Fantasy Doctor: bye week bonanza

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  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during a warmups prior to preseason action against the Carolina Panthers on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS)

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By Joey Figueroa

As hard as it is to believe, we’re already three weeks into the NFL season. I guess time goes by pretty fast when you’re having fun, which explains my long, painful weekend during which my fantasy teams went a combined 1-2.

There were plenty of big performances in Week 3, and I was the lucky victim of many of them. A.J. Green, Keenan Allen, Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson combined for eight touchdowns and about a million yards to destroy one of my teams, while I also had the pleasure of matching up against Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in each of my other leagues. 

But instead of dwelling in the past, let’s look ahead to Week 4.

Bye weeks are now a factor, which means at least one person in any given league will start a player who will be rocking pajamas and slippers instead of a uniform and cleats this Sunday. Let’s try to avoid that. 

The Patriots and Titans are the first squads with a week off and each has a plethora of top contributors that will leave holes in a bunch of rosters. Replacements are out there, though, so don’t freak out yet.

Quarterback: Tom Brady and Marcus Mariota have both been lights out so far, so finding the right QB on waivers to come close to that usual 20-plus points will be crucial. The top target for Brady-Mariota owners should undoubtedly be Tyrod Taylor. He’s still available in about 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues and has a date with the league-worst Giants secondary this Sunday. The Buffalo play-caller is fresh off a 21-for-29, three touchdown massacre of a respectable Miami defense. Even if you don’t have a QB on bye this week you should pick this dude up.

Other options are Derek Carr against the consistently terrible Bears, Joe Flacco as he tries for his third-straight 350-yard game and Ryan Fitzpatrick matching up with the vulnerable Dolphins.

Running back: While Bishop Sankey is off to another ineffective start in Tennessee, Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount have been touchdown machines thus far for the high-scoring Pats offense. It’s tough to replace backs who are guaranteed a few goal-line carries per game, but let’s try.

Again we go to Buffalo for another underrated option in the form of rookie Karlos Williams. He has scored in all three games thus far and will see even more carries with LeSean McCoy limited. He just lit up the Dolphins for 110 yards on 12 carries and is still available in about 70 percent of leagues. For some reason, Atlanta’s workhorse Devonta Freeman is also available in about 40 percent of leagues, so nab him if you can, too. 

Wide receiver: Julian Edelman, the NFL leader in targets, will surely leave a huge hole in PPR lineups, and Tennessee’s go-to guy Kendall Wright will also be missed. Rookie standout Richard Matthews has seen his targets increase each week in Miami and is still widely available. After Matthews, the well of wideout streaming options is desert dry. Top options for the most desperate owners are Allen Hurns, Michael Crabtree, Cecil Shorts, more so in PPR, and Doug Baldwin.

Tight End: The 6-foot-6, 265-pound, pigskin-annihilating gorilla in the room is obviously Rob Gronkowski. Gronk owners will see a huge drop off in TE production, but minimizing the loss is key. The top alternatives come in the forms of Eric Ebron and Charles Clay, both of which are widely available. The former has at least four catches in each game this season and was held scoreless for the first time on Sunday, while the latter has scored in two consecutive contests and will face the weak Giants defense on Sunday. Hopefully Gronk can make it through his day off without spiking something or someone. 

Defense of the week: The Colts allowed 33 points to the Titans this past week but came through with three sacks, two picks and a touchdown in the process. They face a much softer Jacksonville offense this Sunday.

Joey is a senior in Media.
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@JoeyFigueroa3