Bye-week Hero Candidates
NFL byes began last week, but with just two teams — the Eagles and Packers — taking a break, the impact was minimal.
Sure owners missed Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy and Jordan Matthews, but the list of players on bye this week is much more staggering.
Allen Robinson, Blake Bortles, Jeremy Maclin, Drew Brees, Mark Ingram and Russel Wilson are just some of the fantasy stars who will be kicking up their feet this Sunday as the Jaguars, Chiefs, Saints and Seahawks all rest up.
This week’s column will focus on finding bye-week heroes — bench and waiver-wire players we can plug in and cross our fingers that they can produce starters’ stats.
And if you play daily fantasy football, these are cheap options to consider in Week 5:
• Phillip Dorsett came up small (three catches for 27 yards) in Week 3 when he was inserted into the starting lineup because of Donte Moncrief’s injury. But he rebounded nicely Sunday. While he only had one catch, he made it count, taking it 64 yards for a touchdown. And now he has a tasty matchup against Chicago.
• Eddie Royal, now 30, has looked washed up for years. But he’s somehow pulling himself together and having a decent season for the Bears. He had a receiving touchdown and a return score heading into Week 4. Then he really went off, gaining 111 yards and a touchdown. And now he has a great matchup against the Colts.
• Brian Quick has the perfect last name for a wide receiver but he’s had a pretty disappointing career. But he has quietly put together two solid fantasy weeks in a row. He had 53 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs in Week 3 and totaled 69 yards and two TDs Sunday against a solid Arizona defense. Quick has an extremely low floor, but if he gets into the end zone again Sunday against the Bills, he’ll reach bye-week hero status.
• Michael Crabtree of the Raiders is clearly quarterback Derek Carr’s favorite target and Amari Cooper is even more talented but Oakland receiver Seth Roberts has put up some fantasy points of his own. Roberts hasn’t exceeded 27 yards in any game as the team’s slot receiver, but he has scored a touchdown in three of the past four games. He’s a low-ceiling, touchdown-dependent receiver.
• I have as many touchdowns as Cole Beasley this season but he is a viable option in PPR leagues. He’s averaging about six receptions and 70 yards a game and is bound to find the end zone at some point. He faces a leaky Bengals defense in Week 5.
• There’s slim pickings on the waiver wire for running backs, as usual, but Miami’s Jay Ajayi might be on the wire and is worth a prayer if you’re really desperate and if Dolphins starter Arian Foster is still out with his groin injury. Ajayi has scored just one touchdown and is averaging a putrid 25 yards per game in a committee, but coach Adam Gase has told reporters he wants to “narrow” the running back rotation, which seems to suggest Ajayi could get more looks.
• Wendell Smallwood of the Eagles will be a nice play against the Lions’ terrible run defense if Ryan Mathews misses more time with his ankle injury. Smallwood would split carries with Darren Sproles but he proved in Week 3 he can be effective, totaling 79 yards and a touchdown.
• Carson Wentz of the Eagles is averaging 256 yards per game and has five touchdowns and zero interceptions in three contests. He should be able to put up 25 points or more against a Lions defense giving up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
• Brian Hoyer of the Bears has topped 300 yards and has thrown two touchdowns in each of his two starts in place of injured quarterback Jay Cutler. Even if Cutler (injured thumb) can play Sunday, Bears coach Jon Fox said he might still go with Hoyer who would have a great matchup against the Colts shaky defense.
KEVIN AMERMAN writes a weekly column about fantasy football for Times-Shamrock Newspapers. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @kevinamerman for fantasy football news and updates.