Quarterback Bye Week Pairings (2019 Fantasy Football)
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The quarterback position is the easiest to stream and to find bye-week replacements for because of supply/demand and the predictability of the position. As a result, you don’t need to draft a backup in leagues that only require you to start one. Use that roster spot for an upside flyer at another position.
With that said, this is a difficult article to write at this juncture of the season since so much changes from year-to-year, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Coordinators change, schemes are altered, and depth charts are realigned. Then, when the season starts, injuries occur, certain players may not live up to expectations, and some offenses could surprise while others regress.
Finally, a quarterback that is projected to be waiver wire fodder now could get on a heater early on and not be available on the waiver wire later. For this piece, I used the FantasyPros rankings and only wrote up quarterbacks in Tier 4 and below, which translates to the #18 quarterback and below.
Keep all these things in mind when you read the below because I am going off the assumption that player ownership will not change and my opinions about defense won’t be radically altered. This piece should give you a macro picture of the landscape, but when the season starts, I recommend that you follow J.J. Zachariason and Denny Carter’s, Living the Stream podcast, as they will be able to guide you from a micro level.
All stats and rankings from Football Outsiders.
Week 4 (NYJ and SF on bye)
Marcus Mariota @ ATL – I know, I know. Mariota has been putrid over the past two years, but much of that has been due to injury. He’s healthy now, so woohoo! Man, the bar sure has been set low. But, Son? The Titans want to ground-and-pound the ball on offense. That is true, whoever you are, but check out who they are playing this week: The Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. There is a chance that the Titans will have to open up the offense and chase points. Finally, last season, the Falcons were 29th in passing defense and 25th in adjusted sack rate. Whether that holds true this season remains to be seen, but there’s a chance this could be a nice matchup. Is there some risk here? Sure, especially since the Falcons defense plays like a band of berzerkers at home, but there’s some upside, and I haven’t even discussed Mariota’s rushing potential.
Matthew Stafford vs KC – We know that the Lions want to run the ball and control the time of possession, but that may be a difficult proposition with the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs coming to town. Only the Raiders were more inept at stopping the pass last season, so…I don’t think I need to explain this further.
Derek Carr @ IND – The Colts were 20th in pass defense last season. In addition, they were 29th in adjusted sack rate, which is huge because Carr is close to elite when he’s given time in the pocket. Unfortunately, he turns into mush when there’s heat. We know about the revamped offense of the Raiders with Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, and Josh Jacobs, but that defense. Oh, that defense. Yes, there are new pieces but I am skeptical that they will improve much from the doormat status they exhibited last year. By the way, that Colts offense is looking like it’s going to be one of the elite units in the league, which will force Da Raiders to chase points.
Week 5 (DET and MIA on bye)
Mitchell Trubisky @ OAK (London game) – Trubisky offers the running upside, but this is about the matchup. The Raiders defense was/is/will be bad until further notice. Things could change by Week 5, but I doubt it. And I’m a life-long Raiders fan. There’s a chance that the Bears could just ground-and-pound the Raiders into submission, but there should still be opportunities for Trubisky to produce.
Kirk Cousins @ NYG – The G-men were 26th in pass defense and 31st in adjusted sack rate. Cousins should feast in this matchup. Like with Trubisky above, though, the Vikings defense could overwhelm the Giants and induce a run-heavy approach on offense from the Vikings.
Andy Dalton vs ARI – Dalton might be my favorite late-round quarterback this year when his cost is factored in. My favorite is Dak Prescott, but that’s a piece for another time. The Bengals were beset with injuries last year, which nuked their season, but there’s talent on this squad with A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon, who all seem healthy now. The reason I am so bullish on Dalton, though, is because Zac Taylor will be calling plays now, who is coming over from the Rams. In this matchup, the Cardinals will be without their shutdown corner, Patrick Peterson, and on offense, they will run a high-tempo, spread-em-out attack, which should provide more plays for the Bengals offense. There’s also the chance that this could turn into a shootout.
Week 6 (BUF, CHI, IND, and OAK are on bye)
Matthew Stafford @ GB – Aaron Rodgers should shred this defense. Kind of like how he went 32-of-52 for 442 yards and 3 touchdowns in Week 5 of last season. As a result, Stafford will likely be chasing points and have to throw. Is this a slam dunk call? Absolutely not, as Stafford only went 14-of-26 for 183 yards and 2 touchdowns in that Week 5 contest. And now the Lions have Darrell Bevell as offensive coordinator, the same Bevell who refused to unleash Russell Wilson. I’m talking myself off of Stafford, but I can’t because that’s how bad this week is for streaming. At least the game is on Monday Night so maybe Bevell unleashes Stafford because all his relatives will be watching? Naw, who am I kidding? All we can hope for is that Rodgers gets the Packers out to a three-score lead. If Bevell and Patricia uncorked a bottle and a genie appeared, they would tell the genie to go back in and re-cork the bottle, right?
