Impact of Bye Weeks on Best Ball Drafts

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With the NFL schedule out we can now factor in bye weeks to our analysis for Best Ball drafting. Some tend to overlook bye weeks in their drafting strategy, that is a clear mistake as oversaturation on a singular week, could be enough to lower your score for that week, well below your average weekly production. While some may think you can make up for one bad week, that can turn into a massive mistake given the number of teams that missed making the playoffs by 10-15 points.

 

Differentiate Bye Weeks within Game Stacks:

If too many of your top players come from a particular bye week you will not be able to make up for their level of production with your late-round options. So when you are working on stacks for Best Ball, it is important to try to differentiate the weeks. And your one-off players do not have the same bye week as your primary stack (as much as possible). Ideally, try not to have more than 4-6 players on bye in a week, and if possible spread that out through your draft. So maybe only 2 in the top third, 1 in the middle, and 1-2 in the bottom third. This will help ensure that you are not too weak during a given bye.

 

Differentiate Bye Weeks within Position Groups:

Generally, it’s not recommended to have more than 1 QB or TE on bye in a week, and no more than 2 RB (3 in a 6 RB build), and 3 WR (maybe 4 in an 8 or 9 WR build) on bye at a time. While some tempt fate and will take a zero at QB or TE by having only 2 players and both on bye in a given week, it is not recommended. Taking a clear zero is never a good option. Yes, you might be able to survive a week of zero points from a starting spot, but it makes things very difficult.

This season there is a big difference from last year, as the final week of the regular season (week 14) has more and better teams on bye. Last year only the Cardinals and Commanders had a week 14 bye. While that did have a couple of key fantasy players on bye, none were high draft picks and neither team was probably a primary stack for your roster. Unlikely you were going to have more than 2-4 Commanders/Cardinals last season.

 

End of the Season/Week 14 Bye Week Teams:

This year has 6 teams on bye in Wek 14, including some top-tier offenses like the Ravens and Texans. If you are either barely in the lead for a playoff spot, or trying to jump up into a playoff spot heading into week 14, you will need to be smart. Make sure you have a good 2nd stack or ensure you aren’t pushing the total players on bye to 5 or 6. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a spot where you simply can’t make up the points you need to advance.

Here is a quick look at each bye week and what it means:

 

Week 5: Lions, Chargers, Eagles, Titans

The Lions and Eagles’ offenses are two of the best in the league, filled with numerous top-end receivers, backs, and tight ends, as well as Jalen Hurts who is one of the top QBs. Jared Goff is a good number 2 QB, and a solid second stack option. While there is some question about where we should rank the Chargers offense this year, we are still losing a potential top QB in Herbert, and some intriguing backs and receivers. The Titans on paper might not seem like a big fantasy loss, but they look like a potential breakout team that you can get at a value. It is unfortunate seeing them paired with some of the top offenses.

 

Week 6: Chiefs, Rams, Dolphins, Vikings

The Chiefs, Rams, and Dolphins are three of the best offenses in the league right now. Patrick Mahomes is the only top 10 QB, but Matt Stafford and Tua Tagovailoa are two of the better number two options. What they do have is a number of backs, receivers, and tight ends that will go in the early rounds. This list increases when you add the Vikings’ skill players, led by Justin Jefferson. The Vikings don’t have a QB in consideration, but other than that they are adding some key skill guys. It’s still doable to have one primary stack, and then one or two pieces from the other teams. I just wouldn’t have both a Chiefs and Dolphins/Rams stack.

 

Week 7: Bears, Cowboys

With only two teams on bye it’s much easier to handle building a team around either of these offenses. The Cowboys’ offense is clearly a top 5 unit, and can be a league winner to stack up. The Bears offense is much more intriguing this season, with the addition of Caleb Williams at QB, and some new receivers in Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze. Also, running back D’Andre Swift looks like a good value right now. I wouldn’t fully stack both teams, but a primary stack of one, with a 1 or 2 player bring back is very tempting.

 

Week 9: Steelers, 49ers

Similar to week 7 with only 2 teams on bye, it is easy to just focus on a stack and not worry about being overexposed. The 49ers are clearly the top team to target here, but it is tough to overstack them in general. That makes it easy to have one or two Steelers as value options to go along with your 49ers stack.

 

Week 10: Browns, Packers, Raiders, Seahawks

Despite 4 teams on bye, the Packers are the only primary stacking team to focus on. Jordan Love is a top-10 QB, and there is some real upside that this offense further takes off. The Browns, Raiders, and Seahawks all have some really good singular pieces to want to add, but they aren’t teams you are likely to want as a 2nd stack, or that you need multiple players from. Either by building a Packers stack with one or two additional Week 10 players or just mixing in 3-5 one-off options from all four teams, you can manage this bye week fairly easily.

 

Week 11: Cardinals, Panthers, Giants, Buccaneers

This is very similar to week 10, as the Cardinals are the only real primary stacking team. While the Buccaneers can be a good 2nd or 3rd stack, and they have some good pieces to build around, the Giants and Panthers don’t offer a lot. They don’t have the same number of skill player options that say the Browns, Raiders, and Seahawks have. If you are building a Cardinals stack, it is pretty easy to avoid overstacking this bye week.

 

Week 12: Falcons, Bills, Bengals, Jaguars, Saints, Jets

This week is probably the toughest week to build your team without overstacking. The Bills and Bengals are clear top 10 offenses (when healthy), and the Jaguars weren’t far behind last year and seem poised for a breakout. The Falcons with the addition of Kirk Cousins, and the Jets with the return of Aaron Rodgers look like really good offenses as well.

Even the Saints offer some skill players to target. Not only is it easy to build multiple stacks from this week, but even if you build only one you have to make sure you aren’t over-exposed to the other good offenses on this list.

 

Week 14: Ravens, Broncos, Texans, Colts, Patriots, Commanders

The Ravens and Texans are top offenses as primary stacks. The Colts are as well as Anthony Richardson is a top 6 QB.

The Broncos, Patriots and Commanders aren’t nearly as strong, but they do represent some value options and one-off players. Jayden Daniels and some Commanders stacks have been getting pulled up draft boards, but you definitely shouldn’t be doing them with any of these other teams on the list.

Probably the biggest issue from this group is that the two top offenses, Ravens and Texans both play each other Week 17. So while you can have a bringback of the other team, don’t get too crazy and take many other Week 14 byes.

 

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