The next two weeks are the biggest bye weeks of the season so prepare yourself. There are some jewels to be found in that coal. Look for the teams coming off a bye week to post solid numbers in their return (except for the Texans). Sorry Houston, you have some problems.
When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:
1) Studs – Always play your studs. Each position will include a list of players that are considered studs and should not be benched. If you have the luxury of needing to decide between studs, check out the matchups or feel free to let the shark tank assist you in your decisions. This list will change from week to week. The first week, the studs will consist of the preseason top “tier” at each position.
2) Depth – Every fantasy team is different and some have more depth than others. Only follow the recommended moves if your team depth allows you to make such a move.
Enough of the chit-chat, onto the list!!
Bye Weeks: Charlie Frye, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Byron Leftwich, Brad Johnson, Tom Brady
Studs (* = new addition to the list)
Marc Bulger, St. Louis vs. Seattle
Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia vs. New Orleans
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants vs. Atlanta
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati vs. Tampa Bay
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle vs. St. Louis
Rex Grossman, Chicago* vs. Arizona
Drew Bledsoe, Dallas (vs. Houston): Fear not, Bledsoe owners. You won’t get three INTs this week when the Texans head to Dallas. Bledsoe should post 250+ passing yards along with two TDs this week. Don’t miss out.
Jon Kitna, Detroit (vs. Buffalo): The Lions are dealing with some injuries on the offensive line, but the Bills have their problems with injuries on defense as well. Kitna has thrown five TDs in the past three weeks while attempting an average of 42 passes per game. Kitna will continue to air it out this week at home with enough success to make him a worthy start.
Jake Delhomme, Carolina (vs. Baltimore): The return of Steve Smith has helped Delhomme, but facing a Ravens defense that has allowed an average of 125 yards passing the last two games is not what Delhomme needs to get on track. Look elsewhere as Delhomme will struggle on the road.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (vs. Kansas City): Roethlisberger’s right elbow was problematic last week which means his left big toe is the only thing left on his body that has not caused a problem this season. Stay away from Big Ben until he has more than one healthy appendage.
Bye Weeks: Reuben Droughns, Ahman Green, Noah Herron, Vernand Morency, Dominic Rhodes, Joseph Addai, Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, Chester Taylor, Mewelde Moore, Corey Dillon, Laurence Maroney
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego vs. San Francisco
Ronnie Brown, Miami vs. N.Y. Jets
Steven Jackson, St. Louis vs. Seattle
Frank Gore, San Francisco vs. San Diego
Tiki Barber, N.Y. Giants vs. Atlanta
Clinton Portis, Washington vs. Tennessee
Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia vs. New Orleans
Removed from Studs list:
-Larry Johnson, Kansas City: neck
Julius Jones, Dallas (vs. Houston): Jones has posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. Houston is coming off a bye week, but having three weeks to prepare for the Cowboys won’t be enough to slow down the Dallas offense. Marion Barber may vulture a goal line carry or two, but Jones will carry the most and post the big yardage to prove it.
Tatum Bell, Denver (vs. Oakland): Against a tough Ravens defense and adverse weather conditions, Bell rushed for 92 yards on 19 carries last week. He’ll find yards much easier to come by this week as the Raiders head to Denver. Look for Bell to find the end zone for the first time this season along with his third 100-yard rushing game of the season.
Warrick Dunn, Atlanta (vs. N.Y. Giants): Dunn has not rushed for more than 55 yards since week two. Coming off a bye week, look for Dunn to return to the runner that broke 130 yards rushing in the first two games of the season.
Edgerrin James, Arizona (vs. Chicago): The Edge has gone dull. James went from the Studs list to the Bench list in two weeks. I guess that’s what happens when you start a rookie QB and then face off against the best defense in the NFL. James actually posted solid numbers last week in Leinart’s first start (71 yards rushing, six catches for 44 yards), but the Cardinals offensive line woes will be exposed by the Bears this week. James will be lucky to crack the 50-yard mark rushing in a tough week for James and the Arizona offense.
Ron Dayne, Houston (vs. Dallas): Dayne may get the bulk of the carries for Houston this week, but that won’t translate into success. The speed of the Dallas defense will prevent Dayne from busting off a long run and will hold Dayne to less than 60 yards on the ground. Pass on the big man this week.
Travis Henry, Tennessee (vs. Washington): Attention waiver wire mongers: despite Henry’s 123 yards rushing last week, he’s questionable against the Redskins this week. You won’t strike it rich with this free agent acquisition, as Henry will struggle this week while splitting time with LenDale White.
