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Bye Week Survival Guide

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You drafted your team in August.  You had a plan.  This was the team that was going to bring you back to the playoffs.  The only problem is for eight straight weeks, 32 teams have bye weeks, throwing owners' lineups and best laid plans into a mess.

Owners will either succeed or fail in their bid for a title depending on how they perform during the bye weeks.  Think about it for a brief moment.  The conventional fantasy football regular season is 13 weeks.  Bye weeks compromise eight out of 13 weeks, which is over 60% of the season.  Now is the time where owners will either sink or swim, depending on how they approach the next eight weeks.  Now is not the time to be conservative.  Now is the time to be bold and ruthless.

Here are some survival tips, which will help your team not only survive the bye weeks but also make your team better, screw over your opponents, and hopefully lead you the playoffs.

1) The Depth of your Team will Determine your Destiny

How you behave during your bye weeks is completely dependent on how deep your team is.  If you have a team with some holes, some underperformers, some injured studs, obviously your going to have a different strategy.  Despite such differing paths though, both teams with and without depth have one thing in common, which can be summed up in two words: Be Bold.

2)  If you have Depth, the World is Your Oyster

If you have a RB3 you believe in, if you have a WR4, who you think deserves a promotion to the starting lineup; it's time for you to start thinking about making a trade.  Obviously there are some running backs like Ryan Mathews, Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson, who have injury concerns and have to have a quality backup. 

On the other hand, if you have three solid dependable RBs, there's a good chance you might have another part of your roster that could use an upgrade.  The bye weeks are your best chance of improving your roster and your overall chances.  It's all a matter of timing and knowing when to strike to get the best deal, namely, when your trade partner has a crucial bye week.

3)  Know Your League

You have to know your league.  This is one of the most important things.  Which teams need a running back?  Who has Chris Johnson and is in a hole?  Which teams have been ravaged by injuries and are desperate to just get a win? 

Once you know your league, now it's time to focus not only on how bye weeks will affect your team but how they will affect others.  Which team absolutely has to win this week and two of their studs are on a bye week?  These are the types of desperate teams you have to target.  You also need to target those teams that are good but continue to lose close games because they had a player or two on a bye week.  Find the owner, who has an itchy trigger finger on the panic button and you've found a great trading partner.

4)   If you don't have depth, now is the time to plan ahead

You should already know what your plan is for Week 7 when six teams are on a bye.  For all your studs you better know when their bye week is and who you plan on replacing them with.  The key is not waiting to the week when your player is on a bye and you don't have a legitimate backup plan.  If you try and make a trade then you're going to have zero leverage and prospective trading partners are going to know that.  The more desperate your trading partner thinks you are, the less inclined he's going to be willing to make a good deal.

5)  Final Thoughts on Bye Weeks

When Week 12 rolls around and the bye weeks are finally over, your team should be hopefully better than what it is now.  The best way to make your team better through the bye weeks is by being as bold and as ruthless as possible on your way to a Championship.

Ed Bonfanti

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