With the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Todd Gurley and new Fantasy darling Jay Ajayi on byes this week, setting a quality Week 8 lineup isn’t going to be easy. With scoring likely to drop off because top scorers like these won’t be at the disposal of their owners, it’s time to figure out a way to work through the next few weeks without your team falling off a cliff.
This is where the value of veterans as bye week fillers comes into play. Lots of players who are on the back end of their NFL careers and thus fallen out of favor in Fantasy circles are widely available. While they may have lost a step or two, or three, these vets are still contributing and make for smart pickups during the run of bye weeks coming up.
These are high-floor guys who will get enough targets and/or touches to be Fantasy worthy, and if they happen to score a touchdown then you’re in for a real treat. The hope is that these veterans will provide you with enough points to get you through the minefield of byes that often kill teams during weeks 8-11.
With six teams getting this week off (Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco) and six more next week (Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, Washington), these veterans make viable fill-ins over the next month.
The Fitz-Magic is Back
I didn’t think this guy would be back in the fold so quickly, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is a great bye-week filler with the likes of Eli Manning and Joe Flacco on byes.
Fitzpatrick has the perfect matchup for a QB looking for redemption as Cleveland has given up the second most Fantasy points to the quarterback position this season. The Harvard alum should look like the signal caller we got used to seeing during his career year last season, as he is a shoo-in for 250 yards and two TDs.
His lightly owned No. 2 wideout, Quincy Enunwa (30% owned), is a great streaming option as well, going against a Browns defense that has given up 18 passing TDs through seven weeks, tied for last in the NFL. Expect Fitz-magic to easily have his best game of the season with Top 10 QB performance this week.
LaFell in Love in London
Brandon LaFell is on a touchdown tear with four TD grabs in his last three games. The big wideout has proven to be a nice signing for the Bengals with 21 targets over that same span, second-most on the team behind only A.J. Green’s 26.
This one-two punch is causing fits for opposing secondaries and should continue that trend against a Washington defense that has given up 70-plus yards to nine different receivers this year. With the targets and red zone looks LaFell gets, that’s likely the worst-case scenario for the veteran wide receiver. I’ll happily take 70 yards and possible touchdown during these six-team bye weeks.
LaFell remains a key cog in the Bengals offense, especially in the red zone, making him a TD dependent WR3 with many top WRs on byes in Week 8.
Make a Bold Move and Start Boldin
Another wide receiver that keeps finding the end zone is Anquan Boldin. He now has four touchdowns in seven games to go along with 32 catches on 41 targets.
It’s those targets that make him appealing as owners look to fill the holes created by these bye weeks. Boldin has six or more targets in four of the Lions seven games and continues to make big catches for Matthew Stafford. Now in his 14th season, Boldin has definitely slowed down but he continues to play an important role in the Detroit offense.
Yes, he likely needs to score a touchdown to have a big week, but with the targets and the QBs trust, you could do a lot worse than Boldin as your WR3 this week.
Veteran Clay Makes Good TE Play
Charles Clay caught five passes for 47 yards when the Bills faced the Patriots in Week 4. Including that contest, the veteran tight end has racked up 24 targets over the past four weeks, while topping out at 73 yards in Week 5 versus the Rams.
While that’s nothing to write home about, as long as Clay remains one of Tyrod Taylor’s favorite targets, then the tight end needs to remain on Fantasy radars. The tight end has five or more targets in five games and at least five catches in four of the Bills seven contests.
While Clay hasn’t been anything more than a TE2, his continued involvement in the Bills offense makes him a viable veteran play against a New England defense that has given up at least four catches and 40 yards to tight ends in five of their seven games this year. With his consistent role in the Buffalo offense, I’m banking on a touchdown for Clay in one or both of their next two games before the Bills’ bye in Week 10.
Rely on Sproles as PPR Plug In
Darren Sproles is a player I’m always comfortable using as a bye-week filler. He does a lot with his limited touches and always provides Fantasy upside.
While on paper this looks like a terrible match up — Dallas gives up the third fewest Fantasy points to running backs — when you take a deeper look into the numbers, the Cowboys give up a ton of catches and yards out of the backfield, a place that Sproles thrives. Giovani Bernard caught six-of-six targets for 46 yards in Week 5 and Ty Montgomery caught 10-of-12 targets for 98 yards in Week 6. More positives for Sproles.
And if the Eagles are behind, which is highly likely, the veteran back will see more and more touches as the game goes on. Sproles remains a spark plug and is highly involved in the red zone, making him an RB2 or flex play during these next few bye-filled weeks.