This is the biggest bye week of the 2012 season. Week 7 is absurd. It’s astonishing how many teams have off this week. But, such is life. Week 7 is traditionally a tough week for fantasy owners. I think I’m replacing 5 or 6 guys in one league. Yikes!
Don’t worry though! We’ve got you covered. The following 10 guys could certainly fill the void left by the likes of Julio Jones, LeSean McCoy, or Reggie Bush.
(And don’t think I didn’t notice the 30% of you that started Cam Newton on his bye in week 6. Shame on you!)
Byes: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphina, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers
1. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks– Owned in 12.3% of leagues (ESPN) I did NOT see this one coming! Would Seattle’s defense play well at home against New England? Sure, I would buy that. But, I would never have thought that a rookie quarterback would have the guts to administer a 4th quarter comeback drive against the New England Patriots. Wilson’s stats were career highs as well. He went 16-27 for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also rushed the ball 5 times for 17 yards. The Seahawks have the 49ers in San Francisco next week so temper your expectations but this guy definitey warrants a backup spot on your team.
2. Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns – Owned in 2.5% of leagues (ESPN) Holy deep threat, Batman! Josh Gordon has made some big plays in back to back weeks. In 2 games he’s only caught the ball 5 times but he’s gained 181 yards and 3 touchdowns in those 5 catches. Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden is showing more and more confidence in the rookie wideout and I’m starting to become believer.
3. Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings – Owned in 36.7% of leagues (ESPN) He’s probably still out there if you need him and he’s only going to get better. As projected, Ponder played very well in Minnesota’s loss to Washington. He threw the ball 52 times, connecting on 35 of those attempts, for 352 yards and 2 touchdowns. He did fumble once and throw 2 interceptions but beyond that he put up his season high in yardage. Next he faces the Arizona Cardinal defense which are actually in the bottom third of the league against the pass.
4. Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys – Owned in 51.3% of leagues (ESPN) DeMarco Murray went down this past week with a foot injury and his status for Week 7 is that he’ll reportedly miss the game against the Carolina Panthers. That means that fantasy owners should be salivating at the prospect of what a healthy Felix Jones could do against the Panthers. He rushed 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens so the Panthers should be a walk in the park. With the likes of Reggie Bush, Willis McGahee and Ryan Mathews on bye, owners need somebody to step up. Felix Jones says, “You’re welcome America.”
5. Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns – Owned in 6.0% of leagues (ESPN) The Grandfather of the 2012 rookie class is looking like the polished product the Browns thought they had drafted. Though he’s 1-1 in back to back games, Weeden has looked good. He’s thrown for 522 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2 games. He issue is he’s also thrown 3 interceptions so he’ll need to cut down that stat going forward. The icing on the cake is that he’s got a mediocre-at-best Indianapolis Colts defense to play in week 7.
6. Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati Bengals – Owned in 32.2% of leagues (ESPN) The wheels are finally turning in Greshamland. This guy has got the talent and he’s athletic as hell but no one knew when he’d be healthy AND productive. I think we’ve arrived. His last two outings have yielded a total of 8 catches for 128 yards and a score. Granted his opponents were Miami and Cleveland and he now goes up against Pittsburgh, but, Gresham still remains as one of the more talented tight ends in the league. He’s certainly worth a spot on your bench for the home stretch of the fantasy season.
7. Michael Jenkins, WR, Minnesota Vikings – Owned in 0.1% of leagues (ESPN) Due to a freak back injury, Jerome Simpson was forced to sit out Week 6. Enter Michael Jenkins to pick up the slack and pick up the slack he did! Targeted 10 times, Jenkins caught 6 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Ponder threw the ball a lot and both Harvin and Rudolph had more targets but it was nice to see someone else in the Vikings receiving corps help out. Going forward I’m not sure how much value Jenkins will have but as long as Simpson is out and the Vikings offense is clicking he merits some consideration.
8. Montario Hardesty, RB, Cleveland Browns – Owned in 0.4% of leagues (ESPN) Here is my weekly injury replacement pick. Trent Richardson went down with a rib injury that, by all accounts, is not that serious. However, if he were to miss time, there is a more than capable backup named Montario Hardesty that would shoulder the Cleveland rushing load just fine. After Richardson went out on Sunday, Hardesty had 15 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. Not stellar numbers but remember that Cleveland was playing Cincinnati and that they have Indianapolis this week. And Indy is only the defense that let Shonn Greene rush for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns. SHONN GREENE!!!
9. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Owned in 26.8% of leagues (ESPN) I know this guy got supplanted as the starter in Tampa Bay BUT he is a goal-line vulture. He has a touchdown in back to back games and I know owners love that extra 6 points on a play. He did receive 7 carries to Doug Martin’s 13 on Sunday. So, it’s entirely possible that a timeshare could happen. Monitor the situation closely.
10. Brandon Gibson, WR, St. Louis Rams– Owned in 24.8% of leagues (ESPN) With Danny Amendola out, some other obscure receiver has to shoulder the burden. That other obscure receiver is Brandon Gibson. In Amendola’s absence, Gibson has 10 catches for 124 yards. He is certainly the most consistent receiver in St. Louis not named Amendola. The next two weeks the Rams face Green Bay and New England, two very good run defenses who are not so great defending the pass. Sleeper alert!
Honorable Mention: Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans. Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals. Shaun Draughn, RB, Kansas City Chiefs. Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets. Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams.