Commandment III –
Thou shalt consider bye weeks when drafting.
This commandment will not be of obvious importance until the bye weeks start coming (and come they do, with a vengeance). This is not to say let a stud Running Back slip through your grasp because it would give you two stud running backs with the same bye. Certainly not. It’s just one factor to consider, along with everything else.
If you have the chance to choose between two decent picks, say two top-tier wide receivers, pick one that does not have the same bye week as your other top-tier wide receiver. That means, even in the worst stretch of bye week purgatory, you will have at least one stud player starting at each of the core positions.
You will be at a disadvantage while one or more of your star players sits on your bench during his bye week.
Apparently, this advice flies in the face of conventional wisdom. However, I still think you can and should keep bye weeks in mind when drafting, given a choice between two players of roughly equal value.
This advice also applies to trades and waiver wire pickups, too. Don’t end up with multiple running backs with the same bye week, unless that bye week has already passed. Keep bye weeks in mind when negotiating trades. In fact, you might consider trading for a player of equal value in order to alleviate a bye week conflict on your roster.
Bye weeks are potential minefields. However, bye weeks can also provide you with opportunities. For example, many owners will leave a potential stud player on the waiver wire in the week leading up to his bye. Go ahead and grab him. It is a bit like timing the stock market: if a stock is set to make a good gain, don’t be afraid to jump in a bit early to avoid missing out altogether. In this case, he who hesitates is lost. A player you grab as a free agent or take off waivers and who is on a bye will simply fill one of your bench slots for a week, until you can start him the following week. That is hardly a great sacrifice.
This strategy is fairly easy to use with kickers and defense/special teams. Many team owners will not carry two kickers or defense/special teams on their rosters, and won’t want to “waste” a bench slot carrying a second kicker or defense/special teams for a week. However, if you want a particular kicker or defense/special teams, it might pay to grab them and sit them at the expense of one of your bench slots. Only do this if you’ve got a throwaway player languishing on your bench, ready to be dumped, of course. Don’t drop a stud wide receiver in order to get a second kicker; in that case, it would pay to leave the Kicker on the waiver wire and risk missing out on getting him rather than losing one of your star players.
If you don’t care about a specific kicker or defense/special teams, consider their bye weeks when drafting. By no means should you draft a kicker and defense/special teams with identical bye weeks, unless your league allows you to start players on bye weeks (see Commandment VI).
If you draft a kicker and defense/special teams with a later bye week, you’ll have more opportunities to snatch a replacement off the waiver wire following that replacement’s bye week. Then it would no longer be an issue for that kicker or defense/special teams. You would be substituting a kicker or defense/special trams who’s already had their bye week for a kicker or defense/special teams on your roster that is still awaiting their bye week.
It’s all about roster management, balancing risks and rewards, and needs and wants