Bye week: Ravens, Bears, Texans, Colts, Chargers, Titans
Note: Injured wide receivers Percy Harvin (SEA) and Michael Crabtree (SF) appeared in last week’s column and are once again recommended.
Mike James, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Carolina, owned in 10% of Yahoo! leagues): The rookie from Miami has been presented with a big opportunity thanks to a serious shoulder injury sustained by starting RB Doug Martin this past Sunday. James came off the sideline in relief to carry the rock a career-high 14 times for 45 yards while pitching in an additional eight yards on three receptions in a 31-23 loss at Atlanta. Yeah, it’s big news when a new starting running back hits the market midway through the season, but don’t get too exited about James. The Buccaneers currently rank 20th in the NFL in rushing (101.2 yds/gm) and 31st in scoring (14.5 pts/gm).
Jarrett Boykin, WR, Green Bay Packers (at Minnesota, owned in 32% of Yahoo! leagues): With Randall Cobb (leg) and James Jones (knee) battling injuries, the second-year receiver out of Virginia Tech picked up the slack by hauling in eight passes for 103 yards and a score Sunday against a better-than-advertised Cleveland defense. Boykin’s stat line came by way of ten targets and with a date against a lousy Minnesota team on deck, this guy isn’t just worth acquiring, he’s worth starting this weekend.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins (at Denver, owned in 27% of Yahoo! leagues): Has been targeted six or more times in four of five starts this season, has found the end zone in two of his last four outings and is coming off a career-best 9-134-1 performance against the Chicago Bears this past Sunday. Reed is making a strong case for TE1 consideration.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Indianapolis Colts (Bye, owned in 22% of Yahoo! leagues): With Pro Bowler Reggie Wayne (knee) finished for the season, look for DHB to assume a much larger role within the Indianapolis offense. Racked up a season-high seven targets against Denver on Sunday night, which resulted in four receptions for 44 yards and the former Raiders’ first touchdown of the year.
Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants (at Philadelphia, owned in 14% of Yahoo! leagues): Has yet to play a down in 2013 due to a leg injury sustained during the preseason, but owners should take note that Brown resumed practicing with the Giants last week and should make his return to the lineup following New York’s Week 9 bye. For how bad the Big Blue running game has been this season, you can bet Brown will see plenty of touches with a chance to steal the starting job once he suits up and hits the field for real.
Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons (at Arizona, owned in 50% of Yahoo! leagues): Douglas is well on his way to a career year due to the plague of injuries that has ravaged the Atlanta receiving unit. Busted loose with a season-high seven receptions for 149 yards and a score on seven targets Sunday against the Buccaneers and should continue to see plenty of Matt Ryan’s passes coming his way for the foreseeable future.
Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans (Bye, owned in 59% of Yahoo! leagues): Worth a stash if still available due to the fact that starting running back Arian Foster suffered a hamstring injury in Week 7 that forced him to exit the game early. Tate was called into action and amassed 55 total yards on 17 touches against one of the stingiest defenses in the league in Kansas City.
Locker returned from a hip injury on Sunday to throw for a season-high 326 yards.
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys (at Detroit, owned in 50% of Yahoo! leagues): How is this guy only owned in half of all Yahoo! fantasy leagues at the moment? Over his last four games, Williams has rolled up a 19-320-3 stat line on 21 targets, which averages out to 12.2 fantasy points per game in standard scoring formats. Definitely worthy of a WR3 spot for owners in leagues with 12 or more teams.
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans (Bye, owned in 8% of Yahoo! leagues): Returned to action from a hip injury Sunday to throw for a season-high 326 yards and two scores in a 31-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Locker has tossed two or more touchdown passes in three of his last four starts and makes for a respectable QB2 option for owners in leagues with 12 or more teams.
Roy Helu, Jr., RB, Washington Redskins (at Denver, owned in 23% of Yahoo! leagues): Absolutely worth a stash for owners in leagues with 12 or more teams. Yes, it’s Alfred Morris’ job in Washington, but Helu is averaging 10.0 carries per game over his last three starts, with four scores. The Nebraska product will continue to handle a piece of the workload and should something happen to Morris, Helu will quickly become a RB2/flex option for owners with him sitting on the roster.
Josh McCown, QB, Chicago Bears (Bye, owned in 1% of Yahoo! leagues): Starting signal-caller Jay Cutler has been lost for at least the next four weeks due to a torn groin suffered Sunday at Washington, meaning McCown will have the opportunity to take advantage of the Brandon Marshall-Alshon Jeffery-Martellus Bennett trio. In Week 7 relief duty, McCown completed 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards and a score which resulted in a QB rating of 119.6.
Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets (at Cincinnati, owned in 30% of Yahoo! leagues): Should have regained the starting job in New York following his 34-carry, 104-yard effort Sunday against the Patriots. However, the upside here for the rest of the season is limited (consistency is a serious issue) and we don’t expect a big effort Sunday at Cincinnati against one of the nastier defenses in the league.
Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins (at New England, owned in 11% of Yahoo! leagues): The upside here is minimal at best, but take note that Thomas carried the ball 12 times on Sunday (60 yards) against Buffalo, while Lamar Miller handled the rock just nine times (43 yards). Again, when you consider how bad the Miami offensive line has been this season, it’s tough to start either one of these guys with confidence.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans (Bye, owned in 29% of Yahoo! leagues): Hasn’t found the end zone since Week 2, but is currently tied for 19th in the NFL with 58 targets. Jake Locker’s return from injury resulted in a 9-98-0 stat line with a season-high 12 targets against the 49ers on Sunday.
Kellen Clemens, QB, St. Louis Rams (vs. Seattle, owned in 1% of Yahoo! leagues): Nothing more than a QB2 in leagues with more than 12 teams, Clemens should have the opportunity to roll up some garbage time numbers filling in for the injured Sam Bradford (ACL, out for year).
Carolina Panthers, D/ST (at Tampa Bay, owned in 47% of Yahoo! leagues): Don’t look now, but the Panthers have surrendered an average of just 11.75 points per game over their last four outings and take on a Buccaneers team Thursday night that ranks 31st in the league in scoring (14.5 pts/gm).
Cleveland Browns, D/ST (at Kansas City, owned in 15% of Yahoo! leagues): Currently ranks seventh in the NFL in total defense (318.9 yds/gm) and 17th in scoring (22.3 pts/gm) and heads to Kansas City on Sunday for a showdown with an undefeated Chiefs team that has posted 30 or more points in a game just once this year.
Green Bay Packers, D/ST (at Minnesota, owned in 55% of Yahoo! leagues): Since dropping 34 points on the Steelers in London a few weeks back, the Vikings have managed to score a grand total of just 17 points over their last two outings. In addition, Minnesota has turned the ball over 15 times this season (fourth-most in NFL) despite having already served their bye week.
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