As we proceed into the fifth week of the NFL season, every fantasy owner is cringing with contempt as the first of many BYE weeks commences. No longer can confident owners rely on their star wideouts or steady quarterbacks without first doing their due diligence to see when those respective players have an off week. However, while having to face this inevitable aspect can be daunting at first, there are a plethora of options out there that are worthy replacements for your favorite fantasy assets. Whether you consult the waiver wire, initiate a worthwhile trade or simply bring an intriguing gem off your bench, there is no shortage of ways to keep your fantasy team competitively relevant while your superstars take the week off.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts (vs. San Francisco 49ers)
Despite being the clear the starter for the Colts until Andrew Luck returns, Jacoby Brissett is owned in just 6% of Yahoo fantasy leagues. Sure, Brissett turned the ball over twice against the defensively sound Seahawks, but he still managed to beat his projected point total by a point. While Brissett will never be a gunslinger like Luck, he is certainly one of the more cerebral quarterbacks in the NFL and can effectively use his legs to extend plays (4.9 yards per rush attempt). Against a soft 49ers secondary, Brissett should have a field day passing the football and will be equally effective in the red zone as a smart rusher.
Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Cleveland Browns (vs. New York Jets)
For whatever reason, this has been the year to rely on dynamic pass-catching running backs. From the once unknown Tarik Cohen to the underrated Chris Thompson, shifty backs with great hands have become a serious commodity in fantasy football. In that regard, Duke Johnson Jr. has been an absolute stud as he has blown out his projected point total the last two weeks and has clearly become a heavily utilized security blanket for quarterback DeShone Kizer. Against the Jets, who have given up the fourth most points to running backs, Johnson will see his usual high-volume of receptions while being featured much more prominently in the running game. While this matchup may lack in actual entertainment value, Johnson’s production on the field will be much appreciated by fantasy owners.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins (vs. Tennessee Titans)
Yes, the Dolphins offense has looked atrocious over the last two weeks. In fact, the woeful Dolphins offense has looked so bad that they were shut out by arguably the worst defense in the NFL in the New Orleans Saints. However, there has been a bright spot for the Dolphins, at least in terms of fantasy point production. Over the last three weeks, Jarvis Landry has received target shares of 15, 11 and 7 respectively. While he has yet to break out in terms of receiving yards, his immense volume of target shares has made him fairly reliable in PPR leagues even when Dolphins as a team fail to produce. Against the Titans, who have given up the most passing touchdowns this season, Landry will have another productive day catching the ball. Even he doesn’t score a touchdown, Landry will accumulate enough receptions to offset the ineptitude of the Dolphins offense when it comes to overall fantasy production.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Los Angeles Rams)
One of the best moments and feelings in fantasy football is starting a player that has looked like a shell of himself only to bounce back and have a monster week. Jimmy Graham is that type of play this week. Limited by an ankle injury early in the season, Graham is finally getting his fair share of targets and is due for his first touchdown of the season against a Rams defense that has been particularly porous over the last two weeks. Graham’s 11 receptions for 113 yards over the last two weeks point to the athletic tight end being completely healthy and he should be a reliable fantasy starter from here on out.