Sam Darnold vs DAL – The Cowboys were middle-of-the-pack in pass defense last season and had difficulty generating pressure, as they were 27th in adjusted sack rate. In addition, their defensive scheme isn’t predicated on trickery, as it’s based more on execution. Darnold will be playing at home and I expect the Cowboys to be one of the top offenses in the league. If so, the Jets will have to open up the offense and let Darnold do his thing.
Nick Foles vs NO – I’m not crazy about the matchup and game environment, but we need four fill-ins this week. The pace of the game will likely be slow, as the Saints are happy to run the ball now and were one of the slowest teams last season in terms of pace. The Jaguars were middle-of-the-pack. In addition, the Jaguars defense is still one of the elite units of the game, so it could be slug-fest. We know the Jags want to run the ball. With that said, the Superdome is still considered the Coors Field of fantasy football and a shootout can never be discredited. While the Saints defense was one of the best in generating pressure, the unit was only 22nd in pass defense. Plus, the kids call Foles BDN for a reason.
Miami Dolphins QB vs WAS – I have no idea who the Dolphins quarterback is, so I will refer to the Josh Rosen/Ryan Fitzpatrick combo as Josh Fitzpatrick. I think the difference in executing the Chad O’Shea offense will be minimal, at least that’s my thought now. While the O’Shea offense will likely be tailored to the specific opponent, from a general perspective, it will probably emphasize plenty of short-to-intermediate routes. If the offense was more vertically-oriented, I would give the edge to Fitzpatrick. Choosing this combo as a streamer isn’t based on the defense, as the Redskins were quite proficient in defending the pass last season. It’s based more on the fact that I envision their offense struggling against the Dolphins defense in Miami. If so, then that could lead to more opportunities. A pure potential volume play.
Week 7 (CAR, CLE, PIT, and TB are on bye)
Josh Allen vs MIA – Allen would probably miss the Pacific Ocean if he were to throw a ball while standing on the edge of the Santa Monica Pier, but it doesn’t matter because he can run. He even eviscerated the Dolphins defense in two games last year…..through the air! Ok, eviscerate may be a tad too strong, but he threw multiple touchdowns in two games last season. You connect the dots. Where he really went bonkers, though, was on the ground, as he rushed for 9-95 with 2 scores and for 9-135.
Kirk Cousins @ DET – When the front is close to touching the Raiders in the pass defense rankings, you are, as Charles Barkley so eloquently put it, turrable. The Vikings do want to run more this season, but the Lions were actually stout up-front, so if the parties involved pursue the logical path, we could get You Like That Part Deux. UPDATE: The Lions defensive line looks to be more stout this season with the acquisition of Mike Daniels.
Derek Carr @ GB – Varooom! Varoooom! Warm up the Carr because there could be tons of pink slips changing hands.
Eli Manning vs ARI – The Giants don’t have a bye until Week 11, so I’m thinking they roll with Eli until then. Patrick Peterson does make his return for the Cardinals in this one, so Eli could get sacked 6 times and throw not one, not two, but three pick-sixes in this one. Well within the range of outcomes, but at least for now, the matchup looks to be a decent one, especially with the increase in offensive pace that the Cardinals will employ.
Mitchell Trubisky vs NO – I’m throwing Trubisky in here because I see a path to some upside. The Saints were one of the top defenses in stopping the run last season, so there’s a chance Matt Nagy employs a more pass-oriented game plan in this one. Plus, Trubisky has the rushing upside to complement anything he does in the passing game.
Week 8 (BAL and DAL are on bye)
Marcus Mariota vs TB – Everyone is having mental, emotional, and quite possibly physical orgasms over the Bucs offense this season. And for good reason, with Bruce Arians expected to unleash Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard. So points could be scored in this one, which would force the Titans to come out from their shell. What gets even more of the juices flowing is the fact that the Bucs were one of the worst teams at defending the pass last season, in the same tier as the Lions and Raiders. Since Jackson and Prescott owners are members of the Konami Code fraternity, the stars may have aligned for this one, as Mariota is in the same Chapter.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs CAR – The Panthers were 24th in pass defense last season, and they will be traveling to San Francisco for this one. What most interests me about this matchup, though, is that the Panthers could be one of the stingiest against the run. Luke Kuechly is an amazing middle linebacker and the defensive line could be one of the best in the league this upcoming season: Kawann Short, Dontari Poe, and Gerald McCoy. Plus, the Panthers could put up some points, so Jimmy G may be asked to do a little more in this one.
