Bye Weeks: Dallas, St. Louis, Washington, Cleveland, Miami, Baltimore
With the arrival of Bye weeks, fantasy owners are digging a little deeper on the waiver wire this week. Armed with the schedule, ownership logs and a lot of (self) confidence, I’m toeing the wire for you. Some of these players, particularly the quarterbacks, represent one-week options, but there are some nice roster options still available in the majority of FOXSports.com Fantasy Leagues.
For some reason, fantasy owners have refused to look in the direction of veteran Matt Hasselbeck. I understand that he’s not a weekly starter, but he’s a QB2 even with Kenny Britt on the shelf. The Titans have done a fantastic job at the line of scrimmage. Hasselbeck has the ability to sit comfortably in the pocket and make plays.
Alex Smith, SF: Yes. I know. It’s Alex Smith. I like the way they’re using the tight ends in Jim Harbaugh’s offense. Smith is utilizing his tailbacks well as receivers. And, we’re starting to see more confidence from Crabtree. I like the 49ers at home this week.
Matt Cassel, KC: I don’t anticipate a huge effort against the Colts’ pass rush, but the secondary can be beaten if he buys any time at all (look at the last two weeks). Cassel’s played six good quarters of football and will try to keep it going on the road.
Kyle Orton, DEN: Orton will continue gunning so long as John Fox doesn’t hand the ball to Tim Tebow. He’ll face another big deficit against SD and will have to keep chucking it to Lloyd and Decker.
Andy Dalton, CIN: Dalton did me proud with his upset win against the Bills (I actually picked a game correctly), offering 298 yards with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown. He’s in a good spot this week against the Jacksonville secondary and may have Cedric Benson behind him again.
I’ll tell you to go pick up Jermaine Gresham now and forgo the lengthy run on him later in this piece.
You can check the wire in your league for Willis McGahee or James Starks. They might still be floating around depending on the depth in your league.
Isaac Redman, PIT: It’s not a huge spot against TEN, but he’s run well in relief of Mendenhall throughout the season. He’s on the radar for a start (Mewelde Moore will see some touches) with Mendenhall ailing.
Ryan Torain, WAS: He was supposed to be “THE” guy coming into the season. Then he got hurt, Tim Hightower arrived and played well and Torain sat on the sidelines. Mike Shanahan then defeated fantasy owners by giving Torain a huge role in Week 4. With a Bye week on tap, he may slip off of the radar of some owners in your league.
Dexter McCluster, KC: This could be the breakthrough week for McCluster. The speedy tailback faces the always-suspect Indianapolis run defense.
Michael Bush, OAK: Bush has excelled as a No. 2 runner in Oakland. He’d be a borderline RB1 with an injury to McFadden. Most weeks, he warrants a look-see as a Flex.
Kendall Hunter, SF: Hunter went for 100 total yards in tandem with Frank Gore last week. He’s a shifty runner who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. Hunter isn’t a plug-in option with Gore available (there may be a Flex play in here somewhere), but he’s roster-worthy as an insurance card.
Lance Moore, NO: Moore caught five passes this past week, a decent follow-up to his nine-reception effort in Week 3. I expect to see more of Marques Colston this week (he may be on your wire), but Moore commands a consistent target count.
Kevin Walter, HOU: Owen Daniels in the No. 1 receiver in Andre Johnson’s absence (Arian Foster might be No. 2), but Walter figures to see many more targets than he did in Week 4.
Nate Washington, TEN: He’s the No. 1 for an efficient veteran quarterback. Chris Johnson getting back to terrorizing defensive coordinators will create space.
Steve Breaston, KC: Breaston is starting to wake up as the No. 2 option for Matt Cassel. In the past two weeks, he’s caught seven passes for 146 yards, including 42 and 43-yard receptions.
Victor Cruz, NYG: Cruz went for 98 yards and a near-catastrophe in Week 4. I still fear that he retreats to a minimum role in Manningham’s second year back. Still, it’s hard to look away from the target count with a tasty matchup on tap.
Pierre Garcon, IND: He only caught two passes against the Buccaneers, but those were fantastic highlight-worthy and fantasy matchup-changing catches. Curtis Painter loves him, and he’s got a shot to post a big day at home against the ailing Chiefs.
Eric Decker, DEN: Facing huge weekly deficits bodes well for the Denver receiving corps. Decker caught five balls, including two touchdowns, in Week 4 (his second two-touchdown effort of 2011). Look for another high target count in Week 5 against the Chargers.
Torrey Smith, BAL: Smith failed to make a big play in Week 4 against the Jets, but don’t say that the Ravens didn’t try (a couple near-misses on the six targets). Baltimore hits their Bye in Week 5, and veteran Lee Evans is expected back for Week 6. I’m still intrigued to see how many shots downfield Flacco takes. He’s worth a seat on longer benches.
Jared Cook, TEN: With Kenny Britt sidelined, Matt Hasselbeck found another big play option in Cook last week. He didn’t amass a huge reception count, but he found the mark. Cook may be called upon to block against Pittsburgh this week, but the scream of “Hot Route!” will be heard.
Greg Olsen, CAR: Olsen caught a late touchdown to pay off the heavy fantasy bets made by owners and pundits (me, at a minimum). He’s on the radar here as Newton tries to keep pace with Drew Brees, and the Panthers may be without tag-team partner Jeremy Shockey.
Brandon Pettigrew, DET: Pettigrew has caught 17 passes in the past two weeks. The Bears can’t stop the tight end. Thoughts of containing Calvin Johnson are all-consuming.