This is a particularly tough bye week. The Colts, Texans, Lions and Jets all have key fantasy football contributors who will be missing from lineups this week. Injuries and under-performance have also taken their toll on rosters. Need a little help producing a competitive team in Week 7?
Here are some players that should step in and help you this week—perhaps for the remainder of the season. Tier 1 are the guys you should target first—guys who should fill a key role in fantasy football this week. Tier 2 digs a little deeper with players who are due for a big game or who are expected to contribute as a temporary starter. Tier 3 is for the really deep fantasy leagues—guys who you could pick up now and stash on your roster.
Patrick Crayton WR (SDC)- The Chargers may have the NFL's No.1 ranked offense, but they are hurting now. Antonio Gates is a game time decision. Starting wide receivers Malcolm Floyd and Legedu Naanee will miss this game. Stepping in as the Chargers top receiving threat this week is Patrick Crayton, who quietly had a six catch, 117-yard performance last week. In Week 7, the Chargers face the NFL's 30th ranked defense—the New England Patriots. Crayton should be the focal point in a high scoring game.
Matt Hasselbeck QB (SEA)- If you need a fill in QB for Week 7, look no further than Matt Hasselbeck. The addition of Marshawn Lynch should open things up for the Seahawks, who are now in position to challenge for the weak NFC West Division title. Hasselbeck is becoming more comfortable and familiar with his new cast of skill-positioned players and gets to face the Arizona Cardinals 26th ranked pass defense this week in Seattle. The Seahawks are very tough to beat at home and should be in for a victory.
Denario Alexander WR (STL)- Alexander defies NFL logic. He was un-drafted out of Missouri, despite putting up huge numbers. He's huge, 6' 4” and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. When Mark Clayton was lost for the season, the Rams activated Alexander off their practice squad, and in an unprecedented move, signed him to a four-year deal. He delivered immediately, catching 4-of-5 targets, for 72 yards and a touchdown. He should be starting for the Rams for the remainder of the year.
Anthony Gonzalez WR (IND)- The Colts are on bye, so Gonzalez isn't going to help you this week. But Dallas Clark is going to miss the remainder of the year, and Austin Collie, who leads the Colts in touchdowns, could miss a month or more. Gonzalez will be back, and healthy following Indy's bye. He will start in the slot for the Colts. If the Colts weren't on bye, Gonzalez would be ranked the No. 1 “must pick-up” in every fantasy league. Grab him and look forward to using him next week and for the next several games. He's capable of some very good WR2 numbers down the stretch.
Jason Avant WR (PHI)- The vicious shot that DeSean Jackson took Sunday ensures that he will miss this game—perhaps more with a concussion. Jason Avant will start in his place. He will move up from the Eagles third receiver role and start opposite Jeremy Maclin. Avant is not the speedy downfield threat that Jackson is. His size could warrant some end zone fade and slant opportunities.
Marshawn Lynch RB (SEA)- Lynch was traded to the Seahawks during their bye week. Perhaps no one in your league noticed, and he's still a free agent. Lynch will split some time with Justin Forsett, but he was brought in to be the featured back. He will certainly play near the goal line, and is a proven reliable receiving threat.
LeGarrette Blount RB (TBB)- The Bucs have made it clear that they are ready to move on from Cadillac Williams and his 2.5 YPC. Preseason star Kareem Huggins was injured last week and is out for the year. Earnest Graham, who was shifted to fullback and has been seeing some goal line work, is also hurt. Blount has an excellent opportunity to step in and win himself an expanded role. The key to his potential playing time might be his ability to quickly learn to protect the quarterback.
Fred Davis TE (WAS)- All indications are that Chris Cooley will be fine. But often concussion injuries are difficult to recover from. At the very least, the Redskins are more likely to be cautious with Cooley, perhaps giving Davis a few more plays. The Redskins play the Bears this week. Chicago has had some difficulty covering good tight ends this year.
Damian Williams WR (TEN)- Kenny Britt is on fire right now, scoring in four straight games. Apparently he went out celebrating on Friday night and was involved in an altercation. It's possible that the Titans could discipline Britt for this, as he was held out of practice on Friday. With Justin Gage still hurt, Williams could see an increase in targets if Britt misses any time.