By Erik Helmle
Elm Staff Writer
As the fantasy football season begins to pick up, players are reminded of a dreaded phrase that can spell doom for any unprepared team: Bye Week. On a bye week, members of an National Football League team have a week off to practice more or heal up before their next game. Bye weeks are scheduled by the NFL well before the season begins, but most fans forget exactly when their team’s bye week is. For fantasy football owners, who have built teams that consist of players at various positions across a multitude of teams, this can spell disaster. Since several teams can be off for their bye week in the same week (usually between 2 and 6 teams each week), a fantasy team may end up missing more than one or two members for that game week. This can create a disaster, but if you follow these easy steps then you should make it out just fine.
1. Start at the Draft: When a fantasy team is first drafted, bye week information is usually one of the most important deciding factors between individual players of a middle tier or even a high tier in a very competitive league. For example, picking up Jay Cutler, a mid-tier player, as a backup to Aaron Rodgers, an elite-tier player, is practically pointless considering that they both will be off on Week 7. Add in the fact that it’s an elite player who would only be benched for that week or an injury, and you could find yourself wasting not only your pick but the opportunity to have more support at a different position. Bottom line: Draft your team with bye weeks in mind, or you’ll be sorry.
2. Don’t Just Drop Them: If a player is on bye week, many fantasy coaches simply dump them out on the waiver wire in exchange for someone who will play that week. This is a terrible idea and is one of the worst things you can do for your team. Another needy team in your league will most definitely pick up your player, even if they are on bye, because of the inherent value that the player has versus a player they may have on their team who yields them virtually nothing. For example, dropping a mid-tier player like Chris Ivory is an ill-advised decision considering that he is a lead running back who will see action and, therefore, points. If you drop a player at any point in your season, don’t expect to get them back.
3. Take What You Can Get: It’s very important to understand that every team in a league will suffer from bye weeks. The difference is that some teams will hurt more than others week to week. If half of your starting lineup is on bye week, just fill what you can from your bench then hunt down someone on the waiver wire that you wouldn’t mind picking up for the rest of the season. The “rest of the season” part is the operative clause there. If your lineup is trash after that, then just accept that this isn’t your week and try to do what you can. One calculated loss due to bye weeks won’t torpedo your season. Just remember that everyone else will have a week similar to yours at some point in the season.