Our Big Guy informs you who to BUY for those BYE weeks in your draft! Ron Rigney tells you the quarterbacks to draft to replace your QB1 when he’s on a bye week! Follow him @therealmaday!
Top 36 on bye: Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas, Emanuel Sanders, Michael Thomas, Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder
Week 5 Target: Cole Beasley vs. Green Bay
In 2016 the Packers were bad against the pass in real life, and they also allowed a truckload of points to the wide receiver position. They allowed the second most passing yards per game (269.2), and also the second most yards allowed for the season to wideouts (3017). In addition to those totals, the Pack gave up the third most plays of 20+ yards (58). While Beasley came in our final Consistency rankings at 33rd last season, and coming up with seven clutch games, none of those came at home against a bad defense. I look for that to change in Week 5. The Packers did little to address their secondary, and with Zeke Elliott out for the first six games, the Cowboys will need all the help they can get to replace that production. Short passes to Beasley are a way to do that. Depending on the size of your league, Beasley is a guy you may be able to pluck off waivers after your draft. Nice value here!
Week 5 Target: Kenny Stills vs. Tennessee
Stills is not a guy I am targeting in my drafts, however, this matchup at home against the Titans is juicy for a few reasons. Tennessee allowed the most receptions to wide receivers in 2016 (243), and the most yards (3053) to the position as well. Jonathan Cyprien and Logan Ryan were brought in to address the secondary, and while they will help, I am not sure if they can fix all of the issues in the back third of the Titans defense. One thing Stills can do is catch the deep ball. In 2016, he had four catches of 40 yards or more, and it just so happens the Titans allowed 12 of those on the season. Of his 10 Clutch games in 2016, Stills recorded three of them at home against bad defenses, and was able to sneak into our Consistency top 30 by the end of the season as he finished 29th. While I feel it is going to be difficult for him to repeat his number of Clutch games, as well as finish in the Consistency top 30, he is a player that is a perfect streaming option against bad defenses, and this matchup suits him well.
Top 36 on bye: A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Doug Baldwin
Week 6 Target: Stefon Diggs vs. Packers
Let’s pick on the Packers, again shall we? I look for Green Bay’s secondary to be bad again this year, and I look for Diggs to exploit that in Week 6. The Pack was near the bottom in just about every important pass defense category, both in real life, and in fantasy. Little was done to address it, and it is a matchup I am going to exploit all season. Diggs’ 2016 season was a disappointment, as many thought he would be Sam Bradford’s favorite target, yet Adam Thielen took over that role. Diggs collected seven Clutch games in 2016, and three of those came against bad defenses. He currently sits as our WR 45, and will get to play against this Packer secondary twice in 2017, and should be in your lineup in both games.
Week 6 Target: Eric Decker vs. Indianapolis
While the Colts’ addressed the secondary in the first two rounds of the draft, rookies are inconsistent (the Consistency Guide says so!). While Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson are a nice beginning to a young foundation on defense, it will be a season of ups and downs for the youngsters. The Colts allowed wideouts to catch 213 balls for 2678 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2016. In 2015, Decker was as consistent as they come, racking up 15 Clutch games. 2016 was a lost season due to injury, however, Decker recorded two Clutch games in three games played, a nice percentage, albeit a small sample size. Over the past three seasons, Decker has an 83% Clutch Rating at home against bad defenses. While I think the Colts are headed in the right direction, 2016 will be full of ups and downs. I look for this to be a long day for the Indy defense as Marcus Mariota is a year older, and has more weapons. Start Decker and reap the benefits.
Top 36 on bye: DeAndre Hopkins, Golden Tate
Week 7 Target: Kenny Britt vs. Tennessee
With this being a light week for byes, I’m taking a bit or a flyer. Barring injury, hopefully your wideouts will be solid for this week. Britt is now a Cleveland Brown, and we know the QB situation is shaky at best. However, he was able to rank 26th in Consistency at the end of 2016 with Jared Goff tossing the rock, so there is some potential here. At the end of last season, Britt was able to record 10 Clutch Games, three coming against bad defenses. Although the Browns will be better on defense, they will still allow some yards. The Titans offense is going to be able to score, so this could open up more chances in the passing game for Britt. The Titans defense allowed the third most passing yards per game in the league in 2016 (269.2), the most receptions to the wide receiver position (243), and the second most fantasy points to the position as well. If you do need to pop somebody into your starting lineup, Britt is a nice option for Week 7.
Top 36 on bye: Larry Fitzgerald, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall
Week 8 Target: Zay Jones vs. Oakland
Boy, it begins to get dicey at wideout in Week 8 with a bunch of top options getting the week off. This spot was originally saved for Anquan Boldin, but he decided to retire about two hours after I wrote this. Insert Zay Jones. I like this rookie. I like him even more that he has Sammy Watkins and Boldin gone. At this point he is just a Jordan Matthews injury away from being the lead dog. As always, he is a rookie, so do not expect him to be ultra-consistent. I do like him in this matchup against a bad Raiders secondary. The Raiders did little to improve a secondary that allowed the 10th most yards to wideouts in 2016 (2702). In real life, they allowed 7.9 average yards per attempt to opposing offenses, which was third worst in the league.
