Daily Haze, fantasy football, NFL, sports news

It is easy for fantasy owners not to care about bye weeks during fantasy drafts. Take the best player available, regardless of the bye week. You can always find a replacement on the waiver wire, or just tank one week and win the rest.

Easy, unless your fantasy team has started the 2011 season at 1-3 or 0-4.

With bye weeks starting this weekend in the NFL, some fantasy owners are in panic mode after lackluster starts to the 2011 season. Hard to ride out the bye weeks when there are injuries and underwhelming players with which to deal.

Luckily, there is a place to go for help when your fantasy team is struggling with bye weeks. It is called the waiver wire. And while the options there sometimes feel a little cheap and second-hand, fantasy owners sometimes can find the right fit for a one-week spot filler.

Teams on bye in Week 5: Ravens, Browns, Cowboys, Dolphins, Rams, Redskins

Quarterbacks

Andy Dalton @ Jaguars: Three touchdowns, zero interceptions in two road games this season. And if he had not gotten hurt in Week 1 against Cleveland, those  numbers could be even better. That is a great start for a rookie quarterback, who gets to face the same pass D that Drew Brees just tore up for 350+ yards and a score.

Matt Hasselbeck @ Steelers: Riding the hot hand here. Pittsburgh’s defense is due for a bounce-back at some point and it could come this week. How long can Hasselbeck keep playing at a high-level, and how much longer will Chris Johnson be shut out of the end zone? There are concerns starting him at Pittsburgh, but he has been too good to ignore.

Alex Smith v. Buccaneers: If you are in deep leagues (14 or 16 teams), Smith actually is a decent option. The problem with Smith in the past, however, is that he has one good game that makes you think he is turning the corner, then follows it up with a stinker. Same situation here, he had a great game at Philadelphia in Week 4. Buyer beware.

Running Backs

C.J. Spiller v. Eagles: Philadelphia is getting gashed by running backs so far this season. Although Spiller is the second option on the Bills, he should get plenty of opportunities. See Kendall Hunter last weekend for the 49ers (11 touches, 100 yards) as proof that even an obscure No. 2 running back can provide a nice fantasy day against the Eagles.

Dexter McCluster @ Colts: If you watched the Monday Night Football game between the Bucs and Colts, one thing was obvious — running backs who can catch the ball can do some damage against the Colts’ defense. McCluster should set up shop over the middle against the Colts just like Earnest Graham did on Monday night.

Isaac Redman v. Titans: With Rashard Mendenhall’s status for Week 5 up in the air, Redman could get the call at running back this weekend against Tennessee. His situation comes at a perfect time for fantasy owners in need of a one-week starter.

Wide Receivers

Antonio Brown v. Titans: Surprisingly enough, Brown leads all Steelers’ wide receivers in targets this year. That mean he has more looks from Ben Roethlisberger than even No. 1 wide receiver Mike Wallace. A big day is on the horizon for Brown and it could be this weekend.

Victor Cruz v. Seahawks: Despite the return of Mario Manningham to the starting lineup, Cruz found a way to be successful in the Giants’ offense for the second consecutive week. Given his solid play, Cruz is going to continue to get legitimate playing time and looks from quarterback Eli Manning.

Jacoby Jones v. Raiders: No Andre Johnson means Jones gets another chance to step into a lucrative starting lineup position. Beware, though, because Jones has had this opportunity in the past and failed to do anything with it. Boom or bust.

Pierre Garcon v. Chiefs: The Colts passing game actually looked competent with Curtis Painter as the starting quarterback. Garcon was the recipient of a lot of that success against the Bucs. It appears that Painter and Garcon have some chemistry, too.

Tight Ends

Jared Cook @ Steelers: Everyone knows Kenny Britt is done for the year. Those targets have to go somewhere, so surely they will spill down to Cook. He had a solid fantasy day in Week 4 thanks to an 80-yard touchdown catch despite only catching two passes. Still, it shows that Cook has big-play potential.

Brandon Pettigrew v. Bears: Chicago has allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends so far this season. And the Lions like to pass. Plus, you get to watch Pettigrew in action on Monday Night Football. Seems like a recipe for success.

Here are today’s great reads:

  • Chances are good that most leagues have processed waivers by now. If you did not get the players you wanted off waivers, however, there may still be a few choice names left in free agency. Make sure to grab them now before you league mates do. [National Football Post]
  • More target trends in Week 4 of the NFL. Falcons’ rookie wide receiver Julio Jones had his coming-out party from a targets perspective, and he turned those 17 targets into 11 grabs. Hope you were able to buy low on him before Week 4 (I tried in several leagues). [RotoProfessor]
  • Josh Freeman gets better as the season progresses and he had a nice night on Monday in front of a national television audience. If you have him on your bench and your starting QB is on bye this week, enjoy the matchup against San Francisco. Freeman should do well. [Roto Arcade]
  • Interesting things going on with AFC North running backs this year. Ray Rice is solid, as usual, so that is kind of boring. But Cedric Benson is on the verge of a three-game suspension, while Peyton Hillis and Rashard Mendenhall have had their share of struggles so far this year. [SI.com]

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