Quarterback Bye Week Pairings (Fantasy Football)

by Bobby Sylvester | @bobbyfantasypro | Featured Writer
Aug 13, 2017

Dalton should be a backup in high demand

If your league is deep enough that you can justify carrying two quarterbacks on your roster, one of the “tricks” of the trade is to target the best pairing options for your starting quarterback’s bye week. Keep this handy on draft day so you know the best fit once your starting QB is in place. We will take a look at the worthwhile backup quarterbacks, pass defenses to target and which two line up during the weeks the top two tiers of quarterbacks are on byes.

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I don’t consider anyone who will be drafted within the top 100 picks or on the hot seat as a backup worth considering for fantasy football rosters. The list below is of the 12 backup fantasy quarterbacks potentially worth rostering.

  1. Matthew Stafford (DET)
  2. Phillip Rivers (LAC)
  3. Tyrod Taylor (BUF)
  4. Andy Dalton (CIN)
  5. Eli Manning (NYG)
  6. Carson Palmer (CIN)
  7. Carson Wentz (PHI)
  8. Blake Bortles (JAX)
  9. Joe Flacco (BAL)
  10. Sam Bradford (MIN)
  11. Jay Cutler (CHI)
  12. Brian Hoyer (SF)

Now, let’s take a look at the defenses worth picking on. (in order)

  1. San Francisco 49ers
  2. Buffalo Bills
  3. Indianapolis Colts
  4. New York Jets
  5. Cleveland Browns
  6.  Los Angeles Rams
  7. Dallas Cowboys
  8. Green Bay Packers
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  10. New Orleans Saints

We will use these two rankings to determine backup value for each week. If a QB is #3 on the list, he will get 3 points, and if his opposing defense is 5th, we will tack on another 5 points. The lower the score, the better, plus we will give out -1 for home games and +1 for away games. Backup quarterbacks are then sorted with the best score first.

Bye Week 5

Drew Brees (NO): ECR #3
Matt Ryan (ATL): ECR #6
Kirk Cousins (WAS): ECR #7

Suitable backup pairings:

Andy Dalton (CIN vs BUF): 5
Brian Hoyer (SF @ IND): 16

I typically do not carry two QBs on my roster, but this year, I am targeting the Cousins and Dalton pairing in virtually every league. That 5 score, as you will see, is the best backup value of the season and when you consider that you only have to roster Dalton for five weeks, it makes it significantly better. Hoyer probably isn’t worth rostering out of your drafts, but is worth a preemptive add in Week 4 before he costs you a bunch of FAAB in Week 5 with three top QBs on byes the following week.

Bye Week 6

Russell Wilson (SEA): ECR #4

Suitable backup pairings:

Blake Bortles (JAX vs LAR): 13
Carson Palmer (ARI vs TB): 14
Sam Bradford (MIN vs GB): 17

With there being three solid options all close to each other in quality and just one starting QB, I would advise against using a bye week pairing with Russell Wilson. Unless you play in a deeper league, one or several of these guys will surely be available, and you won’t need to waste a roster spot for 5 weeks. I’m aware that it may intimidate some to ever use Bortles, but the matter of the fact is that he was a top 8 QB again last season despite playing injured. He will continue to rack up points with his legs, and now, the presence of Fournette will keep defenses honest against him.

Bye Week 8

Aaron Rodgers (GB): ECR #1
Marcus Mariota (TEN): ECR #8

Suitable backup pairings:

Andy Dalton (CIN vs IND): 6
Carson Wentz (PHI vs SF): 7
Sam Bradford (MIN @ CLE): 16

Dalton is again a great option here, but spending draft capital on both him and Aaron Rodgers is a little too rich for my taste. If Dalton is still available come week 7, or perhaps even 6, scoop him up and quick, but otherwise, settling for Wentz at home against the 49ers is a killer option too. Pairing Mariota and Dalton makes plenty of sense for both the bye week and the minor risk that comes with a scrambling QB like Mariota, as Dalton is both reliable and possesses strong upside.

Bye Week 9

Tom Brady (NE): ECR #2

Suitable backup pairings:

Carson Palmer (ARI @ SF) 8
Tyrod Taylor (BUF @ NYJ) 8
Eli Manning (NYG vs LAR) 10
Matthew Stafford (DET @ GB) 10

Like we saw in Week 6, there is just a single starting QB and solid options galore to replace him with for his bye week. By this point in the season, one of them is likely to have broken out and been scooped up, while another is injured or struggling. So chances are, you’ve got two solid options to choose from on the waiver wire. Again, my advice is to make your pickup a week early so as to not waste FAAB or potentially get in a bind where you have to start someone like Jared Goff.

Bye Week 11

Andrew Luck (IND): ECR #5

Suitable backup pairings:

I would never stash a backup QB for 10 weeks, but it is worth noting that Luck has a bum shoulder and may miss the first six weeks. If he does, you should be looking for someone with both an easy early season schedule and a solid Week 11 matchup. Sam Bradford fits the description perfectly. He does not draw one top 12 pass defense and gets 5 of the 12 best matchups in the 7 weeks he would potentially start for your fantasy team. That is difficult to top.

Thanks for reading. If you haven’t already, please check out the FantasyPros Football Podcast (below) that I co-host with Mike Tagliere. Good luck this season.

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Bobby Sylvester is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Bobby, check out his archive and follow him @BobbyFantasyPro.

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