Fantasy Football: A Pros/Cons Breakdown of the 'Week 11 Bye' Draft Strategy
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A funny thing happened on my way to executing three simultaneous mock drafts for The Fantasy Blog the other day.
At the No. 10 draft slot, I was flooded with a plethora of player options with Week 11 byes.
That had me thinking: What are the pros and cons of drafting a team mainly comprised of Week 11 byes, since the universal deadline date for fantasy trades is Wednesday, Nov. 14?
Citing Mock Draft Central's Average Draft Position rankings, here's a look at 12 potentially dynamic options for Rounds 1-12—when assigned a back-end slot in 12-team drafts:
(For Rounds 13-16, feel free to chase a backup QB, No. 5 tailback, kicker and D/ST with no bye-related constraints.)
Round 1—RB Chris Johnson, Titans
Round 2—RB Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
Round 3—RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
Round 4—WR Hakeem Nicks, Giants
Round 5—WR Percy Harvin, Vikings
Round 6—QB Eli Manning, Giants
Round 7—WR Kenny Britt, Titans
Round 8—RB David Wilson, Giants
Round 9—TE Jared Cook, Titans
Round 10—WR Nate Washington, Titans
Round 11—WR Sidney Rice, Seahawks
Round 12—TE Kellen Winslow, Jr., Seahawks
**Most fantasy owners would be thrilled to land Chris Johnson (1,465 total yards in 2011), Marshawn Lynch (one TD in 11 straight games last season) and Ahmad Bradshaw (19 TDs this decade) in the first three rounds, especially given the uncertainty of tailbacks Ryan Mathews (broken collarbone), Trent Richardson (knee scope), Jamaal Charles/Adrian Peterson (recovering from torn ACLs) and Jahvid Best (concussion).
**Fantasy GMs would enjoy a bye-free advantage over their respective opponents for seven consecutive Sundays (Weeks 4-10).
**Owners would double-dip their receiving touchdowns involving Eli Manning (4,933 yards passing, 30 total TDs in 2011) and Bradshaw or Nicks (28 catches, 43 targets, 444 yards and four TDs in four playoff games last season).
**By unloading their core starters right before the trade deadline, owners could potentially skip out on all bye weeks at tailback, quarterback and receiver.
**Fantasy owners could take a medium-risk flier on Kenny Britt (271 yards, 3 TDs in Weeks 1/2 last year) in Round 7 and then handcuff him with Washington (74 catches, 1,023 yards, 7 TDs)—just in case the NFL disciplines Britt for a DUI arrest in July.
**Jared Cook should be an excellent trade chip before the Nov. 14 deadline, paving the way for Winslow's advantageous starts against the Dolphins (Week 12) and Cardinals (Week 14).
**I didn't mention him above, but fantasy GMs would have extra incentive to draft Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph in the latter rounds. Rudolph could take a quantum leap forward in his second NFL season.
**The receiving numbers don't tell the whole story for Harvin, who also rushed the ball 52 times for 345 yards and two touchdowns last season. All told, Percy accounted for 1,312 total yards and eight TDs. Harvin has enjoyed significant bumps in targets, catches and receiving yards the last two years, and yet he still has much room for growth.
**This one's fairly obvious: If your team desperately needs a victory in Week 11, you'll have to cut a few trades just to be relevant that weekend.
**Other owners might be reluctant to trade for a player with an upcoming bye week. But then again, it might be extremely hard to pass on Chris Johnson, Lynch, Manning, Harvin or the Bradshaw/David Wilson handcuff in mid-November.
**For various reasons, Lynch (possible suspension), Nicks (recovering from broken bone in foot), Britt (possible suspension) and Sidney Rice (shoulder concerns) are not locks to play all 16 games this season.
**For those coveting a top-five quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton in Rounds 1 or 2, the "Week 11 Bye" strategy won't be so enticing.
**The same holds true for those targeting a high-end tight end like Rob Gronkowski (90 catches, 1,327 yards, 18 total TDs last season) or Jimmy Graham (99 catches, 1,310 yards, 11 TDs) at the top of the draft. Plus, Jared Cook and Kellen Winslow aren't locks to post stellar numbers with their respective teams.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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