With injuries running rampant throughout the league once again and now as bye weeks have returned (six teams including Denver, Cincinnati and Seattle this week), it’s more important than ever to make the right lineup decisions. The no-brainer decisions go out the window as the bye weeks set in, because for example players like Peyton Manning, Marshawn Lynch, Giovani Bernard and AJ Green are just four players that were probably drafted in your league’s top 20 that aren’t playing this week. So who’s on your bench or the waiver wire that needs to start? Look no further than my top five….

5. DeAngelo Williams

The Panthers backfield is a mess right now, as Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert both face significant time on the sidelines with severe injuries. In steps DeAngelo Williams, who missed last week’s blowout loss to Pittsburgh with a thigh contusion but has returned to practice this week and will get the start this Sunday against the Ravens. Baltimore allowed just under 100 yards to the Cleveland Browns last week on the ground and allowed two rushing TD as well. With Carolina going on the road looking for a win to avoid dropping to .500, look for them to pound the rock early and often and don’t be surprised if DeAngelo breaks a big one off for a TD Sunday.

4. Sammy Watkins

The dynamic rookie from Clemson has had two non descript weeks but in between was a monster performance against the Dolphins where he hauled in eight catches for over 110 yards and a score. I expect a similar output today against a Texans pass defense that allowed Eli Manning to go up and down the field last week against them, as Victor Cruz had his best game in almost a full season if you go back to 2013. Start Sammy Sunday.

3. Chargers D

Have the Bengals or Seahawks or Cardinals defense on a bye? It’s time to give San Diego’s D a look this week at home against the Jaguars. Yes, Jacksonville’s offense moved the ball better with Bortles but they still are devoid of any real gamechangers on offense, and I see them having a rough go of it as they travel all the way across the country. Bortles will have to throw it a lot late which may result in yardage inflation, but count on at least two or three turnovers and maybe a defensive TD. The Chargers make for a great start this week, and they take on the Raiders and the Rams in the next month too. Could be a good hold and stash.

2. Rueben Randle

The Giants have two LSU WR’s on their roster right now actually, but Odell Beckham Jr. can’t stay on the field. He’s been banged up since training camp, and Randle has taken advantage playing second fiddle to Victor Cruz in a passing game that got on track last week. Randle has only 67 yards receiving on the year but I’m putting him on a big game against the Redskins Thursday night. DeAngelo Hall is out of the year and their secondary ranked in the bottom five at the end of last season. The Eagles went up and down the field on them last week and I expect the Giants to do the same in week four. Start Randle as a bye week replacement and reap the benefits.

1. Eddie Lacy

Folks, do NOT give up on Eddie Lacy just because he’s gotten off to a slow start. He faced the Seahawks, the Jets and the Lions, two games of which were on the road. Those three teams boast three of the best run defenses in the entire league. Lacy will continued to be relied upon as they go into Chicago this week and look to even their record to 2-2. Last year, Lacy had 216 yards and two TD’s combined in a pair of games against the Bears. Look for over 100 and a touchdown or two this week to calm the nerves down of everyone that owns him.


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