Best fantasy bye-week subs

Bernard Pierce is a good pick for a fantasy running back, especially in Week 4. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

In the whirlwind of a fantasy football draft, it's easy to lose track of the bigger picture and focus only on the pick at hand. In a rush to accumulate the best players available, not only can owners end up with an imbalanced roster but they can also completely ignore bye weeks. This can lead to a near-forfeiture of a week if too many quality players are off at the same time. Or, almost as bad, you're left roaming the waiver wire for scraps to replace your benched talent. Instead, a little advance planning -- and some help from our projections -- can optimize your lineup even when it's at its weakest.

Below, we've highlighted some of the best players available during every bye week in the 2013 NFL season. These are players who don't figure to be fantasy starters for most leagues but will provide maximum value in a substitute role. Be sure to check out the tables at the end for additional recommendations at each offensive position for each week.

Week 4: Bernard Pierce vs. Buffalo Bills

In 2012, the Bills ranked second in fantasy points given up to running backs. They also had a nasty habit of giving up big games to the second running back in a committee. The biggest game was in Week 4, when Brandon Bolden of the Patriots had 137 yards and a touchdown against the Bills. With Bolden out in Week 10, it was Danny Woodhead instead, and he had a combined 61 rushing and receiving yards with two touchdowns. The Bills also gave up 73 yards to Lamar Miller in Week 16 and 56 yards to Bilal Powell in Week 17.