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NFL Fantasy Mailbag: Big bye week problems

You send us NFL fantasy questions… we give you NFL fantasy answers! Here is the best of Week 8’s Mailbag entries.


The first big bye week is really messing with some rosters. So, let’s get to it: 

1. With the Jaguars defense on bye, should I pick up the Dolphins or Bengals’ D/ST?

The Dolphins and Bengals’ fantasy D/ST numbers are strikingly similar. They both give up about 17 points per game and have one defensive touchdown each. The Bengals have three more sacks than the Dolphins while Miami has two more turnovers than Cincinnati.

So, it comes down to the opponent. Indianapolis has no offensive line, but they have a mobile quarterback and most of their skill players are on the field. There is big play potential from several positions. Baltimore has a better offensive line, but an immobile quarterback and most of their skill players are out with injuries. It is possible they will dress a tight end they signed yesterday. 

My first choice then is Miami, but if someone else snags them, Cincy is a solid play, too. 

2. Jalen Richard or DeAndre Washington for Marshawn Lynch?

Richard, especially if you plan on holding him for more than one week. I would have sat Lynch against the Bills this week, too. Richard has a better chance to break a play on a reception than Washington does to break a run on the early downs. Richard was also taking more snaps away from Lynch before the suspension. He could continue to bring fantasy value after Lynch returns. 

3. I got Fournette, Gurley, and Aaron Jones all on bye! Who do I waive to get a second RB this week?

Don’t do it!  If you cannot trade one for a really useful rusher this week, take the zero for the week. It’s not that you won’t do well with any two the rest of the season, but you don’t want another team picking up any of them and you want the handcuff if any of them gets hurt. 

4. Is CJ Anderson done as a fantasy running back?

NO… but he has a coach who may not use him well. Vance Joseph has abandoned the running game too early at least twice and pulls Anderson for Jamaal Charles and now Devontae Booker when they go to the run. This although Anderson is an excellent pass blocker and receiver in his own right. For that reason, I am worried. But in the right game situation, Anderson is still a 20-touch, 100-yard rusher and good scoring back. Let’s see what the coach does in the next game or two to prop up Trevor Siemian. If we’re lucky, it’s a heavy dose of Anderson. 

5. Is it time to dump all the Green Bay wide receivers? 

Not yet. During the bye week, the Packers are certainly creating a more Brett Hundley-friendly passing game, while also accounting for the offensive line injuries. I don’t know that I would play any Green Bay receiver in Week 9 if I had other options, but I am not dropping any from my rosters until I see what the post-bye version of Packers football offers us. 

6. My options are Dez Bryant, Doug Baldwin, Demarcus Robinson, and Danny Amendola this week. I need two.

Baldwin is the easiest choice. He and Russell Wilson are in sync right now. I am down on Bryant against a tough Redskins pass defense. Amendola is taking all the mid-range passes lately in New England, but if he doesn’t score, that doesn’t always add up. I like Robinson, but he has to go against Denver. It adds up to Baldwin and Amendola in Week 8.

7. Would you play TY Hilton this week?

That depends on my other options. Hilton called out his offensive line, and although he apologized, that could either motivate the lineman to prove that Jacksonville’s ten sacks were just a fluky, superhuman defensive effort or they can continue to flounder with their mostly second-string linemen. Cincinnati is another tough defense against both the run and the pass. If I have good options, I would sit him. But all it takes is Jacoby Brissett escaping the rush and launching one or two passes to Hilton for the receiver to have a day. So, don’t sit him for just any third-string sleeper hope.

8. Is Akeem Hunt the right handcuff for Kareem Hunt?

Probably not. Akeem got a bunch of looks against the Raiders because Charcandrick West was inactive while nursing an injury. West is the more likely handcuff. Coach Andy Reid mentioned for the first time this week that they are monitoring Kareem’s usage. Since we have seen little game time with all three running backs in play, it is too early to know for sure. West could be a third-down back while Akeem spells Kareem for a series here and there. But we have to wait and see. Remember that West was the third party in a planned three-man committee before Spencer Ware’s injury.

9. Dalton, McCown, Beathard, Siemian, Flacco, and Matt Moore available on waivers. Who gets the job?

For one week, I would go with Dalton over McCown. The Bengals get to pass against the Indianapolis Colts this week. That’s usually a good thing. McCown has been steady and Atlanta isn’t offering much downside to fantasy quarterbacks. Moore is the biggest question mark. I would take a chance on him before any of the others.

10. I need a running back to go with Jay Ajayi this week. I have CJ Anderson, Matt Forte, and DeAndre Washington.

Forget Washington against the Buffalo defense. My hunch is that CJ Anderson will bounce back this week, but most other prognosticators are doubting my gut. There is a risk the Broncos running back rotation goes three-wide with Devontae Booker taking touches. Matt Forte is solid if the Jets continue to exclude the rookie, Elijah McGuire, from their rotation. That is a better bet than figuring out what the rookie coach in Denver plans to do with Anderson. Go with Forte. 

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Pat Opperman

Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.

NFL Fantasy Mailbag: Big bye week problems

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