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A Head Start on Week 4: The First Bye Week

Published on September 22, 2012, by in NFL.

We may be jumping the gun but there’s no reason to wait until the waiver wire to shore up some line-up holes coming in week 4, the first bye week of the season.

Two teams are off for the week; the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers. There are several players listed here that you’ll likely need to find substitutes for on your roster. In case your bench isn’t particularly appealing, we offer some suggestions on players to consider for replacements.

Though you may not have been starting Andrew Luck (43 Completions, 533 Yards, 3 TDs, 3 INT) at the start of the season, after seeing his big week 2 win you might be considering doing so in week 5 and on. As usual, Ben Roethlisberger (46 Completions, 520 Yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) continues to produce at a consistently high level. Replacing either of these guys won’t be easy, but in case you haven’t shored up a back-up QB on your bench, there should still be options for you in the free agent market.

Josh Freeman (TB) vs. Washington Redskins – Could require Freeman’s arm to keep up with Griffin’s scoring ability
Christian Ponder (Min) @ Detroit Lions – Has played extremely well so far in the first 2 weeks
Matt Cassel (KC) vs. San Diego Chargers – KC trails early and often, requiring a lot of throwing from Cassel
Sam Bradford (StL) vs. Seattle Seahawks – Tough match-up but memories of his sophomore year seem to be behind him

Unfortunately for any owners with WRs on these teams, finding substitutes for week 4 will be tough – especially in PPR leagues, where Reggie Wayne (15 Rec, 206 Yards, 1 TD), Antonio Brown (11 Rec, 153 Yards, 0 TD), and Mike Wallace (9 Rec, 111 Yards, 2 TDs) are must-starts. After a huge coming-out game in Week 2, Donnie Avery (12 Rec, 148 Yards, 1 TD) will hope that he can continue the surge in spite of the break between weeks 3 and 5. The good news is, he’s likely only a waiver pick-up for you, so you should still be with your draftees.

Brandon Tate (Cin) @ Jacksonville Jaguars – It’s a bit crowded at WR, but Tate has a role to play
James Jones (GB) vs. New Orleans Saints – Who shows up, the misroute runner or the big play maker?
Brandon Gibson (StL) vs. Seattle Seahawks – Turns very limited targets into big results

Neither the Colts nor the Steelers are making waves with their respective ground games so it’s unlikely that you’ll be hurting at the RB position this week. Donald Brown (25 Attempts, 93 Yards, 3.7 YPC, 1 TD) isn’t the first choice of the pass-heavy Colts and the split-carries for Jonathan Dwyer (21 Attempts, 71 Yards, 3.4 YPC, 0 TD) and Isaac Redman (23 Attempts, 45 Yards, 2.0 YPC, 1 TD) make the RBs in Pittsburgh last-resort options. Either way, if you’re looking to get a few extra points from your RB3 or Flex position, here are a few players to consider.

Shaun Draughn (KC) vs. San Diego Chargers – Makes the most out of limited touches (he’s even outperforming Jamaal Charles at this point)
Felix Jones (Dal) vs. Chicago Bears – Can make plays, consistency is the issue (also behind Murray)
Kendall Hunter (SF) @ New York Jets – Not on the field often but can make decent kick returns
Jackie Battle (SD) @ Kansas City Chiefs – Any set-back to Mathews’ return should give Battle play time
Jacquizz Rodgers (Atl) vs. Carolina Panthers – Turner hasn’t been producing, time for a change?

With over 23 different Tight Ends scoring touchdowns in September so far, you shouldn’t be hurting for choices going into week 4. Coby Fleener (8 Rec, 98 Yards, 0 TD) is not likely to be your starting TE and despite his scoring potential, Heath Miller (7 Rec, 69 Yards, 2 TDs) isn’t the best option out there either. TEs that can produce for you in week 4 (or perhaps even longer) are still widely available.

Scott Chandler (Buf) vs. New England Patriots – Has a knack for finding the end zone
Kyle Rudolph (Min) @ Detroit Lions – Gets decent targets and yards in PPR
Kellen Winslow (NE) @ Buffalo Bills – Allows NE to continue their Two-TE sets
Brandon Myers (Oak) @ Denver Broncos – Who’d have thought Myers would be leading the team in receiving yards?

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