Heading into last Thursday’s game, it was hard not to feel good about my tight end matchup when I saw Larry Donnell in my opponent’s lineup. After all, I had the option of Vernon Davis or Antonio Gates, while he was forced to sit Julius Thomas due to the bye week.
Enter Matt Asiata.
When he plunged across the goal line for the third time Sunday, the tide had turned and my decision to draft Marshawn Lynch and Giovani Bernard back-to-back didn’t cost me a Week 4 victory as expected.
Indeed, unlikely heroes tend to emerge in the bye weeks. Not that the Donnells and Asiatas of the world don’t explode at other times; but those episodes are often wasted on your bench. When six teams are idle, the fantasy backups get their turn in the spotlight. Some come through at just the right time.
Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Lamar Miller, Terrance Williams and Heath Miller likewise had nice star turns in Week 4 when their bye-challenged owners needed them most.
Now if we could just figure out what’s up with LeSean McCoy.
FREE AGENT PICKS AND PANS
To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.
Catch ‘em while you can
Mike Vick, QB, Jets. Not surprisingly, the Bronx cheers have already begun from Jets fans, and it seems inevitable that Vick will soon get his chance under center. Geno Smith received his coaches’ dreaded vote of confidence; but the truth is, he’s just not getting the job done. Vick would be a significant upgrade.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings. Asiata is a grinder and TD beast, but his rookie backup has some serious hops. McKinnon, the Vikings’ third-round draft pick, was both elusive and explosive in Sunday’s victory and has likely earned more playing time. He’s worth stashing away in case this becomes a full-fledged Smash & Dash backfield.
Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals. He was a popular sleeper pick before breaking his foot in training camp. Coming off a season in which he snared 10 touchdown receptions, Jones has proven he can flourish opposite A.J. Green. He could be back on the field as soon as this weekend.
Larry Donnell, TE, Giants. Talk about a breakout game! Donnell’s TD trifecta on Thursday night served notice that he is a legitimate weapon and red-zone favorite of Eli Manning.
Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins. Here’s another guy with huge upside nearing his return to action. Reed (hamstring) could be back in the lineup as soon as Week 5, and he’s available in nearly half of all leagues.
Don’t be fooled
Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins. If I made the mistake of drafting Miller, I’d be looking to deal him now, after the first multi-touchdown game of his career. Oakland’s pathetic defense made Miller look like a star, but he’s not. And Knowshon Moreno should be back soon from his elbow injury.
Darrin Reaves, RB, Panthers. Now that DeAngelo Williams is likely to miss at least a week with an ankle injury, the undrafted rookie is the next man up in Carolina’s backfield. Sorry, but the Panthers’ running game isn’t attractive enough to go four deep. I’ll pass on Reaves, and suggest you do, too.