Skip to main content
Original Issue

Good Byes

Owners shouldn't lose any sleep over idle starters. There's a chance for improvement in those off weeks

Bye weeks can wreak havoc on a lineup, but they can also present huge opportunities. Opponents have most likely been hoarding running backs and receivers, and those players will be hitting the waiver wire as owners scramble to fill their bye-week holes. This is also a perfect time to upgrade your defense, kicker or even quarterback. Here are players who would make good adds—and a couple worth dropping.

• Ryan Torain, RB, Redskins

A Mike Shanahan favorite from their days together in Denver, Torain is the latest runner to emerge in relief of the fragile Clinton Portis, who has been slowed by a groin injury. Although Torain carried the ball only 18 times for 70 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, he has become an integral part of the Redskins' attack, enabling Washington to jettison Larry Johnson, Willie Parker and Keiland Williams. Torain's knowledge of Shanahan's system ensures he'll see ample action, even when splitting carries with a healthy Portis, as he did last week in Philadelphia.

• Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets

It's starting to come together for Sanchez, who's had the handcuffs removed by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. It helps that he has a resurgent LaDainian Tomlinson in the backfield and the emerging Dustin Keller at tight end, enabling him to average two touchdown tosses a game. What makes Sanchez even more attractive as a fantasy starter is the return of his best receiver, Santonio Holmes, from a four-game suspension. Along with Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery, Sanchez will have three true scoring threats on the outside.

• Tony Moeaki, TE, Chiefs

Athletic, acrobatic and big (6'3", 252 pounds), the rookie from Iowa has become Matt Cassel's favorite target, leading Kansas City in catches (12), yards (123) and TDs (two). He's currently owned in less than 10% of all leagues, but his anonymity won't last long. He's an ideal bye-week pickup and a possible starter by season's end.

• Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals

Fitzgerald stands among the league's premier talents, but Arizona's passing game has taken a nosedive without Kurt Warner. Derek Anderson won the preseason QB battle with Matt Leinart, but he hasn't been good, and now undrafted free agent Max Hall is running the show. Cut your losses by trading Fitzgerald as soon as you can. It only gets worse from here.

• Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers

Jackson was expected to take over when Ryan Grant went on injured reserve, but he has just 137 yards on 45 carries (3.0-yard average), 50 yards on eight catches (6.3 per catch) and one touchdown. Now he's sharing time with fullback John Kuhn. Jackson could even lose snaps to former Falcons practice-squad player Dimitri Nance. Until he shows some productivity, he shouldn't be a fantasy starter.

Now on

Get more fantasy tips from Maurice Jones-Drew every Friday at


Ready To Roll

If someone in your league doesn't already own him, now is the time to go after Ben Roethlisberger. He was reinstated on Monday and has the benefit of a bye week to get his rhythm and timing back. He should be good to go right out of the gate.

In Cincinnati, Terrell Owens had a great week with 10 catches for 222 yards and a touchdown, but he and Chad Ochocinco are both great targets, and it's hard to tell from week to week who's going to be the stud. Some games it will be T.O., some it will be Ochocinco, and sometimes they'll split the load, meaning the decision to play either of those guys is a bit of a guessing game.

LaDainian Tomlinson has looked great for the Jets, but Shonn Greene broke out this week with 117 yards, and I expect him to pick up steam as the season continues.



'SKIN DEPTH Torain (46) should assume an even bigger role in Washington's running game with Portis ailing.