Bye Week QB Primer (2019 Fantasy Football)
Bye weeks are a necessary (though unpleasant) part of life in fantasy football, and the bye week carries more weight with the quarterback than with any other position. There is a much smaller pool of quality players at QB than at WR or RB and generally only one QB slot on a fantasy roster, so a miscue in that spot carries more weight. Whether you draft a top-tier stud within the first five or six rounds or you choose to hold off on a QB until the 10th round, you’ll need to rely on a replacement at least once during the season when your starting QB enjoys his off week.
This article will be a guide to which teams and QBs are on byes from Weeks 4-12 and which matchups are the best to target for help at the position each week. Guys like Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are not suggested bye week fill-in options because of their huge projected ownership. Instead, I’ve suggested replacement QBs who may be available on the waiver wire during the season or who you can draft at a cheap price to be your backup. Guys who appear multiple times are excellent backups to pair with your QB1, and some of them may end up delivering better-than-expected performances due to their high upside. Let’s take a look at this year’s bye week QB landscape!
Teams on bye: Jets, 49ers
No reason to panic in the first of nine bye weeks. The only signal-callers you have to be concerned with are Darnold and Garoppolo. It’s highly unlikely Darnold is your QB1, but if Jimmy G is your man, no worries.
There are some serviceable replacement options that also appear on this list in other weeks. The Buccaneers at Rams matchup projects as a likely shootout, and with Jameis Winston playing for a new contract, he should come out guns blazing. Matthew Stafford will face one of last year’s worst defenses in Kansas City, and Derek Carr will be a good option most weeks unless facing an excellent defense, due to his new stable of receivers and backs.
Teams on bye: Lions, Dolphins
Best matchups: Buccaneers @ Saints (Jameis Winston), Bills @ Titans (Josh Allen), 49ers vs. Browns (Jimmy Garoppolo)
Week 5 is pretty light with just two teams on bye. The Dolphins haven’t named a starter yet, so both Rosen and Fitzpatrick are listed above. We see Jameis Winston’s name pop up for the second consecutive week in another possible shootout with the Saints.
New Orleans was a quality defense in 2018, but they were much better against the run. The passing defense is exploitable, making Winston a great fill-in. Josh Allen and the Bills against the Titans could be an ugly slugfest, but I love Allen as a replacement option against many teams due to his big-play ability and rushing. Garoppolo against the Browns feels like a high-scoring tilt, so I’ll take Jimmy G if I need help in Week 5.
Teams on bye: Bills, Bears, Colts, Raiders
In Week 6, we start to see some trouble for fantasy owners with four teams off. Andrew Luck will be the most highly owned of any of the bye week QBs, so Luck owners should be aware of the options in Week 6.
As mentioned above, the Saints’ pass defense isn’t a scary matchup, and the Jags could be chasing points. Nick Foles could be available for a plug-and-play here. Lamar Jackson has a great matchup, and I’m happy to play him here. Jimmy Garoppolo gets some love once again, playing a divisional game on the road where he could be forced to throw a lot.
Teams on bye: Panthers, Browns, Steelers, Buccaneers
Best matchups: Broncos vs. Chiefs (Joe Flacco), Jaguars @ Bengals (Nick Foles), Bills vs. Dolphins (Josh Allen)
Some big names are on a bye in Week 7, but there are definitely replacement options with upside. Joe Flacco at home against a weak Chiefs pass defense? Yes, please. Nick Foles gets a favorable draw against a poor Bengals defense, making him worthy of a look. Josh Allen doesn’t have an intimidating matchup, and I’ve already touched on his built-in upside, especially running the football.
Teams on bye: Ravens, Cowboys
QBs on bye: Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott
Best matchups: Lions vs. Giants (Matthew Stafford), Jaguars vs. Jets (Nick Foles), Titans vs. Buccaneers (Jameis Winston/Marcus Mariota)
Back to a light slate of byes, with just Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott MIA in Week 8. Former top-two picks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota face off in a matchup that could be useful for both QBs. Matthew Stafford and Nick Foles have matchups that could be worth targeting for those in need of help.
Teams on bye: Falcons, Bengals, Rams, Saints
Best matchups: 49ers @ Cardinals (Jimmy Garoppolo), Jets @ Dolphins (Sam Darnold), Raiders vs. Lions (Derek Carr), Buccaneers @ Seahawks (Jameis Winston)
This week’s batch of byes features some heavy hitters in the NFC, but luckily, there are some quality replacement options to be had. The Cards and Niners face off in an interesting divisional showdown, with Garoppolo being a solid option. Sam Darnold’s matchup with the Dolphins shouldn’t scare you away from the sophomore. Derek Carr could have a big week against Detroit, and Jameis Winston pops up yet again. He’s playing in Seattle, a hostile environment, but the other options this week are less appealing. Winston has the firepower to make him a respectable streamer even on the road against the ‘Hawks.
Teams on bye: Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, Patriots, Eagles, Redskins
Best matchups: Jets vs. Giants (Sam Darnold), Titans vs. Chiefs (Marcus Mariota), Ravens @ Bengals (Lamar Jackson), Cardinals @ Buccaneers (Jameis Winston)
Darnold gets a solid chance for some good bye week production against the Giants in a Meadowlands matchup. Marcus Mariota definitely has upside at home against what projects to be a porous Chiefs secondary. Any QB facing the Bengals is streamable, and Jackson’s mobility when scrambling out the pocket makes him a quality option here. Jameis Winston faces off against Kyler Murray and the Cardinals in what should be a game with a treasure trove of fantasy points. You can start him confidently.
Teams on bye: Packers, Giants, Seahawks, Titans
Best matchups: Jaguars @ Colts (Nick Foles), Bills @ Dolphins (Josh Allen), Buccaneers vs. Saints (Jameis Winston), Raiders vs. Bengals (Derek Carr)
Two of the best in Rodgers and Wilson are on bye in Week 11, as are some less appealing QBs in Mariota and whoever the Giants start. No worries though, as you can roll out Nick Foles in a divisional tilt, Josh Allen in a friendly matchup, Jameis Winston in a game where he’ll need to throw a lot to keep pace, and Derek Carr against a bad defense. Any of the four players mentioned above can carry you through the Week 11 bye. Carr has the most upside against a bad Bengals defense, but Winston against the Saints is always intriguing.
Teams on bye: Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers, Vikings
Best matchups: Raiders @ Jets (Derek Carr/Sam Darnold), Buccaneers @ Falcons (Jameis Winston), Bills vs. Broncos (Josh Allen), Jaguars @ Titans (Nick Foles)
Big scorers Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers are all out in Week 12, but you can target some familiar names before (hopefully) gearing up for a fantasy playoff run. Derek Carr at the Jets provides a favorable matchup as does Jameis Winston playing against the Falcons in a game in which he could produce a lot of fantasy points. Josh Allen against the Broncos and Nick Foles against the Titans are two matchups that aren’t thrilling, but they’re the best ones available from the remaining games. Allen has every-week upside because of his rushing abilities, and Foles is always capable of a big game.
Names appearing most frequently in this article: Jameis Winston (7), Nick Foles (5), Derek Carr (4), Josh Allen (4), Jimmy Garoppolo (3), Sam Darnold (3)
ADP for the above players: Winston (QB16), Foles (QB25), Carr (QB23), Allen (QB22), Darnold (QB26), Garoppolo (QB21)
Aside from Winston, the QBs recommended here are all valued outside of the top 20 at the position. They can be easily scooped up as backups during fantasy drafts, and the upside for all of these guys is pretty high. Thanks for reading, and best of luck as you make the most of your bye weeks this upcoming fantasy season!