Week 8 Target: John Ross vs. Indianapolis
As I have said before, I like the foundation the Colts are building on defense. However, counting on rookies in the secondary could cost them often in 2016, as they learn the ropes of the NFL game. We all know John Ross is a burner, and I think the conditions are such that he will harass the Colts secondary. Based on our Consistency system, the Colts would rank as an average defense, but just barely. Their 2678 yards allowed to wideouts ranked them 12th worst in the league. Indy also allowed 55 plays of 20+ yards in the passing game in 2016, and this is where I think Ross can hurt their defense. The scouting report verifies the vertical threat he is, but his route running needs some work. Therefore, I do not think he will be a Consistent option in his rookie season, due to that, and him being a first-year player, however, he can be a useful option during bye weeks.
Top 36 on bye: Keenan Allen, Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant
Week 9 Target: Jeremy Maclin at Tennessee
While I am not a huge Jeremy Maclin fan, I do have a soft spot for him, as he helped me to a championship a few years ago. That said, I am separating my warm, fuzzy feelings, and giving you him as a solid bye week plug. While his consistency numbers have steadily declined, I feel the catch volume can be there since Mike Wallace’s game is vertical. Over the past two seasons, Maclin has tallied two Clutch Games on the road against bad defenses. I am also not a huge Joe Flacco fan, but I feel he will be able to get the ball to Maclin a little better than Alex Smith was able to. The Titans defense allowed the third most passing yards per game in the league in 2016 (269.2), the most receptions to the wide receiver position (243), and the second most fantasy points to the position as well.
Week 9 Target: Kenny Golloday at Green Bay
Yet another rookie on this list. However, this rookie is a big boy. Golloday goes 6’4” 218 lbs., and makes for a big red zone target for Matthew Stafford. The youngster has shown out so far in the pre-season, and I think he will terrorize the Green Bay secondary as well. The Pack gave up the second most yards to wide receivers in 2016 (3017), the most touchdowns (26), and the most fantasy points (462.40). Green Bay made very few changes to make the secondary better, so they will still be a nice matchup for opposing pass offenses. Golloday obviously does not have any Consistency data yet, but do not expect him to be wildly consistent. Golloday also has to share the ball with the likes of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Theo Riddick and Eric Ebron, but can still be a nice play in weeks you need a wideout.
Top 36 on bye: Tyreek Hill, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Alshon Jeffery
Week 10 Target: Kenny Stills at Carolina
Stills can catch the deep ball. In 2016, he had four catches of 40 yards or more, and it just so happens the Panthers allowed 11 of those on the season. Of his 10 Clutch games in 2016, Stills recorded three of them against bad defenses, and was able to sneak into our Consistency top 30 by the end of the season as he finished 29th. While I feel it is going to be difficult for him to repeat his number of Clutch games, as well as finish in the Consistency top 30, he is a player that is a perfect streaming option against bad defenses, and this matchup suits him well. The Panthers allowed 2903 yards to wide receivers, as well as 17 touchdowns and 230 catches to the position. Jay Cutler being the starter does not concern me in this matchup at all.
Top 36 on bye: Kelvin Benjamin, T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Pierre Garcon, Mike Evans
Week 11 Target: Cole Beasley vs. Eagles
Beasley was our 33rd most consistent wide receiver in 2016, and did some of his best work on the road against bad defenses as three of his seven Clutch Games came against them. The Eagles lost some parts off of an already bad secondary, and replaced them mostly with rookies. The club did bring in Ronald Darby from Buffalo in a recent trade, but I am not sure that is enough to fill the holes. Philly allowed the third most points to wideouts in 2016 (3001), along with 200 catches and 18 touchdowns, as well as the third most fantasy points to the position. With Dez Bryant’s recent issues with injuries, Beasley could become valuable much sooner than this week, but Week 11 sets up nicely for him.
Week 11 Target: Dede Westbrook vs. Browns
Much like the aforementioned Kenny Golloday, Dede Westbrook has looked sharp this preseason. I look for him to be a big part of the offense, no matter who is throwing the football in Jacksonville this season. Once again, being a rookie, he has no Consistency data, and more than likely will be more inconsistent than most, due to the QB situation, but hopefully that will be sorted out by Week 11. I still like him to be a solid matchup play. Cleveland will be better on defense, but the secondary still figures to be weak. The Browns gave up 249.8 yards per game in the air, which technically puts them in the average defensive category. Despite being labeled average in our formula, the team allowed 53 completions of 20+ yards, along with eight going for 40+, and allowing overall a 7.3 average per catch. I think there are numbers to be had here, and Westbrook will be a nice option if you are missing someone in the final bye week of the year.