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FANTASY FOOTBALL – Week 6 Bye Replacements and Buying Branden Oliver


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


On Bye: Drew Brees (NO), Alex Smith (KC)

  1. Ryan Tannehill (MIA) vs. GB
  2. Teddy Bridgewater (MIN) vs. DET
  3. Carson Palmer (ARI) vs. WAS (Questionable due to Shoulder Injury)
  4. Charlie Whitehurst (TEN) vs. JAC
  5. Brian Hoyer (CLE) vs. PIT

It’s an extremely tough week to stream a QB with no great match-ups apparent within the lower tier of signal callers – except for those who are dealing with an almost unintelligible injury situation. So, that is to say, if Carson Palmer actually plays, he’s a must start, but with head coach Bruce Arians already saying that the veteran would need a full week of practice this week to suit up, it’s a precarious, Logan Thomas-filled confusion. Still, let us work under the assumption the former Bengal takes the field on Sunday. The Redskins have surrendered the most fantasy points to QBs through five weeks in standard formats at 23.8 – a number made even more disheartening when you consider that they only allowed a combined 25.7 points to Chad Henne and Ryan Fitzpatrick in weeks 1 and 2. More recently they’ve granted 30+ point games to Eli Manning and Russell Wilson, though the latter’s was scrambling dependent. Specific to Palmer, it’s tough to really get a sense of his 2014 campaign as it’s consisted of just a single start, yet his 8.22 yards per attempt would rank behind just Phillip Rivers and Andy Dalton, while the Cardinal’s 0.55 points per dropback would also be Top 10. Plus Arizona loves to air it out. Not only did Palmer throw 16.7% of his passes 20+ yards in Week 1, but his replacement, Drew Stanton, actually leads football with a 25% deep ball attempt rate. With Washington very susceptible to the deep ball (they sit seventh in 20+ yard pass plays allowed and sixth in 40+ yard plays), this would seem to line up perfectly for Palmer, it’s just a matter of health.


On Bye: Pierre Thomas/Khiry Robinson (NO), Jamaal Charles/Knile Davis (KC)

  1. Branden Oliver (SD) @OAK
  2. Andre Williams (NYG) @PHI
  3. Darren McFadden (OAK) vs. SD
  4. Ronnie Hillman (DEN) @NYJ
  5. Darrin Reaves (CAR) @CIN

The trio of Branden Oliver, Andre Williams, and Ronnie Hillman were all thrust into starting roles through injury during Week 5 and while I personally see Hillman has the best overall pickup, it’s the Charger who easily possesses the best match-up in Week 6. Oliver became the first RB this season to rush for over 50 yards against a stout Jets front four, racking up 119 yards on 19 carries while adding four receptions – what was generally regarded as his most valuable asset. Now, I wouldn’t bank on this as a constant, especially with a beat-up San Diego offensive line that currently ranks 31st in run blocking according to DVOA, but with the pathetic Raiders on the schedule, the rookie is lined up for another good showing. Oakland has allowed a stunning 158.2 rushing yards per game through four contests, second to only the Green Bay Packers and while they’ve surrendered the sixth fewest catches to RBs at just 3.8 per game, I’ll lean towards the accuracy and preference of Rivers going against a defensive unit that has allowed the highest completion percentage in the league thus far at 72.4%. I don’t know how good Branden Oliver actually is, but he, like most RBs, is definitely better than Oakland and that’s all you need this weekend.

Wide Receivers

On Bye: Marques Colston/Brandin Cooks (NO), Dwayne Bowe/Donnie Avery (KC)

  1. Justin Hunter (TEN) vs. JAC
  2. Andrew Hawkins (CLE) vs. PIT
  3. Malcolm Floyd (SD) @OAK
  4. Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG) @PHI
  5. Allen Hurns (JAC) @TEN
  6. Mohamed Sanu (CIN) vs. CAR
  7. Riley Cooper (PHI) vs. NYG
  8. Allen Robinson (JAC) @TEN
  9. Hakeem Nicks (IND) @HOU
  10. Greg Jennings (MIN) vs. DET

I’ve finally figured out who Justin Hunter reminds me of: Vincent Jackson. Now, this is both a positive and a negative. Jackson, like Hunter, is obviously a talent. The Buccaneer was a fringe WR1 coming into 2014, but the constant inconsistency is incredibly frustrating. Sound familiar? Through his five games this season, Hunter has caught just 12 of the 30 passes thrown his way – the second lowest catch rate of any receiver with at least 25 targets. A big part of this is the fact that Hunter is tied for the NFL lead with five dropped passes, a distinction he of course shares with one Mr. Jackson. The point is, I don’t expect Hunter to continue to be this ineffective with his opportunities and, as we saw last week against Cleveland, he clearly has huge play potential, something that will very much benefit him against a less than stellar Jacksonville secondary. Not only are the Jaguars giving up the fifth most points to WRs in PPR formats so far this season, but they’ve also surrendered easily the most 20+ yard passing plays at 28 – seven more than the second place Bears. This should music to the ears of Hunter owners with the Titan sitting eighth in the league with 10 20+ yard targets. Regardless of who’s playing QB for Tennessee, feel safe inserting Hunter into your lineup on Sunday.

Defenses/Special Teams

On Bye: New Orleans, Kansas City

  1. Tennessee vs. JAC
  2. Baltimore @TB
  3. Green Bay @MIA
  4. Indianapolis @HOU
  5. Washington @ARI

This is a pretty simple trend to jump on. So far, through five weeks of the 2014 NFL season, if you’ve just streamed the defense of Jacksonville’s opponent – you’ve scored in double-digits. That’s right, the Jaguars are the only team to allow at least 10 points to every DST they’ve faced this year with terrible offensive line play at the heart of the blame. Jacksonville has given up an NFL-worst 21 sacks in five games which is even sad when you discount the outlying ten they surrendered in Week 2 to Washington. The fact that rookie QB Blake Bortles is currently behind center also doesn’t hurt. Even though Bortles does technically poise a higher risk to fantasy defenses than the underwhelming Chad Henne, the abundance of inexperience-driven mistakes levels the field. The third overall selection in this year’s draft has a league-high six interceptions despite the fact he’s attempted a mere 97 passes across his three starts. That’s an INT every 16 dropbacks. That’s not good. Unless you’re starting the Titans at home this week.

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