How the NFL’s Week 14 Byes Might Affect Fantasy Football In 2021
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Jonathan Taylor
The expanded 2021 NFL schedule has most fans excited for an 18th week of play, but the extra game could come at a price for fantasy football.
An unexpected impact of the extra week is a late bye for some teams during Week 14, which has historically been when the first round of fantasy playoffs kickoff. The additional week is a novel consideration for managers this season, but should be easily navigable with adequate preparation.
“Fantasy players are nothing if not adaptable,” ESPN’s Matthew Berry told Peter King. “Last year, we all had to deal with Wednesday afternoon football.”
Below, we address how the Week 14 byes could impact fantasy football.
How many NFL teams have Week 14 byes?
Four teams have a Week 14 bye.
Which NFL teams have Week 14 byes?
The New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles will be on bye in Week 14.
Which fantasy-relevant players will be impacted by Week 14 byes?
Managers will need to find fill-ins for notable players such as Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Jonathan Taylor, T.Y. Hilton, Will Fuller V, Mike Gesicki, Myles Gaskin, Miles Sanders, Jalen Hurts, Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz, among others.
All of the teams’ D/STs and defensive players (if you happen to play in IDP leagues) will need to be replaced as well.
What do Week 14 byes mean for fantasy football?
Some platforms may default to extending the regular season to 14 weeks, meaning that the Week 14 bye would only impact a regular-season — albeit crucial — matchup.
Other platforms, such as ESPN as alluded to in King’s weekly Football Morning In America column on Monday, may default to using the extra week to extend the first round of the playoffs into a two-week cumulative matchup. In this situation, the playoffs would be impacted by the Week 14 bye, but the impact would be mitigated by being spread out over two weeks.
A less-than-ideal scenario would entail keeping the standard 13-week regular-season schedule and extending the playoffs to span from Weeks 14 through 17. This would mean that the first round of the playoffs would be fully impacted by the late bye this year.
Of course, these defaults can be altered at the discretion of your league’s commissioner.
How should fantasy managers alter their draft strategies to account for the Week 14 byes?
First and foremost, fantasy managers should be well-acquainted with how their specific league is handling this change long before their drafts. Do not assume that your league will be handling it in the platform’s default fashion, and be sure to triple check all of your league’s settings before you’re on the clock.
For all intents and purposes, you will treat it like any other bye week, which means you will need to find backups either on your bench or on the waiver wire.
Your draft strategy should not change aside from being cognizant of the new schedule and your roster’s overlapping byes.