As we descend upon the last bye week of the season, many fantasy football players have stepped up and established themselves as contributors while others have fallen behind. In a week where studs like Phillip Rivers, Darren McFadden and Greg Jennings will take a timely breather, finding players to step in will prove to be tough. A new name and two blasts from the past find their way into the column this week. Jacob Tamme has transformed into Dallas Clark lite in Indianapolis while Bernard Berrian and Nate Burleson have both risen from the land of the dead back to relevance.
Teams on a bye in Week 6: Green Bay, Oakland, New Orleans and San Diego
Key Player On A Bye: Antonio Gates (SD)
Suitable Replacement: Jacob Tamme (IND)
With an additional week at his disposal to rest an ailing foot injury, Antionio Gates will be looking to bounce back strong. For this week though, he will have to be replaced. Jacob Tamme appears ready to handle those duties. With Dallas Clark suffering a season ending injury, Peyton Manning has wasted no time in getting acquainted with his replacement.
As we learned last year with his WR, Manning throws often and always finds time to get his weapons involved. In terms of fantasy production, Tamme has been quite reliable these last few weeks, finding the end zone twice already. Since he figures to be an integral part of the offense from here on out, Tamme should be owned and started with extreme confidence.
Key Player On A Bye: Greg Jennings (GB)
Suitable Replacement: Nate Burleson (DET)
Greg Jennings has been far from consistent this season, but playing in the prolific Green Bay offense has afforded him plenty of chances to put up points. He will assuredly be difficult to find a substitute for. Nate Burleson is an interesting case because there is some doubt that his quarterback Matthew Stafford will even play this coming week, but he deserves some attention regardless. With Megatron continuing to draw double teams on the other side of the field, Burleson has been able to rack up 14 catches in the last two weeks with a touchdown thrown in for added value. The Lions will face a Buffalo defense that is respectable against the pass, but opportunities should still be plentiful.
Key Player On A Bye: Darren McFadden (OAK)
Suitable Replacement: Ronnie Brown (MIA)
After spending his first two unimpressive years in Oakland failing to live up to his draft hype, Darren McFadden has emerged. He is finally proving to be the workhorse-back many thought he would and will almost certainly leave a gaping hole in fantasy lineups this week. Ronnie Brown is an intriguing name to keep an eye on in week 10. Ricky Williams was all but forgotten in the Dolphins game plan against the Ravens, which leaves Ronnie Brown with some surprising value in an offense that runs primarily off its passing attack. While he isn’t guaranteed to get all the touches next week against the Titans, Ronnie Brown should still see enough of the field to warrant a start in all fantasy formats.
Key Player On A Bye: Marques Colston (NO)
Suitable Replacement: Bernard Berrian (MIN)
Being Drew Brees' No.1 option is never a bad spot to slide into and Colston has done everything he can with it once again this season. Brees has been more erratic than in years past, but Colston is still getting his and therefore won’t be easy to replace in your fantasy lineups. Most folks would have assumed Bernard Berrian had retired from the league after not seeing him do anything over the first eight weeks of the season. With Randy Moss gone and learning his third playbook this year already, Berrian has assumed the role of deep threat until Sidney Rice returns. A quick look at the schedule shows that Berrian has a date with his former team this week and there is no doubt he is going to want to put on a show. Grab him and hope for some fireworks.