Now that the first quarter of the NFL regular season is in the books, fantasy owners are truly entering the meat of the fantasy football campaign. Most owners have a pretty good feel for their rosters at this point, and with four teams on the bye each week for the foreseeable future, lineup decisions will become more complicated moving forward.
With that in mind, there are more starter-worthy options in play this week as several regulars won't be available. Some fantasy owners might panic without their stars and essentially concede defeat, but there are plenty of players either on the waiver wire or deep on your bench who can conceivably come up big this weekend.
Here are three specific under-the-radar fantasy commodities to get in your lineup in Week 5 provided byes and injuries have left you looking for answers.
Brian Hoyer, QB, Cleveland Browns
When the Cleveland Browns traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts and turned to Brian Hoyer at quarterback a couple weeks ago, it was supposed to signal the beginning of the end to their season.
That hasn't been the case, though, as the Browns have won consecutive games since Hoyer took the reins under center. Perhaps it's premature to label Hoyer as the real deal or flash in the pan after just two starts, but he has clearly developed a nice rapport with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron in the passing game, and head coach Rob Chudzinski has been very happy with him, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
#Browns coach Rob Chudzinski on Brian Hoyer: "Certainly he’s been the spark that I had hoped for. He’s led us to winning two games.”— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 29, 2013
With 295 passing yards per game and five total touchdowns to his credit, though, Hoyer has been a fantasy force over the past two weeks.
He happens to have an intriguing matchup this week too as the Browns will host the upstart Buffalo Bills on Thursday night. Although the Bills picked off Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco five times on Sunday, he still ended up with 347 yards and two touchdowns, so it's very possible to throw on Buffalo.
The big issue for Buffalo is that a myriad of key defensive backs are currently ailing. According to the team's injury report, cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Ron Brooks did not practice on Monday, while safeties Jairus Byrd and Aaron Williams as well as corner Leodis McKelvin were limited participants.
The Bills were able to overcome those injuries in Week 4, but a repeat performance is unlikely. Look for Hoyer to continue his impressive run against a banged-up Buffalo secondary.
Week 5 Fantasy Projection: 287 passing yards and two touchdowns
Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis Rams
St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson was a popular fantasy sleeper heading into the season, but he has yet to wake up and produce through the season's first month. Not only has Richardson failed to reach the end zone, but he also hasn't broken 63 yards rushing in a single game.
Richardson did miss one game due to injury, but it isn't as though he has been effective otherwise. The running back was at least passable in point-per-reception leagues in Weeks 1 and 2, but he has done nothing since.
Richardson was especially bad in Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers as he rushed 12 times for 16 yards and caught one pass for eight yards.
While it's easy to blame Richardson after Steven Jackson got the job done for so many years in St. Louis, the offensive line was atrocious against the Niners. Running lanes were few and far between, and the Rams had to abandon the run earlier than they would have liked once San Francisco took control of the game.
As difficult as it was to run on the 49ers, it should be exponentially easier to do so against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5. The Jags are the worst in the league against the run, allowing over 164 yards per game.
If Richardson is ever going to get up to speed, it has to be on Sunday. The Rams figure to give him every opportunity to break out of his slump, and he'll do it.
Week 5 Fantasy Projection: 92 rushing yards, four receptions for 31 yards and one touchdown
Brandon Myers, TE, New York Giants
It's no secret that the 0-4 New York Giants are an absolute mess. The G-Men have been left for dead before only to come back better than ever, though, which means they are far from out of it. In fact, the Giants are just two games out in the NFC East, and they could pull to within one game of the Dallas Cowboys if Dallas is unable to beat the Denver Broncos this week.
Which under-the-radar fantasy option will have the best Week 5 performance?
With that incentive being dangled in front of them, the Giants should be up for a bounce-back performance in Week 5.
They'll host a divisional rival in the 1-3 Philadelphia Eagles, and it promises to be a shootout since neither defense can make a stop currently. Quarterback Eli Manning has been very hit and miss for the Giants this season, as have his weapons.
Aside from wide receiver Victor Cruz, it's tough to predict who will be a useful fantasy commodity on a weekly basis. Tight end Brandon Myers certainly hasn't been over the past two weeks, but expect that to change this weekend.
After opening the season with 13 catches in the first two games, Myers has just three over the past two. Myers was inconsistent with the Oakland Raiders last season as well, so his issues aren't necessarily shocking.
The Eagles are second-worst in the league against the pass and are allowing 325 yards per game. Also, since they figure to focus on Cruz, there should be plenty of room for Myers to operate.
Myers was a great safety valve for Eli over the season's first two weeks, and he'll return to that role on Sunday.
Week 5 Fantasy Projection: Seven receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown
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