Many fantasy owners will be forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel for players worth starting this week. They’ll have to get creative and start guys who they wouldn’t normally even think about starting.
Thanks a lot, bye weeks.
While bye weeks may be the root of all evil when it comes to fantasy, there are a handful of viable options with terrific matchups that warrant your attention if you are in need of a fill-in or two.
Brandon Bolden @ Atlanta Falcons: As of right now, Bolden is questionable for this contest, though is expected to suit up. Assuming he does, he is a very sneaky flex option in PPR formats. Last week, Bolden actually got the start for the Patriots, though he finished with far less carries. However, he served as the team’s number one pass-catching back, hauling in five balls on five targets. Even though he will more than likely see the least amount of carries in this offense, Bolden will be utilized in the passing game, and considering the Falcons are currently allowing more than six catches per contest to running backs, the matchup is quite favorable. If you are hurting at running back (which many people are), Bolden isn’t the worst option in the world, and should be owned in the majority of 12-team leagues.
Terrance Williams @ San Diego Chargers: With the news that Miles Austin (hamstring) has already been ruled out, the rookie Williams will get the start opposite Dez Bryant. Williams’ stock certainly rises, at least for this week, but those who plan on starting him should keep in mind that he is still very raw and hasn’t looked very good through three games. Still, the matchup is too good to pass up, as the Chargers are allowing the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. They currently rank as the league’s wort passing defense, giving up 340.7 yards per contest, and have already surrendered 1,000 passing yards. Quarterback Tony Romo has looked very strong this year, and with Dez getting all of the attention, Williams could have a sneaky good Week 4.
Rod Streater vs Washington Redskins: He may not post the bolstering stat lines, but I am convinced that Streater is the best receiver on the Raiders… for whatever that’s worth. He has quietly been a consistent guy this year, posting at least 42 yards in each game. Again, not numbers that will blow you away, but if there were any week where he’d post one of those monstrous stat lines, it’d be this one. The Redskins defense is currently on pace to allow the most yards in NFL history, having already allowed the most through three games (1,464). They have also allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wideouts, but with a cloudy quarterback situation, it makes for an interesting decision. After reportedly being ruled unlikely to play with a concussion, Terrelle Pryor was seen with the first team during Friday’s practice, and could very well play on Sunday. If he does, it would obviously be better than the likes of Matt Flynn under center. However, I think Streater is still worth a look regardless because the Raiders will likely draw up intermediate passing plays if Flynn is under center. Streater, meanwhile, is a possession receiver, so if that’s the style of offense they run, he’ll likely get the most looks.
Kenny Stills vs Miami Dolphins: It’s difficult to a trust a rookie wide receiver, but it’s even more difficult to trust a rookie wide receiver who only has three catches on the season. When all the pieces are on the field for the Saints, Stills serves as what Devery Henderson was a few seasons ago. A big play threat who stretches the field and doesn’t do much else. However, with Lance Moore‘s status not looking very good for Monday night’s game, Stills will have the opportunity to step in and play his biggest role of the season. It’s not a very favorable matchup against the Dolphins, but when you have a guy like Drew Brees throwing you the football at home, you like your chances a bit more.
Rob Housler @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Housler made his first start of the season on Sunday, and while he only hauled in one pass, his production will increase as he gets back to 100 percent. That uptick in production could very well be this week, as the Buccaneers have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends through three games. At 6’5″, 250 lbs, Housler is a monster target, and considering that Carson Palmer certainly isn’t afraid to air it out, Housler should easily see his highest amount of targets this week. Don’t be surprised if he sneaks into the top-15 among fantasy tight ends for Week 4.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.