The first bye week is upon us, which means that even more so than usual in this injury-ridden season of ours, we'll need to look deep into our lineups to exploit a few key matchups.
Last week's lessons: 1) DeShaun Watson made me look like a genius again, and hopefully washed away the bad taste left by Jay Cutler the week before. (I'll never stop apologizing for that recommendation. Sorry again, everyone.) 2) Taylor Gabriel isn't going to be a thing, so I'm going to stop trying to make him a thing. And 3) Jared Cook is about as consistent as they come at the tight end position. I almost listed him again this week, but forced myself to go fresh at the position.
With that out of the way, let's get on with the show.
Joe Flacco, BAL (vs. OAK)
This will be a get-right game for Flacco, who has led an obviously frazzled offense into the depths of mediocrity. Joe Cool has looked lukewarm in these first few outings, and he knows it. Flacco flat out told the media he "sucked" following last week's brutal loss to the Steelers, and diagnosed the team's overall lack of confidence as part of the problem. A matchup against a Raiders team that allows the sixth-most points to opposing quarterbacks might be the remedy they need.
Let's also remember that Flacco has faced some pretty stiff defenses so far, including Jacksonville and Pittsburgh. With a soft matchup and a backfield that finally looks solidified, now is the veteran's time to shine.
Duke Johnson Jr., CLE (vs. NYJ)
With every big game, it's getting harder to quantify the Dukester as a sleeper. And yet, so much of the football world is still snoozing on the guy that it feels like a public service to get his name out there once again. The last time he was in this column (Week 3), Johnson put together 104 yards from scrimmage and a TD. Going up against a Jets defense that coughs up big chunks to pass-catchers out of the backfield, DJ Jr. is a safe bet for a similar type of stat line this week. Isaiah Crowell doesn't look like the workhorse he begged to be during the offseason, and unless he can produce early and keep this game close, Johnson will once again be on the field for a majority of snaps.
Torrey Smith, PHI (vs. ARI)
WAIT, DON'T GO! I PROMISE I CAN EXPLAIN! I don't begrudge anyone for wanting to throw their laptop or mobile device at the nearest wall after seeing Torrey Smith's name in a column like this, as the uber-frustrating boom-or-bust player has burned fantasy owners more times than a Samsung phone. But trust me folks, you have to be believers this week.
With Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson shutting down No 1 receivers like his life depends on it -- and with no accompanying threat on the opposite side of the field -- the biggest beneficiary of this week's matchup with Arizona should be Torrey Smith. Peterson will plaster Alshon Jeffery, while Tyrann Mathieu holds down slot duties against Nelson Agholor. That leaves Smith in a great spot to see some extra targets. If he can win his one-on-ones, he could very well see his first (and maybe even second) TD of the season. He's absolutely worth a roll of the dice this week.
Hunter Henry, LAC (vs. NYG)
If it weren't for a spectacular one-handed catch in the end zone that was nearly called an incompletion, Hunter Henry's fantasy owners would be hysterical this week. Despite the expectation he would usurp Antonio Gates as the Chargers' primary tight end once the elder statesman notched his touchdown record, Henry's usage has been questionable at best. But even if he assumes a 50/50 split with Gates, that still leaves plenty of opportunities to do damage against the Giants, who've apparently allocated at least one touchdown per week to opposing tight ends.
Cameron Brate and OJ Howard each found the end zone last week while racking up 143 yards through the middle of the field. The Chargers duo could find themselves in a similar scenario this Sunday.
Make sure to get those lineups set, week 5 starts tonight. Check back with FK often for more of our exclusive content. Be sure to follow us on Twitter as well for more analysis: @_knuckleheads and @JakeTrowbridge.