Bye Week Bargains

The NFL designed bye weeks as an opportunity for players to rest and for coaching staffs to regroup. The bye week is also a tool fantasy owners can use to sharpen their rosters.

Fantasy owners get numb whenever there is inactivity, and so sometimes the best time to make a pitch for an under-performing (or injured) player who is prime for an explosion is when those factors are coupled with his bye week.

This week there are two tight ends that fit into this category …

Consider the case of Dallas tight end Jason Witten. Against Houston, Witten sprained his right MCL, leaving his fantasy owners in doubt about the rest of his season. And through three games Witten has already been a disappointment; he has just 134 yards and has yet to score a touchdown. With Dallas headed for its bye week, many of Witten’s owners would likely be open to the idea of dealing him for less than what the asking price would have been prior to the start of the season.

Yet early reports suggest Witten’s knee is not expected to keep him out of action, and he remains a solid value for fantasy owners in PPR leagues, mostly because he is so consistent: he has caught five or more passes in 20 of his last 24 outings (in the other four games he had four catches three times and three catches once). For those lacking an “elite” tight end, Witten might be the only such player available on the trading block – and surprisingly, for a minimal investment.

Another player to target this week might be Minnesota tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who has just 11 catches and missed time this past weekend with a bad hamstring. But like Witten, Shiancoe’s injury is not considered serious, and his fantasy numbers should improve once the team sees steadier production from the wide receiver position. Thanks to a little extra work for Brett Favre and his wideouts during the bye week, Shiancoe could experience his surge sooner than later.

Wide receiver Hines Ward is a name to target heading into Pittsburgh’s Week 5 bye.

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