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FANTASY FOOTBALL – Week 4 Bye Week Replacement Rankings


**All Bye Week Replacements are owned in less than 50% of leagues**


On Bye: Peyton Manning (DEN), Russell Wilson (SEA), Andy Dalton (CIN), Austin Davis (STL), Brian Hoyer (CLE), Carson Palmer/Drew Stanton (ARI)

  1. Jake Locker (TEN) @IND (dependent on his wrist injury)
  2. Alex Smith (KC) vs. NE
  3. Eli Manning (NYG) @WAS
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick (HOU) vs. BUF
  5. Blake Bortles (JAC) @SD

It’s tough to say that Jake Locker has underachieved so far this season because there wasn’t exactly a ton of expectations for the fourth year pivot, but after laying an egg against Dallas in Week 2, the one possible week you might have even considered starting the Titan, it’s hard to see him as a decent replacement for Peyton Manning. At 63.6%, Locker has the lowest true accuracy (which measures a QB’s completion percentage after discounting drops and throw-aways) of any QB in football and for his career he’s completed just 57.1% of his passes. However, the Colts defense, specifically as it relates to QBs, stinks. Indianapolis is one of just four teams in the league to have surrendered over 20 points on average to QBs through Week 3 as they’ve given up 285.3 yards per game through the air. A big reason for this is the complete lack of pressure they generate. Losing Robert Mathis for the season was a huge blow to a team with no clear incumbent to pick up the slack and while the Colts’ five sacks do rank them a middling 18th in the NFL, four of these sacks came last Sunday against a Jaguars offensive line that has allowed a league-worst 17 sacks so far this year. Locker has been the third most pressured QB in 2014, as he’s had to deal with it on 43.7% of his 119 drop-backs, and he understandably struggles under these conditions. The Titan is just 17 for 39 (43.6%) while under pressure compared to a more than respectable 40 for 62 (64.5%) when dealing with a clean pocket. If Indy can’t establish a pass rush, Locker could put up some big numbers at Lucas Oil.


On Bye: Montee Ball (DEN), Marshawn Lynch (SEA), Giovani Bernard/Jeremy Hill (CIN), Zac Stacy (STL), Terrance West/Isaiah Crowell (CLE), Andre Ellington (ARI)

  1. Alfred Blue (HOU) vs. BUF
  2. DeAngelo Williams (CAR) @BAL
  3. Darren McFadden (OAK) vs. MIA
  4. Khiry Robinson (NO) @DAL
  5. Lorenzo Taliaferro (BAL) vs. CAR

Because of the offense he plays in, Darren McFadden‘s value is wrapped completely into how many times he touches the ball which, the past two weeks, has been quite frequently. Without Maurice Jones-Drew in the lineup, McFadden has been the uncontested RB1 for Oakland piling up 30 carries and 36 touches between weeks 2 and 3. McFadden would also have two touchdowns over that span if not for a phantom holding call in the final minute against New England. Still, barring a return from MJD, McFadden should be a lock for 15-20 touches against Miami in London this Sunday, a great opportunity with the Dolphins allowing the fourth most fantasy points to RBs so far this season. McFadden could especially have an impact in PPR leagues seeing as a big chunk of those points Miami has surrendered have come through the air. Teams opposing the Dolphins have targeted their RBs 27 times through three games, second to only the Chargers who have given up 31 targets to backfield options. This would seem to play right into the hand of Raiders’ starting QB Derek Carr who has thrown a whopping 66% of his 100 targeted passes nine yards or fewer. McFadden had six catches on seven targets the past two weeks – you might see these figures double in London while the Dolphins continue to roll without starting line-backers Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe and safety Rashad Jones.

Wide Receivers

On Bye: Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders/Wes Welker (DEN), Percy Harvin/Doug Baldwin (SEA), A.J. Green/Mohamed Sanu (CIN), Tavon Austin/Brian Quick (STL), Miles Austin/Andrew Hawkins (CLE), Larry Fitzgerald/Michael Floyd/John Brown (ARI)

  1. Malcolm Floyd (SD) vs. JAC
  2. Greg Jennings (MIN) vs. ATL
  3. Jarrett Boykin (GB) @CHI
  4. Stevie Johnson (SF) vs. PHI
  5. Marqise Lee (JAC) @SD
  6. Jordan Matthews (PHI) @SF
  7. Donnie Avery (KC) vs. NE
  8. Eddie Royal (SD) vs. JAC
  9. Jeremy Kerley (NYJ) vs. DET
  10. Brian Hartline (MIA) @OAK

Keep an eye on Stevie Johnson, yes, three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons Stevie Johnson, this week against the Eagles. Not surprisingly, Philadelphia has surrendered the second most points per week to WRs in PPR formats and the third most in standard – stemming from just a basic inability to stopping the pass (see Kirk Cousins‘ 400 yard passing game for further evidence). This confidence is just as much about Johnson as it is his opposition though. While the former Bill only has about half the snaps on the season (93) of Anquan Boldin (179) and Michael Crabtree (155), Johnson has seen his snap count increase each week, culminating in a season-best 42 against the Cardinals last Sunday. Now, I don’t expect the nine targets he claimed to be a constant, especially with Vernon Davis expected to be back for Week 4, but Johnson is clearly finding his place in this 49ers offense. Consider that of his 37 pass attempts during Week 3, Colin Kaepernick directed only four at non-receiver options. It would be silly to assume that this trend would continue as heavily with Davis back in the fold, but with no real target vacuum at RB, I don’t see why Johnson can’t be a valuable fantasy commodity as a WR3.


On Bye: Denver, Seattle, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Cleveland, Arizona

  1. San Diego vs. JAC
  2. Detroit @NYJ
  3. Miami @OAK
  4. Washington vs. NYG
  5. Pittsburgh vs. TB

The key to beating the Jets has long been to make them throw the football and that’s exactly how they’ll have to play against the Lions in Week 4. Either Detroit’s second ranked run defense, allowing just 63.7 yards per game, will force their hand or it’s legitimately possible that, much like on Monday night, New York will be playing from behind the entire night – exactly where the Lions want them. Detroit is tied for fifth in the league with eight sacks while Jets QB Geno Smith is currently tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions and, since the beginning of 2013, is tied with Eli Manning for the most multi-interception games at eight. Granted the game will be played in New York, but after shutting down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the Jets shouldn’t pose too many issues for the Lions.

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