Below is the 2018 NFL bye week schedule which kicks off with Carolina and Washington in the dreaded week four bye spot, and ends with the Chiefs and Rams getting a late season break in week 12.
Week 4: Panthers, Redskins
Week 5: Bears, Buccaneers
Week 6: Lions, Saints
Week 7: Packers, Raiders, Seahawks, Steelers
Week 8: Chargers, Cowboys, Falcons, Titans
Week 9: Bengals, Cardinals, Colts, Eagles, Giants, Jaguars
Week 10: Broncos, Ravens, Texans, Vikings
Week 11: Bills, Browns, Dolphins, 49ers, Jets, Patriots
Week 12: Chiefs, Rams
Taking a quick look at this schedule, you would be unlucky to load up on players at one position that all share the same bye week outside of weeks 9 and 11. Both weeks feature 6 teams on bye with plenty of big fantasy players among them.
How We Approach Bye Weeks
We use bye weeks a lot like we use positional strength of schedule, it is a resource that matters but is not one to draft off from. We aren’t going to vary too far off from our pre-draft rankings and opinions of players based off of bye weeks or strength of schedule.
That being said, if you are torn between two players, both bye weeks and strength of schedule can serve as a great tie breaker. For instance, if you are drafting in the fifth round and like both Chris Hogan and Marvin Jones in that spot, then it would make sense to take a look at strength of schedule vs opposing receivers and bye weeks compared to the other receivers on your roster.
Obviously the most important positions to pay attention to when it comes to bye weeks are quarterback and tight end. Most fantasy players will role with at most 2 QB’s and TE’s, so your backup technically should not have the same bye week as your starter. This is especially true if your QB1 and TE1 are top 3 players at their position. You are only going to bench Aaron Rodgers once throughout the season, so you better have a number 2 QB with a good matchup during Rodgers’ bye week.
Bye Week Schedule Effects on Daily Fantasy
Bye weeks are far less important when it comes to daily fantasy, as your strategy adjusts from week-to-week based off of who is available. You aren’t adjusting your strategy for a given week based off of bye weeks, as those players are out of site and out of mind until they come off from bye.
The one way that bye weeks do effect daily fantasy is in weeks 9 and 11 where we have smaller slates because 6 teams are on bye and 6 teams play primetime Thursday night, Sunday night, or Monday night games. As a result, your main Sunday afternoon slate will have only 10 game vs the usual 13.