Scheduling 32 NFL teams for a 17-week season is no doubt difficult, but the bye weeks this season are odd. That’s somewhat bad news for fantasy football players, but more on that in a moment.
There are multiple weeks with two teams on bye, but also multiple weeks with six teams getting the week off. And for maybe the first time ever, there are two teams on bye in Week 13 (Browns, Titans) even though there are no teams on bye the week before.
Maybe that was the only way, but whatever the case, for the next two weeks there are a total of 12 teams on bye.
Quarterbacks missing from action this week include Ryan Tannehill, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger (and Landry Jones), Eli Manning, Case Keenum and Colin Kaepernick.
It’s not an outstanding list, but there are no doubt fantasy football teams that are still looking to replace Big Ben or have been riding with Manning all season.
So what are this week’s options? There aren’t a whole lot because a few of these guys on bye were already popular bye-week replacements.
Marcus Mariota was a popular option last week, and for good reason, but the second-year quarterback struggled against one of the league’s worst pass defenses. He finished with fine numbers, but definitely didn’t instill any confidence in fantasy owners… or Titans’ owners for that matter.
The Jaguars look like an easy matchup, but I wouldn’t be sold on that just yet. The Titans will likely stick to the ground game per usual and that should work. To help, Jacksonville hasn’t looked much better offensively, which will allow Tennessee to run as much as they want.
These teams met on Thursday night last year and Mariota didn’t do much in a 19-13 loss. Sure, the second game these teams played finished 42-39, but that’s definitely not the type of game the Titans want to get in to.
Alex Smith may be the most added quarterback this week as he gets to face the Colts’ defense. There are a couple issues I see with this, though.
First, the Chiefs love to run the ball and they should have no problem doing so against Indianapolis.
Second, the Colts’ secondary has looked somewhat better in recent weeks now that it’s getting healthier. Yes, containing Blake Bortles and Mariota doesn’t mean much, but it’s not like Smith is incredible.
Smith has limited upside and if you’re fine with that, go with him. Just don’t forget about the zero-touchdown game he had against Oakland two weeks ago in a 16-point win.
Surprisingly, and maybe frustratingly, Ryan Fitzpatrick has one of the better matchups of the week against the Browns. Obviously, there’s no reason to trust him, but the Browns defense gets gashed every week.
The worry is that Matt Forte and Bilal Powell will see a lot of touches. However, Brandon Marshall should do what A.J. Green did to this defense a week ago. Fitzpatrick should be in for a couple touchdowns and 250 yards or so. Although I’m not saying he won’t throw an interception.
In a similar position as a hated fantasy quarterback, Brock Osweiler is also facing one of the worst pass defenses in the league. There’s no question Osweiler hasn’t looked good, but neither has Case Keenum and he had four total touchdowns against the Lions.
As a bonus, it’s looking like top Lions’ cornerback Darius Slay is set to miss this game with an injured hamstring. If that’s the case, the Lions don’t really have anyone viable in the secondary who can deal with DeAndre Hopkins or Will Fuller. Osweiler is bad, but that may not matter against this defense.
Maybe the only other option I would consider is Sam Bradford, and he’s another guy with a small ceiling, playing in a conservative, run-first offense. What won’t help is that the Vikings should be leading this game most of the way. That said, Bradford has thrown a touchdown in every start this season, so at least he has that.
Here’s my list of top bye-week QBs from top to bottom:
I can’t believe I just suggested using Brock Osweiler.