We dive deeper in the bye weeks, which means you’ll have to dive deeper into your bench. This is when not pulling the trigger on early season trades because you had “extra” fantasy starters you didn’t need pays off. Fortunately, if you’ve been playing the waiver wire game well, you should have some decent subs to move into your starting lineup. Let’s take a look at some of those that top the list, as well as as a few that may be wishful thinking.
Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz: By now, it’s not nearly as much as a risk to have the rookie in the lineup if you need someone to fill a temporary gap. He’s not going to give you Drew Brees numbers, but he won’t lose you a game either. Wentz is ranked sixth in the league in passer rating and has five touchdowns to zero interceptions.
On top of that, he’s facing a Lions team that’s given up 12 passing touchdowns so far this season. That’s the second-most in the league. I figure Wentz is good for at least two touchdowns, which may be better than your original starter in the first place.
Minnesota TE Kyle Rudolph: He’s very quietly one of the top producing tight ends this year and has a touchdown in each of his last three games. Jimmy Graham, Coby Fleener and Travis Kelce all have bye weeks, so if Rudolph is available, get him and plug him in. He’s one of the better options around.
That being said, he did miss Wednesday’s practice and is listed as questionable this week. So keep an eye on him. But if he’s playing, he’s a strong redzone target for Sam Bradford, and could see his role grow the more the offense improves.
Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton: The yards have been there, but the touchdown production is what we’re still waiting on. Dalton is yet to have a multi-touchdown game this season, and the Bengals inability to finish drives is a bit of a cause for concern, not only for Dalton, but for basically everyone on that offense minus A.J. Green (pick up kicker Mike Nugent). I think a lot to that has to do with the absence of tight end Tyler Eifert.
However, with his tight end returning this week, I think this is a good time for Dalton to start to really produce. With a Thursday night game last week, he and the Bengals have had extra time to prepare for the Cowboys. If your starter is on bye or going through concussion protocol, give Dalton some consideration.
Arizona WR John Brown: This is a strange time for the 1-3 Cardinals. While I think they have the talent to bounce back from a sluggish start, I’m not sure if this is the week with Carson Palmer ruled out for their Thursday night game.
Brown is yet to find the endzone this year, and has just one good week to his name last week with 10 receptions for 144 yards. Prior to that, he had just eight receptions in the first three games combined. These Thursday night games typically unpredictable and don’t produce outstanding fantasy numbers. Be wary about starting Brown.
Atlanta RB Tevin Coleman: That three-touchdown performance against the Saints feels like a long time ago right about now after just 19 yards rushing last week. Here’s the thing about Coleman: he’s averaging just 10 carries per game, and has to make the most of them. Against a strong defense like the Broncos, those fruitful carries may be rare, especially around the goal line where he’s most productive. This feels much more like a Devonta Freeman game.
Even more than individual players, don’t forget to look at team matchup where one side could really run up the score. It makes it a little less risky to start a normally less productive player if you’re in a pinch. For example, consider the Patriots (vs. Browns), Eagles (vs. Lions), and Raiders (vs. Chargers) to have some deep sleepers.
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