While the bye week is often the bane of fantasy owner's existence, players and coaches love them. Byes are not going away; they're here to stay. But that doesn't mean you have to let them obliterate your fantasy football season. Here are some ways to handle the bye weeks, both before and during the season:
This might be the best general fantasy advice I was ever given. When selecting a player at a particular position, take the best player at that position, regardless of his bye week. Let's assume you've drafted
This is the corollary of the above rule. Of course, how often do you like two guys equally? But if you really can't decide, make your life easier and avoid a messy bye week situation.
This is really an extension of Tip No. 1. I'm aware that there are exceptions, because leagues come in all different shapes and sizes. The number of teams and variety of roster sizes can fluctuate from league to league. Some leagues restrict the amount and types of add/drops you can make. But the general rule is this: the shallower the league and lower add/drop limit you have, the more you should worry about the bye during the season.
If you're in a 16-team league with little talent on the waiver wire, and you have limited moves, go ahead and worry about it at the draft. Otherwise, you can worry about it during the season. Wait to see how the season plays out in the early going. Maybe by the time your stud's bye week arrives, you've got a five-game lead and can take a chance of having a hole at RB. Maybe your sleeper pick is leading the league in TDs. Maybe that backup you selected is now starting due to the usual injuries. Trying to guess how the season will play out is an exercise in futility. But if you have to make a move, you should be able to do so. You can play the matchup game in any given week. There is always something available on the waiver wire, especially in shallow leagues, and it is usually worth grabbing at least for one week.
Particularly if you're in a league that limits the number of moves, this is just stupid. And didn't you just read Tip No. 2? Why the heck are you drafting two kickers or two defenses anyway? If you're in one of those leagues that requires you to draft multiple defenses, don't pick both defenses with the same bye week! I know this goes against Rule No. 1, but like most things in fantasy football, defenses and kickers should be treated differently than skill players.
Just so you know, in case you are in one of those fantasy owners with limited transactions or in a very deep league, especially if you're planning to allow the bye weeks to affect your drafting strategy.
If you know you're planning to drop your fifth WR to pick up a defense to spot start in two weeks, why wait? Make the move now. Who's going to be more popular -- your fifth WR or a defense during a bye week? Why burn a waiver wire spot (or lose out because of your low spot in the order) or use your extra FAAB money when you don't have to? This is not a case where the second mouse gets the cheese. Be proactive.
A player who has had their bye already is more valuable than one who hasn't. Despite this being quite obvious, it's amazing how often fantasy owners will ignore this fact.
For example, let's assume you have
(This can also be used during the draft if needed)
I've ranked the bye weeks below in descending order based on who are the toughest players to lose that week, along with my rationale for the ranking, followed by suggestions of whom to grab as fill-ins at the "big three" positions.
First, a couple disclaimer notes:
1) The suggestion of a player to grab (either on Draft-mas or that week) is based on a) an attractive matchup, and b) a player who is usually taken between picks number 100 and 200.
For example, let's suppose you drafted Joseph Addai and need a fill-in for Week Four. San Diego has an attractive rushing matchup that week against Oakland. But suggesting that
2) The attractiveness of a matchup is based on last year's numbers for fantasy points against. I looked at the "leaders" (the bottom third) in both rushing fantasy points against as well as passing fantasy points against. Some teams, such as Detroit and St. Louis, appeared on both lists (and you'll see those matchups listed often below). Others, such as Oakland, only had trouble against the rush. Other teams (e.g. Minnesota) were horrible against the pass but were great against the run.
You'll notice that Minnesota is not listed below, because I also made some "subjective adjustments." Some of last year's most torched teams, like the aforementioned Minnesota, with the addition of
3) I apologize in advance for the running back replacement suggestions. But more RBs go in the top 100 than nearly any other position, so I used what I could.
Now that you know how the wires are connected, let's look at how to defuse the bye week bombs.
The absence of the Colts and Pats players this week is huge. This bye week removes both of the top two QBs (Peyton and Brady), two of the top five WRs (Moss and Wayne), plus Addai and Maroney from the active player pool. Add in the inferior Manning (Eli),
The loss of
The most obvious loss this week is LT. But losing Gore and
The week off for the Cowboys is what makes this week tough. But
QB: Clemens/Pennington (NYJ) vs. STL,
It is possible that the loss of the Falcons players will hurt no one. If losing a rookie QB, a timeshare RB and some solid but not spectacular WRs hurts you that much, you've got bigger problems. Just don't ask the
QB: Delhomme (CAR) vs. NO, Schaub (HOU) vs. DET
Some good players will sit out this week too, but the drop-off from
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