Bye weeks can be a real headache for a fantasy football owner. This year, there are six bye week land mines to dodge in your weekly lineups and Week 5 is the first. The Browns are one of six teams (along with the Dolphins, Cowboys, Ravens, Rams and Redskins) getting the chance to rest their players this Sunday, but as we all know, there is no rest for fantasy owners. So I'm here to help. Here are some quick pickups to slot and play in a pinch. I'm not going to recommend kickers or defenses, so you'll have to look elsewhere (although if you own the Cowboys and Ravens, may I suggest taking a flier on Cincy's D against JAX).
Alex Smith (vs TB): Smith hasn't been a star this year, but he's a great guy to plug in this week. He just came off a solid game where he threw for almost 300 yards and 2 TDs, and he's going up against an average Tampa Bay defense. Even if he gets you just 250 and a score, that's a solid performance on the level of an average Colt McCoy day anyway.
Matt Hasselbeck (@ PIT): It might be time to start taking Hasselbeck seriously as a Benjamin Button Candidate this year. He has looked good in each and every week, but has his biggest test of the year so far against Pittsburgh on Sunday. Big Ben is iffy, so it wouldn't be a shocker to see the Steelers try to ground and pound Tennessee. The Titans struck early and often against the Browns on Sunday, though, and with Chris Johnson starting to pull it together, Hasselbeck might get a bit of breathing room. Regardless, he should be owned in leagues by now anyway. He's a better second starter than guys like Henne, Dalton, Cutler and Jason Campbell anyway.
Matt Cassel (@ IND): The Colt's passing D is beatable, and Cassel seems to have woken up a bit. This game isn't going to be pretty, but there are points to be had between Cassel and whomever ends up starting for the Colts (Painter is a more recommended waiver pick up than Collins if it is announced he will be starting). He's not going to put up Romo numbers, but he'll give you similar value to a Rex Grossman or Sam Bradford.
Jacoby Jones/Kevin Walter (vs. OAK): A toss-up here, but if you only have one spot, I trust Walter a bit more than Jones. Andre Johnson is hurting, and even though the Texans rode Arian Foster last week, I have to believe Oakland will load the box to make Schaub beat them. There's a TD to be had from one of these two guys this week, and Walter has been a bit more reliable in the past. Check the Texans depth chart throughout the week to get a bit more of a clue.
Brandon LaFell (vs. NO): Cam Newton is a yard machine and New Orleans should double Steve Smith a lot. Drew Brees is unstoppable, and the Panthers running game still hasn't emerged, so I see Newton doing a lot with his wideouts. LaFell is a sneaky play this week.
Antonio Brown (vs. TENN): Deep-league fantasy owners picked up Brown last week or even two weeks ago. His targets are through the roof, and he's really the second option on the Steelers. Obviously it depends on who is going to be throwing him the ball, but he has been gaining a lot of confidence and is clearly ownable, especially in a week where you're out guys like Brandon Marshall, Anquan Boldin, Dez Bryant and Santana Moss.
Isaac Redman (vs. TENN): Wow, I don't know if I'll ever recommend this many Steelers again, so don't get used to it. If Mendenhall is out, Redman is a must-start this week. So go get him, just in case.
Stevan Ridley (vs. NYJ): It's a gamble because there's no telling if Green-Ellis or Woodhead end up being "the" guy again this week over Ridley, but you might need the depth here. Ridley looked great against Oakland and has a lot of upside. And we all know how potent the Patriots offense is.
Bernard Scott (vs. JAX): Is this the week Benson's suspension finally starts? If so, Scott is just as valuable as Redman filling in for Mendenhall. I picked up Scott two weeks ago in three of my leagues, and he will be a good three week start in the meat of the bye weeks, or at the very least, is good trade bait for Benson owners.
Jared Cook (vs. PIT): I had him as one of my sleepers in the Cleveland-Tenn game and he didn't disappoint, although he was really helped by a horrible angle/attempted tackle by Usama Young on his long TD reception. The guy is big, strong and athletic, and a game like last week's should give Hasselbeck more confidence in the young player.
Kevin Boss (@ HOU): Houston doesn't give up a ton to the TE, but Boss looks healthy and had a very productive game a week ago. It's risky, but there are worse plays.
Zach Miller (vs. CIN): Miller was a pretty useful fantasy player with Oakland, but was largely worthless through the first three weeks of this season. Last week, though, he had a bunch of targets and had QB Tavaris Jackson's eye. Call me crazy, but a young QB's best friend is a veteran TE, and I wouldn't be stunned to see Miller get more involved in the offense.