Chris Vadney with his ideas on how to avoid letting the dreaded bye week wreck your fantasy season.
The Bears, Jags, Saints, and Panthers are on a bye this week, which leaves plenty of high profile players in need of replacements. This week, and as long as the bye weeks continue, I’ll highlight my ten best replacements; two for each position besides defense and kicker. Every player I recommend is currently available in 50 percent or more of leagues.
Christian Ponder (MIN) at Washington
Ponder has been solid early this season averaging 13.6 FP per game, and has played better in bigger games. Going into Robert Griffin, III territory will qualify as a big game for the Vikings. Ponder has made a huge leap this season completing almost 70 percent of his passes compared to just 54.3 percent last season. Expect Ponder to shred the Washington secondary on Sunday.
Kevin Kolb (ARI) versus Buffalo
Kolb has played really well this season despite getting protection from one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. He was sacked nine times last week against St. Louis, and the Bills have an even better defensive line. That being said, the Bills are yielding an average of 22.8 FP per game to quarterbacks this year—worst in the league. Arizona should win the game and they have to score points somehow; I expect Kolb to be the reason—if he doesn’t leave the game due to getting pummeled too badly, that is.
Jacquizz Rodgers (ATL) versus Oakland
Rodgers hasn’t exactly been productive so far this season, but it’s no secret that the Falcons want to get him more involved to help preserve Michael Turner. The Raiders gave up over 30 FP to the only decent running back they faced this season, Reggie Bush. In a game that will probably be a blowout there should be plenty of touches to go Jacquizz’s way.
James Casey (HOU) versus Green Bay
Green Bay has an average defense in every sense of the word. Casey becomes a sneaky good play against them because he qualifies at running back and tight end. He won’t get any rushing yards but he has caught 16 passes this season, including nine in his last two games. Keeping all this in mind, only play him if you are hurting horribly for a running back or are in a really deep league.
Jeremy Kerley (NYJ) versus Indianapolis
After the Jets ruled Santonio Holmes out for the season, Kerley instantly became a viable receiver in my opinion. My love was justified on Monday night against Houston when Kerley was targeted nine times and had 94 yards receiving. That isn’t a huge game but, considering the offense was atrocious, it is a sign that Kerley will get his numbers no matter how the team is playing. I think Kerley is worth owning in all leagues at this point. Regarding this week’s matchup, Indianapolis has one of the league’s worst pass defenses and I wouldn’t hesitate starting him.
Andre Roberts (ARI) versus Buffalo
For a lot of the reasons I love Kolb, I love Roberts. He is the number-two receiver in Arizona and Buffalo is among the league’s worst in FP allowed to receivers. Roberts averages seven targets per game, and with a catch rate of 57 percent, he should get either serious yardage or into the end zone, hopefully both.
Kyle Rudolph (MIN) at Washington
I cannot emphasize enough that Rudolph should be owned in all leagues. He is the ninth-overall tight end and has caught four touchdowns this season! This week is as good of a week as any to jump on the bandwagon because Washington is abysmal against tight ends. This season they give up an average of 11.2 FP per game to tight ends. As the second-most targeted Viking and a tight end, Rudolph is primed to have another solid game.
Coby Fleener (IND) at New York Jets
Fleener only has 13 catches on the season but has been targeted 25 times. The Jets are giving up 8.6 FP to tight ends this year. Fleener has a relatively low catch rate of 52 percent but the league average is closer to 65 percent; to me, this means that the lack of catches is purely based on opposing defenses and not a lack of skill or chemistry with Andrew Luck. It seems like only a matter of time before Fleener has his first big game in the NFL.
Blair Walsh (MIN) at Washington
The Vikings have a ton of talent and it is starting to manifest itself on the field. Walsh is the second highest scoring kicker going into week 6 and Washington likes to give up points. The Blair Walsh Project, as I have named him, came to my rescue last week when I needed a fill-in for Jason Hanson of the Lions, scoring 13 FP. Grab him while you can; he won’t last long.
Miami Dolphins versus St. Louis
How in the world will St. Louis score now that Danny Amendola is out? The answer is that they won’t. Couple that with the Dolphins surprisingly competent defense and you have a recipe for another double-digit game from Miami. The Dolphins are the ninth-overall fantasy defense in the league and yet are only owned in three percent of leagues.
I am going to cling to the idea that this advice is helping some of you so that I can have an excuse to look up statistics all day like the nerd I am. Keep reading and I’ll see you all next week!