The beginning of bye week season in fantasy football means the separation of the legitimate teams and the teams that have gotten by largely on luck thus far. Your fantasy team can't survive bye weeks without depth so it is of vital importance to be scouting the waiver wire for the next six weeks and ensure your team will have enough firepower on the bench to cover for when your starter's have to sit the bench.
GOOD MATCH UPS
Mark Ingram vs. Panthers defense: Ingram has started much slower than many had expected coming into this season but he is getting opportunities. Assuming that Ingram will again get the majority of carries out of the New Orleans backfield, this week may be the one where he breaks out as the Carolina Panthers have allowed opponents to run for almost 144 yards per game through their first four games. Ingram is a solid flex play this week.
Santonio Holmes vs. Patriots defense: The Jets offense in general has been rough to watch this season and Santonio Holmes in particular has been a disappointment to fantasy owners thus far. The New England pass defense will be a welcome sign for Holmes and the Jets passing game this week as the Patriots have allowed teams to have their way with them through the air this season. New England has allowed an NFL-worst 369 yards passing through the air per game this season so look for Holmes to have his best game of the season to date.
NOT SO GOOD MATCH UPS
Rashard Mendenhall vs. Titans defense: Mendenhall has gotten off to a rough start this season and his opponent this week isn't likely to help him turn that around. The Titans rank eighth in the league in run defense so I wouldn't expect Mendenhall and his 3.0 yards per carry to get many fantasy points this week.
Kyle Orton vs. Chargers defense: The Chargers have been very good against the pass to this point in the season, allowing opponents just 196 yards per game through the air. That's not good news for Kyle Orton, who has struggled through his first four games of 2011. Orton may be an option to start for some fantasy owners with bye weeks beginning this week but I would look elsewhere if you need a quarterback this week.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts: The Colts offense showed signs of life with Curtis Painter under center last week against Tampa Bay and Garcon benefited in a big way. He's worth picking up in deeper leagues as your third or fourth wide out, especially with bye weeks underway.
Teams on bye this week: Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, Washington.
Kyle Mulligan is a contributing sports writer for the Observer. He welcomes your feedback and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.