cameo on The League, we mere fantasy mortals have to plug and play our backup options. That is, if you planned well enough and have backup options.
What’s that? You don’t? Keep reading.
There is no possible way to find replacements on the waiver wire for all of the players missing this week, so what do you do if you have been pairing Matt Ryan with Julio Jones all season? Hope your opponent this week is also suffering from Bye Weekitis and has been pairing Manning and Thomas, or cross your fingers that he is having to start Joique Bell as his RB2 because he didn’t plan for Willis McGahee and Reggie Bush to be out the same week.
As a last result, try and snag one of the following players. A couple may blossom into something more special, and the rest you can probably drop after the weekend. But it’s better to plug someone in and snag a couple points than playing no one at the position at all.
On Bye: QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons & Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Rent-a-Player: QB Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders – 43% owned While Palmer isn’t the rifle arm loaded with fantasy points that we was back in 2007, he is a perfectly serviceable replacement this week. After posting 353 yards and a touchdown against a solid Atlanta secondary, he gets to feast on a Jacksonville squad ranked 24th in the league in pass defense. With Denarius Moore healthy and Darren McFadden as a screen pass option, Palmer could be in for a big week. The only downside will be if Oakland opens up a big lead early and churns out the clock on the ground.
On Bye: RBs Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs & LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Rent-a-Player: RB Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys – 25% owned When DeMarco Murray went down with a foot sprain last weekend, Jones stepped up admirably with 105 total yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with cramps. After loading up on Gatorade and salt licks this week, look for Jones to get the bulk of the carries against a hapless Carolina defense. Jones is the only explosive option that can come close to matching Charles or McCoy’s output, so jump on him. If Murray’s injury takes a while to heal – and if Jones can stay healthy (a big if) – you may have a midseason steal on your hands.
On Bye: RBs Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos & Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
Rent-a-Player: RB Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts – 39% owned Ballard torched owners – this one included – who put their faith in him last week once Donald Brown went down. His matchup against the Jets looked ripe for the taking, but Indy got behind early and the running game disappeared. The young runner has plenty of gas in the tank for a big role this week – he only carried the ball eight times last week – and has a favorable slate of games in the next two contests against Cleveland and Tennessee. Don’t give up on him quite yet.
On Bye: WRs Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos & Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Rent-a-Player: WR Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns – 16% owned RGIII’s old Baylor teammate has quickly become Brandon Weeden’s go-to guy in Cleveland. He currently leads the team in receiving yards and touchdowns, and has been on fire since torching the Giants for 82 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 5 loss. It’s time to give Gordon a whirl if you are looking for the long TD bomb that Thomas or Jones can usually supply.
On Bye: WRs Eric Decker, Denver Broncos & Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Rent-a-Player: WR Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans – 38% owned Yet another Baylor rookie receiver pops up on the list. Wright was more highly regard coming out of college than his teammate Gordon, but his output with the Titans has been almost equal – in more games. However, with 18 first down plays and 52 targets to his name, Wright is clearly who Matt Hasselbeck will be looking to for some chain moving action, and he could have a breakout week against Buffalo.
On Bye: TE Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Rent-a-Player: TE Tom Crabtree, Green Bay Packers – 0% owned I will admit that this one is a swing for the fences. However, if I am Aaron Rodgers, I am not throwing the ball to Jermichael Finley anymore until he a) has a hand transplant or b) invents invisible stick ’em. With Finley’s penchant for poorly-timed drops, Crabtree has quietly racked up 23.1 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. Even though he is primarily a blocking tight end, he may be open over the middle this week as St. Louis works to take away Jordy Nelson and James Jones on the outside. It’s worth a shot if you’re desperate, or bored.