This is often the most difficult part of the season for fantasy owners. We’ve got super bye weeks where like 19 teams aren’t playing, and injuries are running rampant across the league, so rosters could be stretched a little thin. But don’t worry, help is on the way. There’s no need to start sifting through the dregs of your league’s waiver wire dumpster; here at The Backup Plan, we do all the fantasy dumpster diving for you.
So same deal as usual: these aren’t player you necessarily wanted to start this week, but due to injury, byes or general suckery, you have to. It’s your backup plan. Here’s a rundown of some of the top widely available fill-ins by position and which guys they’ll be better than this week.
Tim Tebow vs. Miami
Yahoo: 52 percent owned, ESPN: 53 percent owned
Have you ever heard the phrase, “The best thing since sliced bread”? That phrase always refers to Tim Tebow. If you combined Joe Montana, Brett Favre and Tom Brady into one quarterback, they would still be slightly worse than Tebow. Ok, maybe not, but Tim Tebow is still a poor man’s Mike Vick, provided that poor man could afford the FAAB bid. This might be a conservative projection, but expect Tebow to throw for 850 yards and rush for 200 more against Miami this week.
Curtis Painter vs. New Orleans
Yahoo: 15 percent owned, ESPN: 6 percent owned
He’s only been the starter for a few weeks now, but it’s pretty safe to say that Painter is already a better quarterback than Peyton Manning. You don’t believe me? Well let me drop a little knowledge: in three starts Painter has averaged nearly 250 yards and… wait, never mind. Painter is still barely talented enough to hold Peyton’s jock, but the Saints’ defense has been an atrocity this season, so he’s a decent fill-in play.
Guys he’s better than this week: Matt Schaub, Josh Freeman
Carson Palmer vs. Kansas City
Yahoo: 35 percent owned, ESPN: 14 percent owned
The Bengals are notorious for having run-ins with the law, so it should be surprise that they robbed the Raiders blind. Unloading Carson Palmer, a player the Bengals didn’t want, for eight first-round picks, partial ownership of the Raider franchise and tickets for the whole Bengals team to go see Moneyball is absolutely stealing. But it’s a move that could be great in fake football. Palmer might start slow with the Raiders, but he’s not the worst play against a soft Kansas City defense.
Guys he’s better than this week: Matt Hasselbeck, Sam Bradford
Jackie Battle vs. Oakland
Yahoo: 33 percent owned, ESPN: 41 percent owned
I attended one of the Raiders’ defensive team meetings this week (no I didn’t), and you wouldn’t some of the plays on words that were being thrown around the room; “We’re about to have a Battle on our hands, and his name is Jackie.” It was awful. Anyway, Oakland’s rush defense is ranked in the bottom-half of the league, so expect Jackie to Battle his way through some Raider defenders this week (zing!).
Guys he’s better than this week: Beanie Wells, Willis McGahee
DeMarco Murray vs. St. Louis
Yahoo: 45 percent owned, ESPN: 38 percent owned
To be honest, there isn’t that much good to say about this situation. Sure, Felix Jones is out, and yes, the Cowboys hate Tashard Choice with the white-hot fire of a thousand suns. But Murray has done nothing at all this season, totaling just 71 yards on 24 rushes. Please, try to contain your excitement. But St. Louis does have one of the worst rush defenses in the league, so hopefully Murray can find a way to get 60+ yards this week.
Guys he’s better than this week: Shonn Greene, Marshawn Lynch
Maurice Morris vs. Atlanta
Yahoo: 25 percent owned, ESPN: 25 percent owned
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your final boarding call; the Mo Mo Express will be leaving the station shortly. Jahvid Best has been advised to sit out the rest of the season because his propensity for concussions, and the Ronnie Brown-Jeorme Harrison trade fell through because, very sadly, doctors found that Harrison had a brain tumor (Get better soon, Jerome). So for the near future, it looks like Morris is your guy in the Detroit backfield.
