NFL SCHEDULE RELEASE
With the NFL schedule release earlier this week, we can officially start to look ahead to the week-by-week matchups. Along with schedule information, it is a good time to discuss draft strategies and other fantasy related items such as bye weeks and schedule anomalies.
Whenever the schedule is released, every fan base immediately scours over their matchups and assess their perceived most difficult games. They check to see how many primetime games they have and when the bye week occurs because, for many fantasy players, the bye week aspect of the schedule release is one of great importance. Often fantasy managers focus on the bye weeks for players to make sure they don’t end up with multiple players with similar bye weeks. My advice, however, is to not worry so much about bye weeks for players, unless you end up with more than three players with the same bye week. Bye weeks should only be seen as tiebreakers if the value for players are seen as equal, and only then would I avoid stacking bye weeks. The only other situation in which I would avoid players with the same bye week is when selecting quarterbacks as there is no reason to roster more than two quarterbacks. Having them share the same bye week is pointless. The likelihood that everyone on your roster makes it to that point in the season healthy is also highly unlikely, and in most leagues, players are added and dropped every week. Outside of the top 3-5 players drafted for your team, ignore the bye weeks and their over exaggerated importance.
Given all that, there are some key bye week conundrums to keep in mind for this year including Week 6 (Jets, Falcons, Saints and 49ers), Week 7 (Bills, Steelers, Chargers, Cowboys, Vikings and Jaguars), and Week 13 (Browns, Titans, Packers and Panthers). Weeks 6 and 13 are the two most important bye weeks due to the large amount of fantasy relevant teams off during those weeks while week 7 is the biggest hit for fantasy because it is the only bye week with 6 teams. Likewise, many of the teams involved have a multitude of fantasy studs across the board. While these are important weeks to keep in mind, remember to not let it shape your draft. As long as you don’t end up with 6-8 players sharing the same bye week, you can afford to have multiple players sharing the same week off. If you take away one piece of advice from this article, let it be that bye weeks should be something to keep in mind but not something that should sway your roster construction and team building strategy.
As we creep closer to the month of June, pay attention to the early discourse from coaches and teams. This is the time of year for fantasy managers to monitor the progress of players returning from injuries and early indicators for how rookies and recent acquisitions are being talked about. I recommend doing mock drafts to try out different strategies and get a feel for how players are being valued. Build your own opinions on players’ value and then use that in tandem with experts’ advice to build your team and strategies. The best advice I have come across over the last few years in fantasy is to build a team that you think can be competitive while also not compromising value when drafting. Mock drafts help immensely with this and can be a difference maker when your draft gets flipped upside down when the one wildcard in your league blows up your entire strategy. Stay fluid, be prepared for anything and of course, stay dreamin’!