Sneaky fantasy pickups entering Week 4

Updated: September 30, 2011, 2:34 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

A panicked friend of mine called me the other day asking for quarterback help. In general, I don't buy that any quarterback situation in a standard league can be too dire at this point, since it's Week 4 and there's just so much depth out there. I mean, Jason Campbell is a terrific play this week. He's readily available. So are Chad Henne, Kyle Orton and Matt Hasselbeck. Anyway, Michael Vick owners have to know they need a backup, Peyton Manning owners have moved on. Then there are the leagues that require two active quarterbacks. Hmm, not so easy!

Things can certainly change there a bit, especially since this is the last week before byes begin, and these aren't normal bye weeks pending: From Weeks 5 through 8, six teams per week will be off. In Week 5, it's not a star-studded group of sitting signal-callers (Tony Romo and Joe Flacco are it), and the following week is just as lame (only Philip Rivers), but check out Week 7, with Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Vick off. I always ensure in a draft that my backup quarterback has a different bye week than the starter, but not everyone does.

So my friend drafted Peyton Manning -- of course he did -- and has scuffled to replace him, since Kerry Collins has been awful and his other choices of Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Whitehurst and Tim Tebow haven't worked out. When I looked at free agency in his league, Curtis Painter truly was the best option. He was the only starting quarterback left! I realize some of you play in really deep leagues (16 teams or more) or in formats that require multiple starting quarterbacks or the ability to use a quarterback in an open or flex spot. Painter is a starting quarterback this week. Wow, am I really going to recommend Curtis Painter in this week's sneaky pickup blog?