- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Full disclosure: I'm not a big fan of bye weeks during the NFL season. But they are here to stay, and fantasy owners have to deal with them. However, while the theory behind the week off is that it is unilaterally good for the players, I wouldn't go quite that far in all cases. Read on.
Three players who really need the bye week
Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota Vikings: If there's an offense that could use an extra week to figure some things out, it's the Vikings', specifically Favre and the passing game. One can only imagine the aches and pains Favre's 40-year-old body is dealing with right now, so that's one obvious angle to the time off. But I'm also focusing on the game plan, too. As in, it has to get better. Favre has fewer fantasy points this season than 29 quarterbacks, including Charlie Batch. But I wouldn't drop him. Let's see what the week off does to make things better.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys: Witten is dealing with a sprained MCL, so it's likely he would have missed the Week 4 game anyway. He says he will play in Week 5, and based on how he has overcome injuries in the past -- he hasn't missed a game since 2003 -- I'd tend to believe him. He has been outscored in fantasy by 23 other tight ends and, of course, he's starting to get dropped, probably in part because he won't add any points this weekend. But that's a mistake; he remains a top-10 tight end.
Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The guy has a broken thumb and still totaled 35 fantasy points the first two weeks, with four touchdown passes and just one interception. Predictably, things didn't go as well in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I'd say Freeman could use the healing time and eventually, when he's not facing the league's top defense, could become starter-worthy in deep leagues. I'd at least like to see what strides he takes with two healthy thumbs.
Three players for whom the bye week might not be welcomed
Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs: We know the Chiefs will be undefeated entering Week 5 -- maybe the Steelers and Chicago Bears will join them -- but their quarterback comes off his first strong statistical performance, posting 20 of his 29 fantasy points this season, so for his owners the momentum is broken by the bye week. It's clear now the Chiefs are going to be a two-tandem running outfit with both Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, so Cassel's upside in this offense might be similar, statistically, to the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez. We'll learn much more about Cassel with post-bye road games at Indianapolis and Houston.
Roy E. Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Coming off his best game with the Cowboys, with 117 receiving yards and two touchdowns, what Williams' statistics do not need is for hotshot rookie Dez Bryant to get healthy, which he should with the week off. Williams is a No. 3 wide receiver -- although probably the fourth weapon for Tony Romo, really, adding in Witten -- and I look at his Week 3 outing as aberrant. Bryant has a stress fracture in his ribs, and with his talent, I'd buy low on him.
Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: He's not running well at all and it shows, so it might seem like this older fellow could use the time off. However, the team appears to be grooming rookie LeGarrette Blount for a significant role -- bypassing Kareem Huggins, incidentally -- so I could also argue Blount could, with the aid of this bye week to prepare him, become a fantasy factor in Week 5.
Eric Karabell looks at three players who benefit from the timing of their Week 4 bye, and three players who could lose momentum because of it.