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2-QB Fantasy Football

2-QB Fantasy Football: Bye Week Replacement Options

With 6 teams on bye weeks Sal Stefanile looks at the best fantasy football quarterback options to grab from your waiver wire or get in a trade.

Carson Palmer

The 2014 NFL bye week season is upon us, as six teams will not be in action during Week 4: the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, and Arizona Cardinals.

From a 2-QB fantasy football perspective that means a number of teams will have to replace a QB1 or QB2 on their squad for the week. Missing in action this week will be Peyton Manning (QB3), Russell Wilson (QB6), Andy Dalton (QB12), Brian Hoyer (QB19), Austin Davis (QB25), and Drew Stanton (QB31).

In brackets are their current standings in standard scoring fantasy football leagues. As you can see, using 12-team 2-QB leagues as the base, that’s three QB1s, a QB2, and two borderline QB2s sitting this week out. Davis and Stanton have only started in two games so their numbers could be even higher if they had each started Week 1.

As always, the NFL has decided not to put fantasy owners at the top of their priority list, scheduling uneven bye week scenarios once again. Week 4 is a preview of things to come in Week 9 and Week 10, as six teams will be on bye each of those respective weeks.

Below is a full list of quarterback bye weeks for the upcoming schedule…

Week 4
Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, Brian Hoyer, Austin Davis, Drew Stanton

Week 5
Ryan Tannehill, Derek Carr

Week 6
Drew Brees, Alex Smith

Week 7
Nick Foles, Mike Glennon

Week 8
Colin Kaepernick, Eli Manning

Week 9
Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, EJ Manuel, Jake Locker

Week 10
Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kirk Cousins, Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater

Week 11
Geno Smith, Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, Blake Bortles

Week 12
Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton

During the offseason I used the strength of schedule analysis provided by the awesome Patrick Thorman of Pro Football Focus fantasy when taking a broad look at the quarterback position. Below is a refresher of the chart…

If you recall, anything in GREEN was a good-great matchup for quarterbacks, WHITE was neutral, ORANGE/YELLOW meant proceed with caution and RED was a warning to stay away.

SoS is never meant to be viewed as gospel, but rather one piece of the puzzle, especially in the offseason before any games are played. It’s still a young season, with only three weeks of the season being played, but the chart in its original form is still useful as we can see each quarterbacks’ upcoming schedules, bye weeks and all.

I’ve ranked the quarterbacks based on their fantasy points (standard scoring). You’ll see names like Chad Henne and Josh McCown with blank schedules. That’s either because they’re injured or have lost their jobs.

Based on upcoming schedules, below are a few names to look into trading for to help out with upcoming bye weeks in 2-QB leagues:

Eli Manning: Washington, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Week 8 bye, Indianapolis.

*Well, believe it or not, Eli Manning and the New York Giants’ offense has looked fairly competent the past two weeks. During that span, Eli has completed 72 percent of his passes for 511 yards and has a 4:2 passing TD:INT ratio. He’s also QB13 in standing scoring leagues in that time period.

If you kept the faith with Eli all offseason you’ve been rewarded the last two weeks. Some owners might not dig deep under the hood though when looking at fantasy numbers or they just focused on his Week 1 outing, which could give you an opportunity to target Eli in a trade to cover bye weeks until he takes Week 8 off himself.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: Buffalo, Dallas, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Week 10 bye.

*The Titans, who have held Alex Smith, Tony Romo, and Andy Dalton in check this season is the strongest opponent Fitzpatrick (if he still has the job) faces during his upcoming stretch of six games. The worry here is that the Texans go on a losing streak and that the Ryan Mallett era begins. So, if you do acquire Fitzpatrick make sure to keep an eye on Mallett on your waiver.

Carson Palmer: Week 5 bye, Denver, Washington, Oakland, Philadelphia, Dallas.

*It was a bumpy 2014 debut for Drew Stanton in Week 2, having scored a measly 6.48 fantasy points vs. the New York Giants. He turned things around in a big way against the 49ers in Week 3 though, scoring 19.36 fantasy points and finishing as the QB9 for the week. Reports this week have Carson Palmer on track to play after the team’s bye week against the Denver Broncos next week.

If Palmer does return to the role of starting quarterback in Arizona there is no better time to buy low than now. His fantasy owners might be upset that they haven’t been able to use Palmer the past two weeks and will see him sitting on their bench once again during Arizona’s bye week. Some might be worried his nerve issue could be a season-long nuisance and would like to sell while they can.

Palmer was QB5 in Week 1, giving us a glimpse of what the offense looks like with him under center. Sending out an offer for Palmer could not only help you out with bye weeks going forward, as Arizona will be done with theirs, but you might be able to solidify your QB2 spot for the rest of the year.

What to offer for Palmer will depend on your team construction and the Palmer owner’s team needs. But if you have a RB2/WR3/Flex type player it doesn’t hurt to send out a feeler offer. If the player you offer for Palmer is playing this week that might entice them to make the trade, as they can wash away Palmer’s bye with a starting player this week. Even if you “lose” the trade this week, consider it a short-term loss for a possible long-term gain.

*Ben Roethlisberger: Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Houston, Indianapolis, Baltimore, New York Jets, Tennessee, Week 12 bye

Only QB20 on the season, Roethlisberger owners might be impatient with the slow start to Big Ben’s 2014 campaign. His Week 3 196 passing yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT performance vs. Carolina was respectable and could be a sign of things to come.

The upcoming schedule for Roethlisberger is not only set up with a few favorable matchups, but he doesn’t have a bye until Week 12.

If you’re able to swing a trade for him as a bye week fill-in and he provides decent fantasy production you can turn around and trade him to another team in your 2-QB league in need of a bye week replacement.

Putting him on the trade block after a Week 8 (if he fills up the stat sheet) showing vs. Indianapolis would make him an attractive trade commodity, as 12 teams will be on a bye the next two weeks. It never hurts to be #StreetsAhead.

Blake Bortles: San Diego, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Cleveland, Miami, Cincinnati, Dallas, Week 11 bye, Indianapolis.

*The FreeBlakeBortles movement is upon us. The rookie signal caller in Jacksonville made his regular season debut in relief of former starter Chad Henne in Week 2. Gus Bradley and Co. have no plans of looking back now.

It was an up and down performance from Bortles, which is to be expected from a rookie thrust into a game he wasn’t expected to play in.

His final stat line was encouraging: 14-of-24 for 223 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, and 30 yards rushing. He also had a 14-yard run called back because of an offensive holding penalty. The two interceptions and fumble (which didn’t count because of a penalty) reminded us that Bortles is just a rookie.

However, he showed glimpses of why the Jags took him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and his scrambling led to an extra three fantasy points.

A surrounding cast of Toby Gerhart, Cecil Shorts, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee (when healthy) coupled with a fairly favorable upcoming schedule could lead to Bortles being a viable bye week replacement, and possibly more.

*Stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus and FantasyData

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