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Bye Your Way to a Championship

BYE Your Way to a Championship

The old days of winning your league by “outworking” your opponents are few and far between. Not only is your key competition watching multiple games each weekend, but odds are they have subscribed to an online service as well. With the playing field leveled, is there anywhere left for you to find an advantage? YES!!!! One of these opportunities is to become a BYE MASTER!

BYE-ing a Draft Advantage.

The First Two Rounds

If you tier your players, the odds are that all your first-tier players (8-12 of them) will be gone in the first round. Should you worry about the bye week when drafting your second-tier players (approx. 22-30 of them depending on your system) in rounds two and three? The answer is it depends! Let’s assume you draft Matt Forte (Week 5 bye) with the seventh pick in your draft. Now you are picking again at 18 (assuming a snake draft) and the following are your top ranked players still available


Player                                         BYE Week

Greg Jennings                              5

Drew Brees                                 5

Brandon Jacobs                           10

Reggie Wayne                             4

Steve Smith                               6


Should you take the bye week into consideration? The answer is, again, it depends. If Brees is a must-have and/or you think

is a Tier 1 receiver this year, then take them without hesitation. As an owner you want to feel great about your team. However, if you would be reasonably happy with any of the five of these then here are your considerations.


      Are you potentially willing to sacrifice one week in order to have your top two studs together every other week? If this is the case, then pick Brees or

 and see below, Rounds 3-5.

2.      If you don’t like the idea of your top two players out in the same week, then draft accordingly with a player with a different bye week.

Rounds 3-5.


Your decisions in Rounds 3-5 are based upon your decisions in Rounds 1 and 2. If you selected option 2 above, you might as well stick with the plan and have different bye weeks for each position. Spread your bye weeks across your Top 5 picks. A simple hand-written sheet can help you track bye weeks.



However, if you find that your first two picks share the same bye week, then use this strategy. Your initial thoughts say not to draft another Week 5 bye player here, but the counter-intuitive strategy is better. Since your two studs will be out anyway,  you might as well have another Week 5 selection in Rounds 3-5. If you’re destined to win, your backups will step up, otherwise its only one game.



The following are all OK results for your Top 5 players bye weeks:

All the same week – benefit: you are at full strength every other week and your opponents are not. One league owner will love you though, whoever plays you that one week.


4-1 or 3-1-1 – again you have a lot a byes in one week from your starting lineup, but its only one week.


Situations I try to Avoid

3-2 or 2-2-1 (bye week matches of Top 5 players) – You end up putting two weeks in jeopardy. Two weeks is too many in a short season.

There is no absolute right or wrong, but if you pay attention to the bye week, you’ll draft better overall.


The Mid-Rounds

Sometimes there is a player here that you just have to have, but in general you normally have options. Be sure you’re tracking your bye weeks by position so you have a starting lineup for each and every week.


The Final Rounds

Here is where you are normally picking up your backup kicker, tight end and defense. Make sure that you are picking a different bye week for your backup than your starter. The wavier wire is normally thin here.


BYE a Friend in NEED

I haven’t drafted yet where one team didn’t make a mistake and have a bye week problem coming out of the draft.  My partner and I track bye weeks for every team while the draft is happening. If you can’t do it then you can certainly do it the next day. When we see a problem, we point it out to the offending party along with a trade offer. If you point this out to them right after the draft along with the
“if you drop (player) it’s like a wasted pick” comment you might pull off the trade. I’ve pulled off some nice upgrades once the other team realized my offer was better than what was on waivers. Hint: don’t get too greedy … some improvement for your team is better than none if you can’t make a trade.


However, if you are the offending owner, don’t panic. Use the waiver wire. Hence the need to create “urgency” in the paragraph above.


BYE OFF the Handcuff

This one is a little more tricky because you put a player at risk, so you have to consider the odds.


Let’s say you have handcuffed Brian Westbrook with LeSean McCoy of the Eagles. Now it’s Week 4 and both are on bye. You see a potential one-game running back pickup on the waiver wire who could be a
starter for you this week. What should you do? Well we know one thing. Westbrook is
unlikely to get hurt on bye week.

Therefore, McCoy’s value is at the lowest point it will be all season. If McCoy hasn’t been used much and you don’t think someone will snag him, then maybe you want to take a chance and drop him before Week 4. The way most leagues work, you can pick him right back up after Week 4. I’ve done this four times and lost my player only once, so you have to consider the odds of success. Three of the four times I did this, my pickup had a nice week and helped my lineup. Obviously don’t do this unless you plan to play your waiver wire pickup.





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