Official team photos of Khiry Robinson vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, October 5, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert. (New Orleans Saints photos)
*The 2014 Fantasy Football campaign is entering Week 6, and Jake Ciely of RotoExperts.com will be providing exclusive fantasy coverage for NewOrleansSaints.com all season. Jake will give you the expert deal on Saints players from fantasy perspectives with his in-depth game previews. This week, however, Jake tells you how to effectively replace key Saints during their bye. *
With the New Orleans Saints on a bye, fans have a week to sit back and relish in the thrilling victory over the Buccaneers. The Saints can now focus on getting primed for an important Week 7 game in Detroit. Meanwhile, we will outline how to fill in for your top New Orleans players in Week 6.
If you've built solid depth via your draft and/or during the first few weeks, you can likely plug-and-place your fill-ins. However, if like many owners, the bye week means you have to hit the waiver wire. As a Drew Brees or Jimmy Graham owner, you don't need more than a one-week replacement. If you're looking at running back or receiver, you should find someone with more long-term upside, as that player could have future lineup or trade value.
At quarterback, subbing for Brees starts with one of the hottest offenses in the league: the Giants. Both Eli Manning and the pass-catchers have clicked over the last three games, and now the Giants head to Philly, where the defense has been great at getting turnovers but still gives up a decent amount of points. In NFL.com leagues, Manning has 65.06 Fantasy Points (FP) over the last three games with eight passing touchdowns, a rushing score and just one turnover. Manning's ownership is still just 42.6 percent. Austin Davis has been great for the Rams and fantasy owners, but be careful, as he faces his toughest matchup to date with the 49ers on tap. Instead, look for Ryan Tannehill, who is available in 48.7 percent of leagues. Tannehill headed into the bye with a 20.62-point performance and will have to throw plenty in a matchup with the Packers.
This week presents the highest amount of running back options. Due to injuries and team changes, Andre Williams, Branden Oliver, Ronnie Hillman, C.J. Anderson and Benny Cunningham are all worth a look, and none has an ownership percentage over 37.7. And actually, outside of Williams, not one is over 1.4 percent.
Williams is the top grab, as he has true RB2 value the next two weeks. Williams is a hard runner, and both the Eagles and Cowboys present opportunities for Williams to have good games. Oliver looked amazing last week and has people calling him the "new Darren Sproles." With a Raiders matchup this week, Oliver has RB2 value as well. Hillman looks to get the first crack at the Broncos backfield. However, it's going to be a risky situation as Anderson and Juwan Thompson could both be in the mix, giving us a committee backfield. Cunningham is seeing more touches once again, and he's worth a flier. After those waiver options, if Justin Forsett happens to still be out there (just 57.1 percent owned), he is the top option on the list.
At receiver, two youngsters made some noise with Justin Hunter and Odell Beckham having nice games which included touchdowns. As seen with his long touchdown catch-and-run, Hunter brings plenty of upside given his big-play ability. Beckham was one of the most talented receivers in the draft, and in his first action he was able to find the end zone. Beckham made some nice catches and gives the Giants a lethal weapon in their base three-receiver set. Both Hunter and Beckham are WR3/4 options with upside for more. Hunter is owned in 46.8 percent of leagues, while Beckham is only at 3.0 percent. Somehow, Brian Quick is available in 74.6 percent of NFL.com leagues, and that needs to change. Even with a tough matchup, Quick is the clear No. 1 option in St. Louis and is locked in to WR3 value weekly, which makes him the top add both for this week and the season. Malcom Floyd is another receiver whose ownership should be much higher (6.6). Floyd ranks 32nd through five games and has a favorable matchup with the Raiders. Floyd would be second only behind Quick if available in your league.
Tight end is thinner than running back and receiver, but there are still quality options out there. With Owen Daniels and Heath Miller having ownership percentages under 23 percent, you have your top two Graham fill-ins readily available. Daniels faces the Bucs and Miller heads to Cleveland. Neither matchup is one that should keep Daniels and Miller from having TE1 potential. If both are unavailable, Jordan Reed looks likely to return and was dropped in enough leagues to be available in 38.9 percent of them. Dwayne Allen (31.1) and Charles Clay (61.7) are other solid options, where you hope for a touchdown with Allen and that Clay will catch several passes.
Cody Parkey is the top scoring kicker, yet is still available in 55.7 percent of NFL.com leagues. Dan Carpenter proved he can nail the big kicks yet again with a 58-yard game winner last week. He's the third best kicker so far but only owned in 21.5 percent of leagues. For defenses, the Chargers have been a good fill-in for owners the past two weeks, and they will make it three in a row with the Raiders matchup on hand. The Ravens DST has 18 FP over the last two games and gets the Bucs this week. The Packers quietly have the sixth-best DST and are available in 81.5 percent of leagues, but should see that number change given their matchup with the Dolphins.