How To Manage The NFL Bye Weeks
We’ve just crossed the one-third mark of the NFL season, and if you include this Sunday’s games, we’ll have already seen six teams complete their bye week. Over the next three weeks, 14 more teams will have the weekend off as well.
While this is obviously a critical time for NFL players to get the much needed rest and recovery they usually don’t get to enjoy during the grind of the regular season, their ‘absences’ during a given weekend leaves fantasy football players in a bit of a lurch, as their respective teams will be shorthanded without the services of those players.
So how do you, as a fantasy football General Manager, prepare for bye weeks? Here are a few of our favorite strategies:
Build With The Bye In Mind: This might be a really obvious strategy, but it’s one that tends to get overlooked by fantasy football GM’s.
We know that the first few rounds of your draft are where you find the “studs” in which your team is built upon. But if you’re fortunate to land one of those cornerstone players that singlehandedly carry your team to wins, you need to ensure that you’ve got someone capable in place who’ll actually be available when your stud is on the bye week.
For example: let’s say you have David Johnson and/or Saquon Barkley as one of your top running backs. When you look for someone who could replace those guys when they go on their bye week (in Week 9), you’ll want to avoid adding a running back from the Philadelphia Eagles or Indianapolis Colts, since those two teams are also on their bye week in Week 9.
While this strategy might seem more geared to your initial fantasy football draft, it’s something you want to keep in mind for waiver wire acquisitions as well.
Think Depth, Not Handcuffs: One of the great fallacies of fantasy football is the idea of drafting “handcuff” players; this is especially the case at the running back position.
But the idea that you’re going to get the same production from that player’s backup if or when that starter goes down with an injury is illogical. Do you really think the Los Angeles Rams would enjoy the same production from Malcolm Brown as they would from Todd Gurley? Almost certainly not.
Instead of devoting a roster spot for a handcuff player, build your team like a stock portfolio: with a diverse mix of players who might not be blue chip players in general, but will get enough playing time to where they’ll be passable options when needed – like when your stud is on bye.
Keep An Eye Out For “Plug And Play” Guys: This is probably the best solution for deeper and/or more competitive leagues, where rosters are thinner and the waiver wire doesn’t yield a lot of good options.
While you might not find any players who’ll provide consistent production on waivers, you might find a player who’ll see a surge in playing time or snaps in a given week, because of injuries or changes to the roster. Those are the guys you want to quickly snag in the days leading up to a bye week for one of your core players. You can start the guy who you just picked up for that ensuing week, and then cut him as soon as your done with his services for that week.