Thanksgiving Touchdowns: Players We’re Most Thankful for on Fantasy Bye Weeks

Thanksgiving Touchdowns: Players We’re Most Thankful for on Fantasy Bye Weeks

Since the recent Thanksgiving holiday has us still in a thankful mood, let's take a moment to thank the players that have helped get our fantasy football teams through bye weeks and identify some of the potential bye week heroes who could emerge moving forward. Fantasy managers had to scramble for bye week replacements in six of the past eight weeks, and eight of the 32 NFL teams will be on bye between Weeks 13 and 14. All fantasy point totals below are based on standard Yahoo 0.5 PPR scoring. 

QBs To Be Thankful For

Joshua Dobbs, Vikings: Dobbs has been tremendous for fantasy managers who scooped him up after his move to Minnesota, perhaps with an eye on replacing one of star QBs Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa, all of whom were on bye in Week 10. Dobbs came off the bench in Week 9 and thus wasn't in many lineups, but he delivered 25.1 and 17.9 fantasy points in Weeks 10 and 11, respectively, and his 8.5-point Week 12 dud against the Bears came with no other QBs on bye. He had at least one passing TD and one rushing TD in each of his first three games with the Vikings before failing to post a rushing score against Chicago. Dobbs will be among the dual-threat QBs on bye in Week 13, alongside Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Justin Fields, but he could be an option in Week 14 against the Raiders while Kyler Murray and Sam Howell are on bye.

Gardner Minshew, Colts: Those in need of bye week QB replacements in Weeks 6 and 7 may have benefited from some Minshew magic, as he threw for over 300 yards in both of those games and erupted for a season-high 28.1 fantasy points in Week 7 against the Browns. Anthony Richardson's (shoulder) replacement has since cooled down, but Minshew's name is one to file away if you're going to be among the numerous managers in search of a Week 13 fill-in under center. Minshew should have a high floor against the Titans, who have allowed 12 passing TDs while notching a league-low three interceptions. 

RBs To Be Thankful For

Devin Singletary, Texans: Singletary was widely available at the onset of bye weeks, as many managers who drafted him lost patience after Houston's slow start on the ground. With fellow Texans RB Dameon Pierce battling an ankle injury heading into Week 9, Singletary emerged as a sensible bye week plug-in. He disappointed with just 3.6 fantasy points that week, but those who stuck with Singletary in Weeks 10 and 11 were rewarded with 22.6 and 18.8 fantasy points in a pair of weeks with four teams on bye. Even with Pierce available again, Singletary should make for a solid play in bye-heavy Week 13, when he takes on a Denver defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to RBs. 

D'Onta Foreman, Bears: Like Singletary, Foreman capitalized on injuries in his team's backfield. After Khalil Herbert (ankle) and Roschon Johnson (concussion) both got hurt in Week 5, Foreman started in Weeks 6 through 11. Foreman's fantasy managers were most thankful for him in Week 7 (31.5 fantasy points) and Week 10 (16.2 fantasy points). His Week 7 breakout was especially timely with six teams on bye. The injury winds are blowing the opposite direction now with Foreman battling an ankle injury while Herbert and Johnson are healthy, but with a chance to heal up during Chicago's Week 13 bye, perhaps Foreman can provide a spark down the stretch. 

Keaton Mitchell, Ravens: Mitchell broke out with 19.9 fantasy points in Week 9, and the electric rookie provided a solid 13.1 fantasy points in Week 10 and 9.9 in Week 12. His speed should earn Mitchell a permanent role in Baltimore's high-octane offense moving forward. The Ravens will be among the six teams on bye in Week 13, but if you're going to be in the market for a Week 14 replacement for James Conner or Brian Robinson, keep Mitchell in mind, especially since the high volume of Week 13 byes could lead to some managers dropping Mitchell for help that week.  

WRs To Be Thankful For

Tank Dell and Noah Brown, Texans: Texans fans are certainly thankful for rookie QB C.J. Stroud, who has quickly blossomed into a superstar and dragged some previously overlooked receivers into fantasy relevance with him. Nico Collins was already heavily rostered to begin the season, but those who pounced on Dell and Brown have also benefited from Stroud's recent prolific passing performances. If you plugged Dell in for Week 9, you've had no reason to take him out since, as the rookie has 82.1 fantasy points over his last four games. Brown had 24.3 fantasy points in Week 9 and 20.7 in Week 10 before sitting out Weeks 11 and 12 with a knee injury. 

Josh Downs, Colts: Downs' breakout coincided with the beginning of bye weeks in Week 5. The rookie WR had 12.7 fantasy points in Week 5, 10.6 in Week 6, and 21.0 in Week 7. Even without any byes in Week 8, the red-hot Downs probably earned himself a lineup spot for plenty of managers and came through with a solid 10.7 fantasy points. He cooled off in Weeks 9 and 10 before the Colts' own bye in Week 11, but Downs had a career-high 13 targets in Week 12 and has a favorable matchup against the Titans in Week 13. 

Demario Douglas, Patriots: Douglas hasn't been nearly as prolific as Dell or Downs, but New England's rookie provided a high floor for fantasy managers who needed substitutes in Weeks 7, 9 and 10, as Douglas had at least 8.0 fantasy points in each of those games. It's been an ugly season for New England's offense, but Douglas has played a prominent role since fellow WR Kendrick Bourne's season-ending knee injury. If he can recover from the head injury he suffered in Week 12, Douglas should be a strong plug-and-play option in Week 13, when the Patriots host the porous Chargers secondary while six teams are on bye. Should Douglas sit, perhaps teammates DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster or Tyquan Thornton can turn into Week 13 bye week heroes.

TEs To Be Thankful For

Trey McBride, Cardinals: McBride was pretty quiet until Zach Ertz (quadriceps) got injured in Week 7, but Arizona's 2022 second-round draft pick has been tremendous since climbing to the top of the depth chart. Few fantasy managers benefited from McBride's 20.5 fantasy points in Week 8, as nobody was on bye and he was an unproven starter facing the stingy Baltimore defense, but McBride has certainly been in the mix as either a bye week fill-in or outright starter at the low-scoring tight end position since. He scored just 3.7 fantasy points in Week 9 but bounced back with 17.1 in Week 10, 6.8 in Week 11, and 9.5 in Week 12. McBride's Week 10 outing against Atlanta was also noteworthy for being the first 100-yard performance by an Arizona tight end in 34 years. With the 2-10 Cardinals playing for the future, McBride — who turned 24 the day before Thanksgiving — should continue to play a prominent role even if the 33-year-old Ertz returns from injured reserve.

Jake Ferguson, Cowboys: Ferguson should be thankful that the Cowboys had their bye on the early side in Week 7, as Dallas seems to have made a concerted effort to feature the second-year TE more ever since. Through six games, Ferguson had just 21 catches for 190 yards and one TD. In five games post-bye, Ferguson has 19 catches for 231 yards and three TDs. Fantasy managers who astutely added Ferguson after he scored 12.7 fantasy points in Week 8 benefited from his 18.6 and 10.6 fantasy points in Weeks 9 and 10, each of which had four teams on bye. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
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