Fantasy football draft season is officially here, and with it comes an unhealthy obsession with rankings, sleeper lists, cheat sheets, and draft strategies, among many other things. Despite all the planning and plotting, one factor that most fantasy owners gloss over on draft day is bye weeks. While there are no byes during the fantasy season, they will definitely factor into how your team will finish. Is there anything you can do to minimize the bye-week impact in 2022, or should you ignore the NFL schedule altogether and just try to get the best players?
Below, we’ll break down the 2022 byes and let you know which are the worst for each position. From there, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of three common “strategies” for dealing with bye weeks before offering up our advice.
DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2022 fantasy cheat sheet
NFL Schedule 2022: Bye Weeks
Week 6: Lions, Texans, Titans, Raiders
Week 7: Bills, Eagles, Vikings, Rams
Week 8: Chiefs, Chargers
Week 9: Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, 49ers, Steelers, Giants
Week 10: Ravens, Bengals, Jets, Patriots
Week 11: Jaguars, Bucs, Seahawks, Dolphins
Week 12: None
Week 13: Cardinals, Panthers
Week 14: Falcons, Bears, Packers, Colts, Commanders, Saints
2022 PPR RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WR’s | TE’s | D/ST’s | Kickers | Top 200 | Superflex
Notable overlapping bye weeks by position
Week 7 (Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Matthew Stafford)
Week 8 (Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert)
Week 9 (Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Trey Lance, Deshaun Watson)
Week 10 (Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson)
Week 6 (D’Andre Swift, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs)
Week 7 (Dalvin Cook, Cam Akers, Miles Sanders)
Week 9 (Ezekiel Elliott, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Javonte Williams, Elijah Mitchell, Najee Harris, Saquon Barkley)
Week 10 (Joe Mixon, JK Dobbins, Breece Hall, Damien Harris)
Week 14 (David Montgomery, Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Jonathan Taylor, Antonio Gibson, Alvin Kamara)
Week 6 (Amon-Ra St. Brown, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow)
Week 7 (Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson)
Week 9 (Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool)
Week 11 (Christian Kirk, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle)
Week 14 (Drake London, Darnell Mooney, Michael Pittman Jr., Terry McLaurin, Michael Thomas, Chris Olave)
Week 6 (TJ Hockenson, Darren Waller)
Week 7 (Dawson Knox, Dallas Goedert, Irv Smith Jr.)
Week 9 (Dalton Schultz, George Kittle, Pat Freiermuth)
Week 10 (Mark Andrews, Hunter Henry)
Week 14 (Kyle Pitts, Cole Kmet, Robert Tonyan)
2022 FANTASY SLEEPERS:
QBs | RBs | WR’s | TE’s | D/ST’s | One from each team
Bye-Week Fantasy Strategy No. 1: Ignore ’em
Our first strategy is straightforward. By ignoring bye weeks and simply drafting the top available players, you end up selecting the best-valued players at each round.
You shouldn’t let a player’s bye week stop you from drafting them. Let’s say you draft CeeDee Lamb as your WR1, don’t be afraid to take a potential breakout like Brandon Aiyuk in the middle rounds just because they won’t be in your lineup in Week 9.
Sure, there’s a chance you end up selecting several players with the same bye week (potentially in Weeks 9 and 14 this year) but even if you do, essentially forfeiting one week of the fantasy regular season won’t end your hopes of advancing to the playoffs.
Depending on the size of your league, more times than not there are ample free agents available on a week-to-week basis who are worthwhile streaming options.
2022 RANKINGS TIERS & DRAFT STRATEGY:
QBs | RBs | WR’s | TE’s | D/ST’s
Bye-Week Fantasy Strategy No. 2: Stack ’em
Stacking involves drafting a handful of players with the same exact bye week. This doesn’t necessarily imply you’re drafting players from the same team, though. For example, say you select Aaron Rodgers, Jonathan Taylor, Drake London, Terry McLaurin, Michael Thomas, and Cole Kmet. They all share the same bye in Week 14.
This strategy is done with the notion that you’re content with likely losing in Week 14 rather than having to deal with plug-and-play bench pieces over multiple weeks. This sounds like a worthwhile endeavor idea in theory, but it’s really tough to actually follow through with it.
Crafting your draft strategy around selecting players with identical bye weeks actually complicates things more than it simplifies them. You’ll most likely end up drafting lower-valued players to satisfy the stacking strategy, affecting you a lot more in the long run.
Just like in life, having a plan is great and all, but you’re going to encounter speedbumps on the way. It’s inevitable at least one of your players misses multiple weeks with injury; you’ll also inevitably have a few contributors you picked up off waivers or traded for. It’s tough to project out the season in August, and by stacking bye weeks, you put an unnecessary cap on yourself that hinders your ability to draft based on value.
2022 AUCTION VALUES (Standard & PPR):
QBs | RBs | WR’s | TE’s | D/ST’s | Kickers | Overall
Bye-Week Fantasy Strategy No. 3: Spread ’em around
Our last strategy is likely the most popular one throughout fantasy drafts. This one’s another self-explanatory approach, but we’ll still dive into its nuances.
Spreading your bye weeks around involves avoiding players with the same bye week as much as possible, even more so when players occupy the same position. This strategy limits the number of holes in your lineup throughout the fantasy regular season, giving you a good chance to compete each week. Like the other strategies, this is by no means foolproof.
It’s the opposite of ignoring bye weeks because it won’t allow you to take the best value pick in each round of your draft. In Week 6, the Titans and Lions share a bye week. Let’s say D’Andre Swift fell into the third round, would you really pass up on him even if you selected Derrick Henry in the first round? To us, that’s a negative-value move, and one that will likely hurt you in the long run. Expend your worries about Week 6 when it comes around, and cherish the fact you selected the best value pick of the third round.
2022 STANDARD RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WR’s | TE’s | D/ST’s | Kickers | Top 200 | Superflex
What is the best bye-week strategy in fantasy leagues?
There are certainly a variety of differing opinions on bye week strategy, and these approaches can work differently on a year-to-year basis depending on who ends up sharing bye weeks. Again, no one strategy is foolproof, but as long as you make note of a player’s bye week, you’ll be alright.
In our experience, mostly ignoring bye weeks is the best move, especially when you factor in waiver wire adds and in-season trades. Extracting the most value on draft night knowing you might hit a few speedbumps during the season feels like the most worthwhile way to approach bye weeks.