I had a terrible week seven after topping 100 points in each of the first six weeks. My trades for Maurice Jones Drew and Emmanuel Sanders didn't help matters, reminding me that sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make. We get one great fantasy team (New Orleans) back this weekend and one not so great (Oakland). Week eight brings the largest numbers of teams on bye so far this season with six taking the week off. Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego and Tennessee with a bye this week, obviously effecting fantasy lineups in a big way. The Thursday night game this week features the Tampa Bay Bucaneers hosting the Carolina Panthers.
Finally, the dreaded bye weeks are behind us. It's time for the home stretch and in week 12, fantasy owners applaud the return of Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Chris Johnson and Ahmad Bradshaw. Tight end's returning from bye include Kyle Rudolph, Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. While the bye weeks are behind us, keep an eye on multiple Thursday games, Saturday games coming soon and the usual Sunday and Monday prime time action.
Running backs continue to be a disappointing source of passing targets with only Darren McFadden and Darren Sproles averaging more than five per game. Fantasy rosters will be re-populated by the likes of Steven Jackson and Frank Gore this week with Trent Richardson and Albert Morris coming up on their bye week. Tight ends coming off bye include fantasy superstar Rob Gronkowski and Fred Davis among others, with underachieving Jermichael Finley along with his counterparts at Arizona, Cleveland and Washington enjoying a week ten bye. Don't forget Thursday night Colts and Jaguars when submitting lineups.
No position is as negatively effected by off-week's as that of running back. It's not even close. There are plenty of quarterbacks and pass catchers around to fill a bye week hole for a week. Matt Forte and Maurice Jones-Drew owners, I feel your pain. You don't know how much they mean to you, until they're gone. Those owners throwing darts with Carolina and New Orleans backfields, might have even found a more reliable option this past week. Week seven is the busiest bye week of the season and plenty of 'hurtin to go around. Michael Turner, Willis McGahee, Jammal Charles, Reggie Bush and all-world backs Ryan Matthews and LeSean McCoy will leave gaping holes in fantasy lineups this weekend.
Is Demarco Murray on your fantasy squad? How about Darren McFadden or Doug Martin? They, along with Mikel Leshoure return from by this weekend. With Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay completing their bye weeks, Carolina, Chicago Jacksonville and New Orleans take their turn this week. Take proper precautions if you have Matt Forte, Maurice Jones- Drew or running backs in Carolina or New Orleans.
With the exception of the usual suspects like Darren Sproles, it appears that running back targets are down this season. We find only 18 running backs league wide with double figure targets through three weeks of play. Further to the drop off, only Sproles and Darren McFadden have been targeted more than 19 times this season out of the backfield. With running back by committee now virtually league wide, it becomes increasingly important to get the few backs that are part of their teams passing game. The league's best pass catching backs top the "fallers" list in week three, further representing the drop off we are seeing. Perhaps the looks are going to the tight ends as we have seen some solid options emerge in September. With teams using tight ends in the backfield as "H-backs" on passing downs, this could contribute towards the numbers we are seeing.
With the dreaded running back by committee plauging the NFL, fantasy owners need to find added value at the position. Receiving yards and touchdowns is an obvious option and futher to that, the number of times a player is targeted by his teams quarterback. The NFL is a copy cat league and more and more teams are going to the double tight end formation to try and duplicate the great success in New England at the position.