It’s here... the “Bye-pocalypse”.
After getting our first taste of bye weeks in Week 6, the week fantasy managers dreaded when filling out their rosters over the summer has now arrived. While eight of the nine bye weeks this year feature just two or four teams sidelined, Week 7 features six teams out. And there are not just any teams, they are teams loaded with high powered offenses and fantasy studs.
So, while you will be without any players on the Bills, Cowboys, Chargers, Jaguars, Vikings, or Steelers this week, let’s find out how to best replace them.
The Tonyan tank... Through six games, Tonyan ranks second in targets and third in routes run out of all Green Bay pass catchers. Good news right? Think again. Despite the high ranks, Tonyan’s production has fallen off a cliff as Rodgers’ leans on other Packers’ pass-catchers - mainly Davante Adams. Adams himself has more receptions than the Packers’ next best five receivers and tight ends, as he is commanding the majority of Rodgers’ attention (as he should). Tonyan has gone over 10 yards just once this year, making him a drop worthy candidate as long as Adams remains healthy.
Snatch up Claypool... We mentioned last week that the Juju Smith-Schuster injury would benefit Claypool owners, but the receiver responded with just 3.7 fantasy points Sunday night. Now on a Week 7 bye, it is the perfect opportunity for managers to scoop the receiver up for cheap. Despite the poor performance, Claypool still saw six targets and again operated as the Steelers No. 2 receiver in two receiver sets. Claypool has been able to produce when all of Pittsburgh’s receivers were healthy, so better days should absolutely be ahead as the team’s no-doubt No. 2 - especially as he uses the Week 7 bye to recover from a hamstring issue.
T.Y. returns... After starting the year on injured reserve, Hilton returned Sunday and led the Colts in both receptions (4) and receiving yards (80). Despite only playing 24 snaps and rotating with Parris Campbell, Hilton led the team in targets and was a main focus of Carson Wentz. With Campbell now dealing with a significant foot injury, Hilton could be back as the lead dog in Indianapolis’ arial attack.
Pittman takes back seat... With Hilton’s return, Michael Pittman’s stock took a small hit. Despite still leading the team in snaps (46) and routes run (23), Pittman’s three targets and two receptions were both season lows. He’ll still play a role in the Colts’ offense, but his early season production will likely decline with T.Y. back in action.
Dealing Dalton... Dalton Schultz has been a strong find for fantasy managers who missed out on the top tier tight ends in the draft, but his streak of strong production may be coming to an end. While he still dominated Blake Jarwin in terms of snaps and routes run, Schultz finished fifth on the team in targets. With Michael Gallup now set to return after Dallas’ Week 7 bye, Schultz’s snaps and routes run will likely take a hit. If you can sell him high and upgrade the position, it may be worth doing so now.
Add Ricky Seals-Jones... Speaking of tight ends, Seals-Jones needs to be added and potentially inserted into lineups. Continuing to fill in for the injured Logan Thomas, Seals-Jones played 100% of Washington’s offensive snaps, finished with the second-most receiving yards (58), and also scored the team’s only touchdown. He has become a favorite target for Taylor Heinicke and is a worthwhile streaming option at the position.
Bateman makes debut... The highly anticipated Rashod Bateman debut finally came this week as the Ravens’ rookie receiver was activated off the IR. The first-round pick didn't explode off the stat sheet Sunday, but did play a prominent role in Baltimore’s offense. Bateman was featured as the team’s No. 2 receiver, earning a 22.2 percent target share despite Lamar Jackson throwing the ball only 27 times. Bateman’s speed and route running skills were certainly on display and the rookie’s upside is off the charts, making him a must add.
Plenty of Penny... With Chris Carson on injured reserve with a neck issue, Alex Collins took over the Seattle backfield Sunday night, rumbling for 101 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. However, Collins left the game with an injury, opening the door for Rashaad Penny’s potential return. Penny - who won the backup job in training camp - is expected to be activated off the injured reserve and he’ll operate as the main back if Collins is sidelined. All of Seattle’s backs should be rostered until the situation clarifies.
Cleveland Browns’ ball carriers... We got a mess on our hands. With Nick Chubb now ruled out for Thursday and Kareem Hunt landing on IR, the Browns backfield will fall into the hands of D’Ernest Johnson and Demetric Felton. Johnson impressed when replacing Chubb last year and will be a popular waiver wire addition this week. He could be in for a challenging Thursday night against the Denver defense however. Felton on the other hand will see a small uptick in work in the passing game, but shouldn't be trusted as anything more as a RB3.
Kadarious and Sterling... Danny Dimes has found his go-to guys. As Shepard returned to the field in Week 6, he was peppered with a team-high 14 targets. Shepard also led New York in snaps and routes runs while hauling in 10 receptions. He’s a weekly must-start. As for the rookie, Toney picked up right where he left off last week hauling in three catches on just four routes run before leaving after reaggravating his ankle injury. Even when Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton return, Toney and Shepard appear to be the top two fantasy options moving forward.
That is all for this week’s recap. Leave a comment below or reach out on Twitter @iambrianhines if you have any questions about your fantasy team!