Week 9 (ATL, CIN, LAR, and NO are on bye)
Jimmy Garoppolo @ ARI – Could be fireworks in this one, as both defenses are suspect. It’s all about the pace of play that the Cardinals will be employing, though. Plus, they are at home and could put up points. If so, Jimmy G may be asked to stop looking in the mirror and admiring himself so that he can put some points up on the scoreboard.
Derek Carr vs DET – We’ve gone over how putrid both defenses were against the pass last season. Do two negatives equal a positive for fantasy production? There’s a very good possibility.
Matthew Stafford @ OAK – If you forgot what I just wrote in the Carr blurb, then we have more pressing issues to deal with than searching for bye-week fill-ins at quarterback.
Nick Foles vs HOU – B.D.N. Enough said. Seriously, though, the Jags want to run the ball, but the Texans were the stingiest defense in the league last season against the run. Through the air was a different story, as they finished 19th against the pass. Unless the defense scores two touchdowns, there should be some opportunities for BDN to exploit through the air.
Week 10 (DEN, HOU, JAC, NE, PHI, and WAS are on bye)
Mitchell Trubisky vs DET – Poor Lions. We keep picking on them.
Marcus Mariota vs KC – Even if the Chiefs offense were to regress, they are still potent and will likely put up plenty of points. Pop your head out of the shell, Titans. Too bad they didn’t cocoon up instead of turtle up so that they could morph into a butterfly and fly, fly, fly!
Sam Darnold vs NYG – The battle for NY should be a riveting one. Yeah right. I believe that the headlines in New York during this time will be: The Final Chapter in the Book of Eli. The Jets have weapons and Darnold should be well-seasoned by now. The Giants were porous against the pass last season, and there’s a good chance they will be worse this season.
Miami Dolphins QB @ IND – Playing in a dome and the spread is already Colts – 9.5. There should be plenty of passing in this one. Whether they go to the other team or not is the only question.
Kirk Cousins @ DAL – Sunday Night Football. Everybody’s ready for the party. America’s game on NBC. Points could be scored in this one. In addition, the Cowboys have been stout against the run and susceptible through the air.
Josh Allen @ CLE – Am I confident with this suggestion? Hell to the no, but I had to get to six recommendations this week. I’m high on the Browns defense this season, as they have a ton of talent, a new coordinator, and could be playing from ahead a ton, so I can see them pummeling Allen in this one. With that said, I could see Allen running for 150 yards because that’s what Allen does.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs SEA – I don’t feel good about this one either, as the Seahawks love to slow the game down and limit possessions. With that said, it’s a Monday Night game, the 49ers are at home, and the Seahawks no longer have the Legion of Boom. There is a chance this could turn into a shootout, as I’m high on Garoppolo and the 49ers offense if Jimmy G can stay healthy.
Week 11 (GB, NYG, SEA, and TEN are on bye)
Matthew Stafford vs DAL – The Boys should put up points in this one. As I referenced earlier, DAL is stout against the run but soft against the pass. 1+1=2.
Nick Foles @ IND – Big. Bleeeeeep. Nick.
Josh Allen @ MIA – Run, Allen! Run! Life is like a bunch of Allen passes. You never know what you’re gonna get.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs ARI – As you have probably figured out by now, I’m super high on the Cardinals offense this year, as the schematic change and increase in pace should be a boon for them. And for the opposition, as they will either have to chase points or get an increase in the number of plays run. Jimmy G may smile and become more handsome after he plays ‘Zona this year, if that’s even possible.
Andy Dalton @ OAK – As of now, one of the juiciest matchups for fantasy football. The defense will likely be bad, but the offense could be potent.
Derek Carr vs CIN – The Bengals will likely put up points and the Raiders will be motivated to win one for Burfict! Ha! Just kidding. The Bengals were 25th in defending the pass last season.
Week 12 (ARI, KC, LAC, and MIN are on bye)
Sam Darnold vs OAK – Da Raiders. Any other questions?
Jimmy Garoppolo vs GB – Could be a good ole fashioned shootout in Levi’s. Hats not included. SF was 27th against the pass, while GB was 28th last season.
Dwayne Haskins vs DET – Haskins should be the starter by Week 11 at the latest. The matchup doesn’t get much better than this. Ring ring. Ring ring. Yes? Oakland Raiders on line 2.
Andy Dalton vs PIT – I act upon what I preach, and I preach what I would act on. I like the Bengals and Dalton a lot this season and have confidence that Taylor will be able to exploit this Steelers defense.