Greg Little vs. Seattle
Yahoo: 22 percent owned, ESPN: 8 percent owned
After spending the first four weeks thinking Mohamed Massaquoi and Joshua Cribbs were actually better receivers than their 6-foot-2, 220 pound rookie, the Browns finally inserted Little into their starting lineup last week. Big Greg rewarded Cleveland’s faith with six catches for 72 yards on 12 targets on Sunday, and those numbers should continue to increase as his rapport with Colt McCoy develops, especially against a 21st ranked Seattle pass defense.
Guys he’s better than this week: Santonio Holmes, Santana Moss
Steve Breaston vs. Oakland
Yahoo: 25 percent owned, ESPN: 13 percent owned
Who has two thumbs and a somewhat inappropriate last name? Steve Breaston. Who has two thumbs and has also developed some nice chemistry with quarterback Matt Cassel over the past three weeks? Surprisingly, also Steve Breaston. Steve has 50 yards receiving in each of the past three games, including a 91-effort two weeks ago and two touchdowns last week. Oakland has one of the worst pass defenses in the league, so the good times could continue to roll this week.
Nate Burleson vs. Atlanta
Yahoo: 43 percent owned, ESPN: 27 percent owned
If Calvin Johnson is Megatron, then Burleson is Shia LaBeouf; he tries to help and he wants you to like him, but when it’s all said and done, he’s still a horrible actor/receiver who clearly has no business being anywhere near Megan Fox/Calvin Johnson. But Atlanta’s pass defense is so bad that even LaBeouf could have a good fantasy day throwing against them, so Burleson, who racked up 10 targets last week, is a good risk/reward player this week.
Guys he’s better than this week: Torrey Smith, Titus Young
Lance Kendricks vs. Dallas
Yahoo: 12 percent owned, ESPN: 1 percent owned
The Rams recently acquired Brandon Lloyd from the Broncos for $16 and half a candy bar, and while this helps quarterback Sam Bradford immensely, it also offers some assistance to Kendricks. With Lloyd in the fold, defenses will have to focus on him, leaving room underneath for Kendricks to work. The Cowboys are 29th-worst in the league against TEs this year, so Lance is a sneaky value play.
Guys he’s better than this week: Fred Davis, Greg Olsen
Ed Dickson vs. Jacksonville
Yahoo: 19 percent owned, ESPN: 7 percent owned
Was anyone else surprised to learn that there was a person named Ed Dickson playing in the NFL? I’ll be honest; I didn’t know he existed until the Sunday night game vs. the Jets in Week 4. But he’s an intriguing fellow, as he’s had a couple nice games and he’s getting some play in the red zone. The Jaguars (surprisingly) are strong defensively against outside receivers, so Dickson could find some room over the middle this week.
Guys he’s better than this week: Dallas Clark, Kellen Winslow
Notable DSTs on bye: Cincinnati, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York Giants
Cleveland vs. Seattle
Yahoo: 7 percent owned, ESPN: 8 percent owned
Pete Carroll wrote a book titled “Win Forever.” This week, his Seahawks will roll out an offense led by Charlie Whitehurst and Marshawn Lynch. Clearly, Pet Carroll has never read his own book. Whitehurst hasn’t played much in his career, but if his current role as a pro is backing up Tarvaris Jackson in Seattle, his start this week e may force Carroll to pen his new book, “Lose Constantly.” Seattle has a chance to make Cleveland’s defense look very good Sunday.
Defenses they’re better than this week: Chicago, Tennessee
Denver vs. Miami
Yahoo: 20 percent owned, ESPN: 3 percent owned
The Jets defense scored 29 standard fantasy points in their Monday night game against Miami last week, which is seven more points than the Dolphins have scored as a real-life team in the past two games. Yes, the Broncos’ defense sucks more than a $500 Dyson vacuum, but even they could score well against a high school team. And there’s about a 70 percent chance Miami’s Matt Moore is worse than your high school’s quarterback.
Defenses they’re better than this week: New York Jets, Detroit
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