Bye week has owners bargain shopping for warm bodies

Week 8 was already going to be serious business. As I mentioned last Friday, fantasy footballers will be without the services of any Colts, Texans, Ravens, Chargers, Bears and Titans. Add it up. This bye week is very impactful.

Because of that impact and the impact of some rather large Week 7 injuries, I’m coming to you on Tuesday rather than our usual Monday. Apologies to those of you who missed me yesterday, but it was very important to gather as much information as I could this week to steer you all in the right direction.

In fact, I’ll spare you the normal anecdote and cut directly to the chase. Here are the players you’ll want to look for to carry you through the toughest bye week of the 2013 season. They aren’t glamorous, but they could very well carry you through this pinch.

* Mike James – This is the most obvious one. With Doug Martin out for a while, if not the entire season, James will slide into the role of RB1 for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has long since cleared its bye, so James could serve as a useful reserve or possibly emerge as a reliable flex play if he shows some skills. He’ll likely be most valuable to you Muscle Hamster owners, but I recommend that anyone in use of running back depth also put in a claim on the rookie from “The U”. The matchup this Thursday versus the Panthers won’t be an easy one, so be patient with the youngster.

* Pierre Thomas – Thomas is probably already owned in your league, but it’s worth a peak just to make sure. The Saints are coming off their bye and owners may have had to purge Thomas to fill a hole. He’s the kind of back who’s rarely valued, but consistently useful in a reserve capacity. If he’s available and you need cover for one or more of the top running backs unavailable this week, go out and get him.

* Chris Ivory – It took seven weeks, but Ivory finally arrived to the Jets running game party. He had 34 carries for over 100 yards in Sunday’s big win against the Patriots and looks to have at least gotten himself involved, if not pushed ahead of Bilal Powell as the NYJ running back du jour. Either way, the former Saint is worth adding this week to see if the momentum carries forward and he rewards you as a nice plug and play at Cincinnati.

* Peyton Hillis – This is the third time this season I’ve written about a player whose career I thought was dead. It worked out well for Philip Rivers, but his career was at least on life support heading into 2013 and it still remains to be seen how things work out for Brandon Jacobs. Peyton Hillis was done when the Buccaneers released him in the preseason. Total flatline. But now he’s been resurrected by Tom Coughlin and the Giants to join Jacobs in what can only be called “The Walking Dead” backfield. Thanks to a balky Jacobs hamstring, Hillis was thrust into action against the Vikings and managed a touchdown to go with 81 total yards. If Jacobs can’t go in Week 8, it’ll be another tasty matchup for the former Madden cover boy as NYG heads to Philly.

* Roy Helu – Shanahanigans. That’s what I’m chalking Helu’s three touchdown performance up to. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has a history of this stuff. Washington starter Alfred Morris was in the midst of a very nice day when Helu came along to steal his glory. Ordinarily, I’d write this off as an anomaly, but this kind of bye week causes owners to have to suspend their disbelief and hope for the best. It won’t take another three TD game to make Helu a solid add.

* Daniel Thomas – If you’re familiar with me, you know I’m not a Thomas fan. At all. He does absolutely nothing that stands out — unless slogging counts — and is clearly less talented than Lamar Miller. But joe Philbin loves him and he kinda sorta got the job done on Sunday against the Bills. Thomas should get another chance to disappoint fantasy owners and Dolphins fans in Week 8 and that could make him ownable as a “beggars can’t be choosy” add for at least this week.

* Darrius Heyward-Bey – DHB has always been a tease. He’s a tremendous athlete who hasn’t been a very good wide receiver. He did manage to flirt with a 1,000 yard season in Oakland with Carson Palmer, but has regressed since then. It’s now or never for Heyward-Bey this time. Future Hall of Famer Reggie Wayne is done for the season and DHB is the next man up. I’m unusually hopeful for him largely because of Andrew Luck. He won’t help in Week 8, but if you wait until next week to add him, he’ll likely be gone.

* Jordan Reed – I was tempted to recommend Reed for two weeks now, but I wasn’t ready to buy into the Redskins throwing enough to the tight end. Now I’m sold. Reed is an exceptional athlete and could be in line to be Robert Griffin’s number two target down the stretch. Sunday’s breakout game against the Bears should be a mere taste of what’s to come.

If you need a QB, look for the usual suspects Andy Dalton, Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Tannehill. On defense, the Steelers and Saints could make for good streaming options.

Follow me on Twitter (@FantasyBuddha) if you have any questions.
Good luck.

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