Okay everybody, it is time for Week #4 and that means it’s the first bye week (Indianapolis and Pittsburgh.) That means that guys like Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Reggie Wayne, Donald Brown and yes, Andrew Luck will be sitting out this week. That means that you’ve come here to seek some replacements. I know, I know, I know Heath Miller is on my list but the guy has been good enough that I’d pick him up this week and stash him if you can afford the roster spot.
If you’re like me (and you have an addiction with fantasy football), you’re in five leagues and you’re 3-0 in 60% of your leagues because you drafted the first guy on my list. Surprises and injuries were abound in Week 4, so without further ado I’d like to get to this week’s targets:
1. Mikel LeShoure, RB, Detroit Lions– Owned in 36.1% of leagues (ESPN) I can’t believe he wasn’t drafted by more people. He was going in the 14th round because of his two-game suspension. Detroit has been quite vocal about using LeShoure as the feature running back in Detroit. Matthew Stafford went down with an injury in week 3 and, though Shaun Hill has proven himself capable in the past, you have to believe that Detroit would try to lean on the running game with a healthy LeShoure. In his NFL debut last week, LeShoure ran often with 26 carries for 100 yards (3.8 YPC), a rushing touchdown, and 4 catches for 34 yards (8.5 YPC.) Nobody else had more than 5 carries in the Lions backfield. LeShoure is the real deal (provided he stays healthy.)
2. Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets – Owned in 4.8% of leagues (ESPN) This guy is especially appealing if your league gives points for return yards/scores. Even so, this guy is becoming an increasingly regular part of the Jets offense. On the year he has 8 catches for 185 yards (23.1 YPC) and 2 touchdowns on offense and a punt return touchdown on special teams. He’s had limited touches but has proven effective.
3. Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants – Owned in 41.8% of leagues (ESPN) Ahmad Bradshaw’s absence be damned. Mr. Brown ran 20 times for 113 yards (5.6 YPC) and 2 touchdowns while hauling in 3 catches for 17 yards. It sickens me how New York’s backups are starting caliber playmakers. We should all be so lucky. Monitor this situation but if Bradshaw continues to be sidelined, Andre Brown could be a very nice RB2 option.
4. Ramses Barden, WR, New York Giants – Owned in 0.7% of leagues (ESPN) Another beneficiary of the New York Giants show-up-and-play-well school of football. Somebody forgot to give Ramses Barden the memo that Rueben Randle was the third receiver in New York. Due to injuries to Domenik Hixon and All-Pro Hakeem Nicks, Barden started opposite Victor Cruz and caught 9 passes for 138 yards (15.3 YPC.) He looked like he wasn’t even trying, though to be fair, no Giants player did against the Carolina Panthers. If Nicks can’t go in Week 4 keep your eye on Barden as he should see increased playing time.
5. Tashard Choice, RB, Buffalo Bills – Owned in 0.4% of leagues (ESPN) The best news so far this week for the Buffalo Bills is that CJ Spiller should only be out 1-2 weeks and that Fred Jackson is planning on practicing this week after suffering a leg injury in Week 1. That being said, if you have either of these guys, you should look at Tashard Choice as a temporary fill-in back. He had 20 carries for 91 yards (4.5 YPC) on Sunday and added 2 catches for 8 yards. The Patriots defense is fairly stout against the run, however, Choice will probably see the bulk of the carries in Week 4 (especially if Jackson doesn’t suit up.)
6. Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings – Owned in 13.9% of leagues (ESPN) Percy Harvin leads the Minnesota Vikings in targets, receptions, and receiving yards but Rudolph is scoring all of the touchdowns. So far this season Kyle Rudolph has 13 catches for 138 yards (10.6 YPC) and 3 touchdowns. He is the first of four tight ends on my list which has become a surprisingly deep position this year in fantasy. If you have Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Jermichael Finley or Dustin Keller and are disappointed with their production, you could take a chance on the four guys on this list.
7. Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers – Owned in 27.6% of leagues (ESPN) He’s alive! HE’S ALIVE!! The Pittsburgh Steelers officially have no running game and that has helped their already impressive passing game immensely. Not only do Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown see their targets but Heath Miller is reaping the benefits as well. In three games, Miller has 15 catches for 129 yards (8.6 YPC) and 4 touchdowns. You could definitely do worse.
8. Brandon Myers, TE, Oakland Raiders – Owned in 1.1% of leagues (ESPN) Carson Palmer is a huge fan of this newcomer and plus Darrius Heyward-Bey could be out of action after suffering a concussion after a nasty hit on Sunday. Myers was already the leading receiver in Oakland with 15 catches for 206 yards (13.7 YPC) on the season. He suffered a minor concussion himself on Sunday so please do check his status before bidding on him.
9. Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens – Owned in 43.2% of leagues (ESPN) Todd Heap 2.0 is officially on the warpath. Dennis Pitta is cleaning house this season. With 30 targets to his name on 18 receptions, through three weeks, it’s clear who Joe Flacco likes to throw to. Pitta has looked great compiling 188 yards to go with his 18 catches (10.4 YPC) and 2 touchdowns. And still, he’s available in 56.8% of leagues. Weird.
10. Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals – Owned in 6.2% of leagues (ESPN) How is he not owned more?! The biggest surprise in Cincinnati this season is the emergence of this young man. He looks like he owns the football field when he’s on it. 12 receptions for 208 yards (17.3 YPC) and 2 touchdowns on AJ Green’s team. There’s something to be said for that. He is in the Free Agent Pool in 93.8% of leagues. Shame on all of us.
Honorable Mention: Donnie Avery, WR, Indianapolis Colts. Scott Chandler, TE, Buffalo Bills. Mike Willams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins. Andre Roberts, WR, Arizona Cardinals.