The burden of BYE weeks can be a challenge for fantasy owners this late in the season. By now teams know who their studs are, and also recognize the lost seasons of those injured such as Reggie Wayne or those underachieving like CJ Spiller. Most owners use the waiver wire too much because they are looking for the lightning in the bottle player who makes an impact for their team. But while some teams will have multiple guys out due to various reasons; BYE, injury, underachiever, they will need to be closely monitoring the wire and the news. For those of you who are in need, let me give you some recommendations for the week ahead.
• (SF) QB Colin Kaepernick vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – Kaep has been up and down throughout the first 7 weeks of the season. He hasn’t thrown for more than 250 yards in 5 of his 7 games with 8 TDs, 3 of which came in week 1. The Jaguars are a terrible team this year. This is a great chance for Colin to find his groove and hopefully start producing the way most of us who drafted him had anticipated.
• (NYG)QB Eli Manning vs. Philadelphia Eagles – Much like Kaepernick, Manning has been erratic at best. With last week’s win and the news that Brandon Jacobs wants to give it a go, I think the Giants have a chance to win their second consecutive game against the ordinary Eagles’ defense. Manning has thrown 10 TDs in total and has shown great chemistry with Victor Cruz all season. He is a modest play in fantasy on most weeks but has a chance to be a high end QB2 to Low end QB1 in week 8. Go Giants!
• (MIA) RB Lamar Miller vs. Buffalo Bills – Miller should be on most waiver wires. His lack of production says more about his offensive line than it does about his own abilities. Yet one can’t look and see an opportunity in front of him. New England’s defense has been leaking like a sieve since losing Mayo and Wilfork. Miller has a chance to put up some yardage as well as a TD as long as his offensive line can create some holes. Consider picking him up if you have RB’s on BYE such as Foster, CJ, Forte, or Danny Woodhead.
• (ATL) WR Harry Douglas vs. Arizona Cardinals – With No Julio Jones and no Roddy White, Matt Ryan has to throw to somebody! Enter Harry Douglas who caught 7 passes for 149 yards on 7 targets. White isn’t expected to be ready which should mean another target heavy performance from Douglas. If he is still available, go get him now.
• Green Bay Packers DST vs. Minnesota Vikings – The Josh Freeman experiment fell flat on its face for the Vikings. They need to do a better job of just running the ball and working their game through AP and Toby Gerhart. Christian Ponder has been a far cry from what the Vikings thought they were getting with the 12th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. Though I find it unfair to hit him with the “bust” tag just yet, his recent play is not helping his cause. Green Bay should be keying in on Ponder. The Vikings rank 25th overall in offense. Green Bay is ranked 15th in defense. Numbers aside, Ponder has an opportunity to reclaim the starting job if he can perform, but I wouldn’t put a single dollar on that happening.
Less Appealing Options
• (SEA) QB Andy Dalton vs. New York Jets – The Jets defense has been stellar ranking 4th in the league. The Bengals don’t run the ball well even with both the law firm and Giovanni Bernard getting reps. This could spell trouble for Dalton. If Cincy can’t run the ball, then Andy will be forced to throw the ball and Rex Ryan has his defense playing with some swagger again. Look for Dalton to be forced to throw more this game than he has been in recent weeks. I would not be surprised to see him get sacked multiple times while trying to find an open receiver downfield. Dalton will be a QB2 this week and the Jets will have a chance to win another game behind the play of their defensive unit.
• (OAK) RB Darren McFadden vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – McFadden, as per usual can’t stay healthy and will rejoining his team this week after missing multiple games with a hamstring issue. McFadden has never regained his dominant level of play that he showed us in 2010 and it is becoming a concern for fantasy owners. His inability to play to his potential as well as stay healthy makes DMC a flex play at best for probably the rest of the season regardless of the opposition.
• (TEN) WR Justin Blackmon vs. San Francisco 49’ers – Blackmon’s recent play is that of an elite WR in the NFL. However SF has allowed the fewest points to receivers in fantasy this season. With Chad Henne continuing as the Jaguars QB, Blackmon has a great chance retaining his value throughout the season, but not this week. Sit Blackmon if you have the chance.
• (CLE) WR Josh Gordon vs. Kansas City Chiefs – Gordon was a relevant fantasy WR while Weeden was healthy and the starting QB, but with news that he is being benched for Jason Cambell isn’t a good sign for Gordon or the rest of Cleveland’s receiving corps. Gordon can still be used as a flex player but nothing more until Cleveland figures out its QB situation.
Denver Broncos DST vs. Washington Redskins – RGIII is back to what most fantasy owners were hoping he could play the entire season. Obviously, he was not at full strength through the first 6 weeks of the NFL season, but in the last 2 games Griffin has looked amazing. Though his passing numbers have been down, he has rushed for 75 yards a game. The dual threat is back and should give Denver fits. Denver has been sloppy on defense this season and even with Von Miller back from suspension they rank 30th overall in defense. Expect both Griffin and Alfred Morris to have a tough time running the ball but Denver allows 319 yards per game in passing which is the most in the NFL.
On a side note, I am concerned about New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham. I know I don’t write about TEs but if you own him I would suggest having a backup plan for the upcoming week and maybe the next. Good luck to you all this week and let’s look for the Gmen to get their second consecutive win.