Alright. I’m going to admit that this draft strategy might be a little bit out there. I have no idea if I picked this up from an article or something in the last few seasons, or it was some kind of fantasy football induced dream, but this strategy is crazy enough that it might actually work. Caution: I have never used this strategy and the workings behind it are entirely theoretical. OK. Let’s do this.
Fantasy season starts out nice. For the first four weeks there is at least a small sense of parity in your league. But then bye weeks happen. And we all know that there is nothing as frustrating as having one of your key players out on a bye week. Even worse, two of them. So from Week 5 of the NFL through Week 10 or 11, your team is not performing at the highest level. It doesn’t matter how good your draft was, for those 6 weeks, your team is playing below 100% because one of your starters is off.
But what if there existed a loophole. A very time-intensive, beyond fantasy nerd, taking it way too seriously loophole. We might have found it. Rather than drafting your team to have alternating bye weeks so you don’t have more than two players off at a time, what if you intentionally drafted so all of your starters shared the same bye week?
Drafting all of your starters with the same bye week would enable you to play at full strength for 16 of the 17 games of the year. The only downfall would be the one week where everyone is off, but I see no harm in taking one automatic loss when you know you will be operating at 100% for the rest of the season.
The theory was in place, so now to put it into practice. Before entering any mock drafts to test my strategy, I decided to take a look at the NFL schedule, to see if it was even plausible. In Weeks 5 through 8, six teams will have a week off at a time. Week 9 will have four teams off. Week 11, four as well. So, I examined the first four bye weeks. Turns out, it is likely quite possible to only draft starters (and a few backups) from any one of these weeks.
For example, let’s take a look at Week 5. Week 5 sees a bye week for the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins. Analyzing average draft positions*, we learn that in an 8- or 10-team league, with a mid round pick, you could compile an entire starting roster with players who share this bye week. Round 1: Ray Rice, Round 2: Steven Jackson or Peyton Hillis, Round 3: Miles Austin, Round 4: Dez Bryant or Brandon Marshall, Round 5: Tony Romo, Felix Jones, Jason Witten or Anquan Boldin. If you miss any of these players you can pick up Flacco in round 9 or Bradford in 10; Mike Sims-Walker in 9; or Chris Cooley in 12.
I have analyzed the results of Week 6-8 as well, and this strategy can be done, seemingly successfully, in all four rounds. So, if you’re in the same league you’ve been playing with for years and years, and you are looking for more of a challenge for yourself. Try this strategy out. I know that I will employ it in one of my leagues, just to see if it can work as well as it does on paper. If you decide to give it a whirl, let me know how it turns out.
To view the players available in weeks 6-8 that I omitted from this article, simply scroll to the bottom of the comments where I have posted the analysis.
And don’t forget to stay tuned to God Hates Losers throughout the season with daily updates, including weekly player rankings, draft strategy, pick’em, sleeper predictions, start’em sit’em, one-on-one answers to all your questions and much, much more. Tell your friends, dammit!
*ADP taken from fantasyfootballcalculator.com