Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)


Mike Shara

If you’re reading this article, I’m going to assume you’re still alive in your league and are looking to reach the playoffs. Let’s face it, if your team is currently 2-7, you’ve given up and are already planning for your fantasy baseball draft in late March. You’re the guy still starting Odell Beckham Jr. and Ty’son Williams and you’ve had at least one empty spot on your roster the last three weeks because of byes. We know who you are.

For the rest of you still in contention, here are some players that might help you make it through bye week madness.

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ALEX COLLINS, RB – Seattle – 42% rostered on Yahoo, $5,200 on DraftKings DFS

The Seahawks are coming off of a bye this week, and though they are expecting star quarterback Russell Wilson to return from a finger injury, they will still need to control the time of possession against a Packers offense that will be raring to go. Starting RB Chris Carson’s neck injury is still keeping him out of the lineup and Collins has been seeing plenty of action already this season. There is also a decent chance that Wilson’s return would diversify Seattle’s offensive attack enough to give him more room to maneuver and keep Green Bay’s defense from crowding the box against him like teams could when Geno Smith was Seattle’s starting QB.

TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, QB – Denver26% rostered on Yahoo, $5,500 on DraftKings DFS.
This is almost a must-play in DFS. His price is so reasonable this week – around the same price as Mac Jones or Taylor Heinicke and neither of those two guys gets the pleasure of facing the Eagles’ pass defense this week. Teddy is starting to play really well in his first season in Denver, developing a strong rapport with receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick and absolutely eviscerating a good Dallas defense in Arlington on Sunday. This week he’s at home in Mile High and the Broncos will face a Philadelphia defense that has allowed opposing QBs to complete at least 80% of their passes five times in the last seven games. This is the definition of a DFS bargain.

D’ERNEST JOHNSON, RB – Cleveland – 41% rostered on Yahoo, $4,700 on DraftKings DFS
Last week was his first as the Browns’ true backup RB and now Nick Chubb has tested positive for Covid-19. Kareem Hunt is still out with an injury, so all of the sudden Johnson becomes almost a must-play in fantasy. He’s not going to retain his value the rest of the way, but this week is a unique confluence of circumstances. He’s going to have a full week of practice and will face a New England defense that is middle-of-the pack. N.B. – Chubb is vaccinated, so there’s a chance he could still return by the weekend. Pay attention to the updates as the weekend approaches, but grab Johnson now if he’s available on the waiver wire. You can always dump him again if Chubb is active, but it could be a bye week golden nugget.

ZACH PASCAL, WR – Indianapolis – 5% rostered on Yahoo, $4,500 on DraftKings DFS
He’s been targeted at least 6 times in each of the last three games. T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell have both really struggled with injuries and it would appear that Pascal is slowly becoming the beneficiary of their absences. This week the Colts are at home to face a wretched Jacksonville defense that is still ranked right near the NFL’s bottom vs. the pass despite a good game last weekend against Buffalo. Indy QB Carson Wentz is questionable this weekend, so make sure he’s healthy and starting before you start Pascal in your lineup. 

CAROLINA – DST – 39% rostered on Yahoo, $2,400 on DraftKings DFS
This week the Panthers are cheap on DFS for a good reason – they’re on the road and they’re playing a very potent Cardinals offense. However, Carolina’s struggles this season have generally been more on the offensive side of the ball than on defense. In fact, they’ve scored at least 7 points on DST in Yahoo in four of the last five weeks and are second overall in passing yards allowed.  Arizona’s offense is among the NFL’s Top Ten this season, but quarterback Kyler Murray and wideout DeAndre Hopkins were injured last weekend and could be a little rusty this weekend in their return. It’s far from a sure thing, but hey that’s why they call it gambling, right?

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