Bye Weeks: Braylon Edwards, Dennis Northcutt, Joe Jurevicius, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Koren Robinson, Robert Ferguson, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokely, Reggie Williams, Ernest Wilford, Matt Jones, Travis Taylor, Troy Williamson, Marcus Robinson, Troy Brown, Doug Gabriel, Reche Caldwell, Chad Jackson
Studs (* = new addition to the list)
Torry Holt, St. Louis vs. Seattle
Terrell Owens, Dallas vs. Houston
Anquan Boldin, Arizona vs. Chicago
Laveranues Coles, N.Y. Jets vs. Miami
Santana Moss, Washington vs. Tennessee
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati vs. Tampa Bay
Andre Johnson, Houston vs. Dallas
Darrell Jackson, Seattle vs. St. Louis
Steve Smith, Carolina* vs. Baltimore
Bernard Berrian, Chicago* vs. Arizona
Removed from Studs list:
-Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona: hamstring
-Roy Williams, Detroit: neck, back
Marques Colston, New Orleans (vs. Philadelphia): Colston came back to earth last week with only three catches for 38 yards against Tampa Bay. Colston will have a solid day against the Eagles who will be suffering from a T.O. hangover in the Big Easy.
Mike Furrey, Detroit (vs. Buffalo): With Roy Williams’ status up in the air for this week’s matchup against the Bills, Furrey will become the main target for Kitna. With the Lions likely to toss it up at least 40 times, Furrey will have plenty of chances to post solid numbers and should return to the 100-yard mark.
Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Giants (vs. Atlanta): Burress bounced back from being benched in week four to catch seven passes for 69 yards and a TD last week. The Falcons allowed back-to-back 300+ yards passing in week two and three and will allow Eli Manning to find his big WR often. Look for Burress to build off last week’s numbers becoming the #1 WR in New York once again.
Reggie Brown, Philadelphia (vs. New Orleans): The status of Donte’ Stallworth has been a sore subject for Reggie Brown owners (present company included). Without Stallworth starting, Brown is a must-start. When Stallworth plays, there is the chance that Brown won’t see much action (three catches in the first two games for example). This week, McNabb will need to pass often as the Saints offense will be firing on all cylinders. With or without Stallworth, Brown will post solid numbers this week. Roll the dice.
Randy Moss, Oakland (vs. Denver): The trade talks continue as Moss wants out of Oakland. Something tells me that’s not a huge confidence boost for Andrew Walter. Cut bait on Moss if at all possible.
Derrick Mason, Baltimore (vs. Carolina): With the exception of week three, the McNair-Mason combo has yet to remind Ravens fans of the glory days with Tennessee. With the Ravens likely set up for another defensive battle, McNair will look Mason’s way on third down conversions, but not many times beyond that. Don’t expect much from the veteran this week.
Antonio Bryant, San Francisco (vs. San Diego): After two 100-yard receiving games to start the season, Bryant has caught only nine passes for 92 yards in the past three games combined. Bryant and the Niners will struggle once again as they host the Chargers.
Bobby Engram, Seattle (vs. St. Louis): Engram missed practice on Monday due to an illness and with Deion Branch learning more each day, Engram needs to be practicing as much as possible to remain a significant part of the Seattle passing attack. Look for Branch to get plenty of chances following the Seahawks bye week which leaves very little room for Engram to be productive.
Bye Weeks: Kellen Winslow, Bubba Franks, Dallas Clark, George Wrighster, Jermaine Wiggins, Ben Watson, Daniel Graham
Studs (* = new addition to the list)
Todd Heap, Baltimore vs. Carolina
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. San Francisco
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. Pittsburgh
L.J. Smith, Philadelphia* vs. New Orleans
Desmond Clark, Chicago (vs. Arizona): Clark has been surpassed by Bernard Berrian as the #2 option for Rex Grossman in the Bears passing attack. However, Clark will find the openings against the Cardinals this week which will translate into solid numbers.
Randy McMichael, Miami (vs. N.Y. Jets): The switch to Harrington at QB last week certainly helped McMichael as he easily posted his best numbers of the season: six catches for 84 yards. This week, look for more of the same against the Jets as Harrington will rely on his TE as he continues to become more comfortable with the Dolphins offense.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh (vs. Kansas City): Miller’s 87-yard reception in week one accounts for more than half his receiving yards on the season (168). Don’t expect big things from Miller this week as Roethlisberger continues to struggle.
Eric Johnson, San Francisco (vs. San Diego): Johnson was expected to post big numbers when Vernon Davis went down with an injury, but three catches in each of the past two games for a total of 37 yards and no TDs is not exactly what his owners had in mind. Johnson will be needed more as a blocker than a receiver against the Chargers this week as he’ll be very familiar with Shawne Merriman when all is said and done.