Just a few short weeks ago we, as Giants' fans, were begging for a bye week to help our team catch their breath before a difficult season swallowed them up. Now on a two game winning streak with a defense making plays and a running game that is at least making third downs manageable, the bye week hits us. Hopefully the Giants don't lose the momentum they've built up and can pick up right where they left off when they're back on the field in week ten.
While I'm confident the Giants won't let an ill-timed bye week trip them up, I'm not as confident in some of my fantasy teams. The reason I am concerned is because of the quality of players that share this week nine bye.
Players like: Peyton Manning, the surprising Knowshon Moreno, the triumvirate of Denver receivers, Matthew Stafford, Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson, Our own Victor Cruz, Colin Kaepernick, the age-less Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Cecil Shorts, Justin Blackmon, Larry Fitzgerald, and the break out star of last week Andre Ellington.
The week nine bye is especially difficult if your team is not currently sitting with a winning record. Sitting at 4-4 with only a handful of weeks to make the playoffs will have some owners desperate to fill out a solid lineup, even if it means trading away some of their best players who are on a bye. I make it a point to look at league records and poke and prod owners who are in these delicate lineup situations. You never know if they might trade you Demaryius Thomas for Pierre Garcon because they feel they can't bite the bye week bullet.
Some interesting news from around the league
Zach Stacy's sprained ankle has been reported to not be the dreaded high-ankle sprain and even got in a very limited practice yesterday with the Rams. Stacy's performance against the Seahawks on Monday night went a long way towards proving his running back two status moving forward. His vision and elusiveness make him a must own if he's still on your waiver wire somewhere.
Shonn Greene returns to the Tennessee Titans this week after missing the first seven weeks of the season with a knee injury. Mike Munchak hinted at a time-share at the running back position moving forward. He said Greene would get 15carries while Chris Johnson would get 20. Seeing as Johnson doesn't factor in goal-line or short yardage situations, this could be a major hit to his fantasy stats the rest of the year. Greene should be owned in all twelve team leagues.
Roddy White still has not been cleared to play and it looks like Harry Douglas will continue for the foreseeable future as Matt Ryan's number one target. Make sure to start him while you can. Jonathon Stewart returns to the Carolina Panthers just in time as DeAngelo Williams is nursing a leg injury. The Panthers running back situation will be very difficult to navigate for the next few weeks as Stewart and Williams lose goal-line carries to Mike Tolbert. If Stewart can prove to be an asset in the passing game with his excellent screen-pass skills then he could be a flex play going forward.
If you were lucky enough to listen to my podcast Trick Plays last week then you had Marvin Jones in your lineups when he went off for four touchdowns against the Jets. If you didn't well then that's on you. Jones had all of that production (8 receptions, 122 yards, 4 touchdowns) while only running 13 routes. Jones is the epitome of the big play receiver as A.J. Green attracts double coverage on the opposite side of the field. Jones ability to break tackles and accelerate quickly make him a touchdown threat on any reception. His ownership numbers skyrocketed this week in fantasy football as a result of this breakout performance.
I know some people might be itching to get Torrey Smith back in their lineups following the Ravens bye week, but I would be cautious as he is facing the always difficult Joe Haden. Ray Rice on the other hand should have a bounce back game and is back into my running back one rankings.
One game to watch, with fantasy starters in mind, will be the Indianapolis Colts against the Houston Texans. T.Y Hilton is expected to take on a bigger role in the passing game with the injury to Reggie Wayne, and he should be able to run free against the Texans' secondary. The Texans on the other hand are once again starting Case Keenum at quarterback, and have a bunch of injury concerns at the running back position. Arian Foster hasn't practiced yet this week and Ben Tate is nursing a rib injury. The fact that this is a late Sunday game with both running backs likely being game time decisions, makes it an extremely difficult situation for Arian Foster owners. The last thing you want to do is bench Foster for, let's say Ryan Mathews, only to have Foster put up huge numbers against the Colts. I would suggest picking up James Starks as insurance to the Houston running back situation, as Starks plays on Monday night and should see a lot of action against the Bears.
QB Bye Weeks Fillers:
Jake Locker, Terrelle Pryor, Nick Foles
RB Bye Week Fillers:
Mike James, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, Shonn Greene, possibly Daryl Richardson (if Stacy is out)
WR Bye Week Fillers:
Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, Emmanuel Sanders, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr., Darrius Heyward-Bey
Feel free to ask me any start/sit or trade questions on Twitter@Coachesser or by messaging me on Facebook by liking Coachesser's Playbook. You can also read my articles at www.coachesser.com and listen to the definitive fantasy football podcast on Itunes or Stitcher Radio by subscribing to the Trick Plays podcast hosted by Micah James (@FFMagicMan) and myself.