Bye Week QB Primer (2020 Fantasy Football)
While bye weeks certainly aren’t a big enough factor to affect your drafting decisions, they still play an important part in your season-long strategy, especially if you invested an early pick in a stud at the position. If you’re drafting Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson with one of your first three or four picks, that means you won’t be getting a top running back or receiver at their draft slot.
To that end, FantasyPros has you covered with two great tools so that you don’t miss a beat. The first is the Bye Week Cheat Sheet to see when every fantasy-relevant offensive player has a bye. There’s also the Quarterback-by-Committee tool that shows you weekly matchups for any two quarterbacks so you can compare their opponents.
We used both of these to look at each week’s bye teams and see which quarterbacks were off while which ones would make good streamers for them. Specifically, we considered the top-16 quarterbacks by ADP as starters since that would cover 14-team one-quarterback leagues while including a few extra. We then considered the matchups of any quarterback outside this top-16 as backups or streamers to consider when those top quarterbacks are on bye.
The first bye week isn’t too bad when it comes to quarterbacks. Neither Stafford nor Rodgers are at the height of their powers, so if they’re your starting quarterback, you most likely spent early picks on backs and receivers and have a strong team behind them.
As for possible streamers, Jimmy Garoppolo would be your best bet as he squares off against a Miami defense that gave up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season. Gardner Minshew isn’t a bad choice either, even if he draws Houston on the road. He only threw for 200 yards in Houston last year, but that included a touchdown. Sam Darnold currently has the best matchup against a Cardinals defense that was the worst at giving up fantasy points to quarterbacks. Teddy Bridgewater is a Hail Mary choice as he faces the perpetually-weak Falcons defense in Atlanta.
This bye week could sting for a few of your league-mates. Not only are perpetual fantasy studs Russell Wilson and Drew Brees off this week, but brand-new Patriots quarterback Cam Newton is too. Luckily, there are quite a few options when it comes to streaming.
Ryan Tannehill is the top choice, and he takes on the aforementioned Texans defense at home. In both contests against them last season, he threw two touchdowns, and he could easily do so again. An intriguing option is sleeper Drew Lock, who is at home against the young Dolphins defense. Lock has no shortage of weapons this season and could have a big game. Gardner Minshew, Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers are possible options as they all play at home against defenses that were in the bottom seven of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. A deep streamer is Washington’s Dwayne Haskins. He ended his rookie season by improving each week and has an excellent matchup against the New York Football Giants defense who, despite giving up the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last year, might actually be worse in 2020.
Starting Quarterbacks on Bye: None
All systems go here.
Quality Replacements: Jared Goff at MIA, Ryan Tannehill at CIN, Philip Rivers at DET, Teddy Bridgewater vs. ATL
This is a huge week for quarterback byes in terms of both quality and quantity. Lamar Jackson may well be the first quarterback off the board in drafts, and Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson aren’t far behind. If you have one of these studs, at least there are two others who feel your pain. However, you’ll be fighting them for streamer scraps.
The top option would be the Rams’ Jared Goff, who will travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins’ defense. Goff regressed in 2019 but still threw for over 4,000 yards and had nine games of multiple touchdowns, including the last five games of the season. Two others — Ryan Tannehill and Philip Rivers — have good matchups but are also on the road. I would lean more toward Tannehill after Rivers failed to have a decent game in Detroit last season, throwing for just 293 yards and a pick. Teddy Bridgewater is the only option with both a good matchup and will be playing at his home stadium when he takes on the Falcons again.
Starting Quarterbacks on Bye: Carson Wentz
Quality Replacements: Kirk Cousins vs. DET, Gardner Minshew II vs. HOU, Drew Lock at ATL, Dwayne Haskins vs. NYG
Coming off such a big bye week for quarterbacks, it’s nice to see only one top-16 quarterback have their bye. If you drafted Carson Wentz as your starter, you’re the lucky team that needs a streamer for Week 9. But with his injury history, it might not be a bad idea to have a backup well before then, just in case.
Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from here. Either Kirk Cousins or Drew Lock, who could be having big years anyway, face bottom-seven defenses when it comes to fantasy defenses. Gardner Minshew and Dwayne Haskins are more Hail Mary picks, but they have top matchups against bottom-four defenses when it comes to fantasy points allowed. Haskins even threw two touchdown passes in his last contest against the Giants!
Quality Replacements: Drew Lock (QB – DEN at LV), Sam Darnold (QB – NYJ at MIA), Dwayne Haskins (QB – WAS at DET)
Another big week for quarterback byes where we have elite quarterbacks on the (metaphorical) sidelines while the bench to replace them is not that deep. Potential top quarterback Patrick Mahomes, top-five quarterback Dak Prescott, and perpetual fantasy QB1 Matt Ryan are all off this week.
The aforementioned pool of players to stream is not great. It’s possible that Drew Lock has a breakout season but, if he does, he’d be gone by now. If not, he still has a good matchup at the Raiders. The only other options are the Jets’ Sam Darnold at Miami or Dwayne Haskins at Detroit. Hopefully, one of those two teams is not doing as poorly as they did in 2019, so they still have something to play. If not, and Lock is already scooped up, this week will be rough for those who spent a high pick on a quarterback.
Quality Replacements: Teddy Bridgewater vs. DET, Dwayne Haskins vs. CIN
For those with either Josh Allen or Daniel Jones as their starter, they’re going to be hard-pressed to find a comparable rushing replacement. In fact, it’ll be hard to find any replacement as there are only two options (for now) that would make good streamers.
Both options face teams that tied for the seventh-most fantasy points allowed to a quarterback in 2019. Teddy Bridgewater will be home against the ascending-but-inexperienced Lions defense, while Dwayne Haskins is at home against a Bengals defense that overhauled its offense. Neither Bridgewater nor Haskins will be a fantasy QB1s this season, so both should be available on the waiver wire in Week 11.
No teams on bye
Starting Quarterbacks on Bye: Tom Brady
Quality Replacements: Jared Goff at ATL, Sam Darnold vs. LV, Joe Burrow at MIA, Philip Rivers at HOU
While Tom Brady is being taken as a QB1, and there’s plenty of reasons to think he will be, it’s not a bad idea to have a streamer in mind for this week. The usual suspects are here, including Jared Goff visiting the Falcons, Sam Darnold playing the Raiders at home, and Philip Rivers at Houston.
Appearing for the first time is rookie and No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow. By Week 13, Burrow could be developing into a viable fantasy option, and he has a great matchup at Miami. He’s a wild card right now, but if you draft Brady as your starter, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye on Burrow as an early-season waiver wire pickup, especially if Brady shows any sign of struggling with his new team.
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