NFL Soup|Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Josh Freeman and 15 Guys to Help Ease the Bye Week Blues 

Fantasy Football

The first six-team bye week takes over the NFL in week seven. That means there will only be 13 NFL games this week, and it also means there are way less elite fantasy options to help you get one step closer to your really fake but also very real league trophy.

The likes of Matt Ryan, Jamaal Charles, Peyton Manning, LeSean McCoy and Philip Rivers can’t be used this week, so it’s time to scour the waiver wire for one-week patch jobs that can help you escape week seven with as few bumps and bruises as possible.

Here are my favorite elmer’s glue bye week replacements for the week:

Teams on Bye: Falcons, Chiefs, Broncos, Eagles, Chargers and Miami Dolphins

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Freeman tops my week 7 waiver wire column, too, and he’s a bye week savior, as well. I like his long-term value after he broke out in week six, and I certainly like his chances against a bad Saints defense in week seven.

Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Tennessee Titans

If you hadn’t hear yet, Hasselbeck is getting the start in week seven and it happens to be against the Bills. Buffalo’s defense has been pretty sorry for most of the year and Hasselbeck found a way to play well against Pittsburgh, so he should be able to help you out for another week.

Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns

If the above guys are gone (and they might be), perhaps the Browns rookie QB is out on your waiver wire. He’s been solid in spots, and I think he’ll be a worthy fill-in this week against a weak Colts defense.

Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Jones is clearly a long-term stash, too, but you have to really love him for this week. It looks like DeMarco Murray will miss at least one week (if not more) and Jones gets to run wild against the Carolina Panthers. He looked great against the Ravens, so I think he has a good day against a Panthers run defense that has struggled all year.

Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Ballard wasn’t great in his debut last week, but the Jets were at home and played angry. I like his odds much more this week against a Browns defense that is already weak and now playing without LB Scott Fujita. At the very worst, you know Ballard is starting and should get 10+ touches.

Alex Green, RB, Green Bay Packers

Green is the Packers’ new full-time starting RB, so get him while you can. He’s not likely to be the second coming of Ahman Green or anything, but he’ll get 15+ touches per game and has the talent to do some damage with it. He’s a decent Flex play at the worst, and faces a Rams defense this week that can break against the run.

Laurent Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

I know Robinson hasn’t done much on the year, but the Jaguars haven’t had an easy schedule since week three, and it finally gives them a bit of a breather against the Raiders this week. Robinson thrives on the deep ball and Oakland has struggled against the pass all year. This could be his weak to crack a few big plays.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

With Joe Haden trying to lock down Reggie Wayne all day, Hilton could roam free and be a big fantasy asset. If you play him as a WR3 or Flex, you may get a nice surprise.

Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns

Gordon is a risky play due to a small amount of targets and his clear raw ability, but he’s so explosive that he’s worth taking a chance on. He’s scored three times in the past two weeks and gets a shaky Colts defense this week. Major risk vs reward here, but you can’t knock the upside.

Dustin Keller, TE, New York Jets

The Jets played ball control offense in their man-handling of the Colts in week six, but that won’t cut it against the explosive Patriots in week seven. Look for Keller to work himself into the offense more and be a very sneaky play this week.

Brandon Meyers, TE, Oakland Raiders

Meyers continues to be worth using in PPR leagues, as he’s had at least five catches in three of five contests on the year, and he just keeps on getting chances. He almost scored against the Falcons and now gets the Jags in week seven. He could finally add a TD to his 5-6 receptions this week.

Garrett Hartley, K, New Orleans Saints

Hartley has been a solid option but could really take off this week. The Saints are riding high after finally getting a win in week five, and face a Buccaneers defense that struggle against the pass in week six. Hartley should be active all day long.

Shaun Suisham, K, Pittsburgh Steelers

Suisham and the Steelers’ O are both pretty solid, and they get the Bengals this week. It’s a divisional matchup, which means more field goals than touchdowns if we go by history. That sounds good to me when we’re talking kickers.

Cleveland Browns DEF/ST

I know Cleveland is a shaky team to invest in, but we saw Andrew Luck and co. get abused by an injury-riddled Jets defense, so they might have a chance. Their run defense might be hurting, but Indy isn’t the best run team and the Browns do have Joe Haden back. There aren’t many reliable defenses left on waiver wires, so the Browns could be worth a shot.

Oakland Raiders DEF/ST

Again, do I fully trust a defense like the Browns or Raiders? Absolutely not, but I trust them more against Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars than I do the Jets against Tom Brady and the Patriots. It’s slim pickings, but the Raiders did pick off Matt Ryan three times and almost beat ATL on the road.

About the author: Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts owns and operates NFL Soup and heads the fantasy football division of the site. Roberts also finished 2nd in the Wide Receiver position in Fantasy Pros expert fantasy football rankings in 2010 and 3rd in the Quarterback position in 2011. In addition to running the fantasy football section of the site, Roberts contributes to NFL Soup’s NFL Draft coverage and breaking news reporting. Follow Kevin on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin

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