Fantasy tips to get you through the tough bye weeks

Twelve teams are off either this week or next, and Brandon Marianne Lee has advice on weathering that storm.

| 8 months ago
(Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

(Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Fantasy tips to get you through the tough bye weeks

Week 7 is officially in the books. Will we remember this week in fantasy as the week we finally all had to believe in the power of Ajayi? Will we remember the Jacquizz Rodgers comeback? Or perhaps the running-back-lee Green Bay Packers?

It seems none of those moments made up for the Sunday night debacle and the deafening roar online about the “quality of the NFL product.”

Fine, the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one. I can get behind looking into improving offensive line play and a variety of other suggestions to help make the games less sloppy and more interesting.

But I’m also a positive person and we’re coming up on the two worst bye weeks of the season. In Week 8 and 9 there are six teams apiece on bye. We need to get creative and have a better attitude as we all move forward towards a championship.

Here are some positive stats that will help you take a deeper dive while looking for talent during these trying bye weeks.


Both the Oakland Raiders and the Atlanta Falcons have given up an average of 300 or more passing yards per game. Both the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns give up 2.6 passing touchdowns per game, the most in the league. Not one of those teams is on bye in Weeks 8 or 9.

In Week 8, the quarterbacks who will benefit from these matchups are Aaron Rodgers, Jameis Winston, Brock Osweiler and Ryan Fitzpatrick. In Week 9, it’s Winston (again), Dak Prescott (or Tony Romo, to be fair), Osweiler (again) and Trevor Siemian. Those are your viable deep streaming options. It’s not pretty, but it could be functional.

More stats to consider:

  • In October, Jameis Winston has the league’s highest depth per aimed throw (11.8) or all quarterbacks that played in at least 50 percent of their team’s offensive snaps.
  • No quarterback has scored more than one rushing touchdown in October, but both Tyrod Taylor and Marcus Mariota have over 154 rushing yards in those four outings.
  • Tom Brady currently has the highest PFF passer rating at 115.48. In second, Andy Dalton with 97.94. Dalton will face Washington in London this week, but he’s on a bye in Week 9. He can get you half way through this two-week nightmare.

Running backs

San Francisco is on a bye this week, but they give up a league-high 162.7 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs. Second to the 49ers, the Browns give up 125.1 yards per game. Both Atlanta and San Diego give up more than 10 receptions per game to opposing running backs, which could sway you to play a pass-catching back in a bye week pinch.

Running backs that will benefit from these matchups in Week 8 are Knile Davis/Ty Montgomery (he’s gained RB eligibility in some game providers), C.J. Anderson/Devontae Booker, Matt Forte/Bilal Powell. And in Week 9, Jacquizz Rodgers/Peyton Barber, Mark Ingram/Tim Hightower, DeMarco Murray/Derick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott/Alfred Morris. I know there are some desperate dart throws on this list, but the pickings are slim.

More stats to consider:

  • Duke Johnson has the league’s fifth-highest elusive rating and has missed 17 total tackles with only 66 touches on the season. He is also available in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues.
  • Over the three weeks since Tom Brady has come back, James White has been a top-15 fantasy running back in standard leagues, and a top-10 back in PPR leagues. And yet, he’s still available in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues.
  • Mike Gillislee is tied for fourth-most yards per carry (6.1) in October. He also averaged 3.0 yards per target, which is tied for seventh-most in the league. After making the disastrous decision to start LeSean McCoy last week, hopefully Buffalo will switch over to Gillislee until McCoy is fully healthy.

Wide receivers

The Oakland Raiders, Chicago Bears and New York Jets all give up more than 200 receiving yards to wide receivers per game. The Bears, New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams all give up at least 25 receptions per game, as well.

The following receivers matchup against those teams in Week 8: Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Cordarrelle Patterson, Terrelle Pryor, Ricardo Louis, Andrew Hawkins, Mike Evans, Adam Humphries, Russell Shepard.

The following receivers matchup against those teams in Week 9: Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn Jr., Devin Funchess, Cory Brown, Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, Josh Huff, Nelson Agholor, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, Bennie Fowler, Jordan Norwood.

More stats to consider:

  • Cole Beasley has caught 100 percent of the passes thrown his way in October — 13 targets for 13 catches which went for 184 yards and three touchdowns. He’s still unowned in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues.
  • Torrey Smith is on the trading block and only owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues. Depending on where he lands, he could be the perfect offensive piece to a team lacking a deep threat (and with a quarterback who can throw deep). Over the last month Torrey Smith’s 20.7 aDOT is third among all wide receivers who have played in at least 25 percent of their team’s offensive snaps.
  • Over the last four weeks, Michael Thomas has averaged 84.0 receiving yards per game, tied with Kenny Britt for eight-most among wideouts. He’s also scored a touchdown in three of those four outings.
  • Davante Adams in only owned in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues and he’s second in the league with five receiving touchdowns on the season. Only Mike Evans and Michael Crabtree have more, with six each.

Tight ends

The Cleveland Browns give up 82.0 yards per game to tight ends. Second are the Falcons, who give up 70.3 yards per game. Both Detroit and Carolina give up 1.0 touchdowns per game to the position.

Due to those matchups, that means you can stream (in desperation mode) Richard Rodgers, Jermaine Gresham, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and C.J. Fiedorowicz in Week 8. And you can stream Cameron Brate, Lance Kendricks, Jason Witten and Kyle Rudolph in Week 9. Clearly the options in Week 9 are far superior to the ones in Week 8, but understandably we’re all just trying to get through this rough patch.

More stats to consider:

  • There are two surprise names in our top-10 PFF-graded tight ends: C.J. Fiedorowicz (78.8) and Jacob Tamme (77.5). Neither is owned in more than 27 percent of Yahoo leagues.
  • In October, Gary Barnidge put up the third-most receiving yards (258) and had 21 catches, tied with Greg Olsen with the most of all the tight ends in the league, but he didn’t score a touchdown.
  • Jack Doyle is third in the league right now, scoring 0.32 fantasy points per opportunity in standard scoring. His 88 percent completion rate is the highest among any tight end with at least 30 targets on the season.

Brandon Marianne Lee is a PFF Fantasy contributor, a SiriusXM host, co-founder of Her Fantasy Football and was a finalist for FSWA's Newcomer of the Year in 2014.

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