If you’re investing an early round pick in a stud quarterback, you’re likely going to want to wait until the later rounds to procure your backup. In Best Ball, it’s important to make sure you have your bye weeks covered since you can’t just pick one up off the waiver wire. It’s easy enough to find which week your quarterback has a bye and plan accordingly to draft your backup from a team that’s playing that week. But in order to pick the best option, you need to consider the quarterback’s matchup that week and avoid the most difficult ones.
I wanted to take a look at the top seven quarterbacks, all of whom are being drafted within the first five rounds, and find the optimal bye week pairing for each one. Since you’re probably waiting before you draft a backup quarterback, I limited the options to quarterbacks with an ADP in double-digits rounds, which begins with QB-16. Keep this list handy if you’re planning on drafting with an elite quarterback.
Week 5 Bye
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
This is the first bye week of the season, so losing your QB1 for one game hurts less. Still, you never want to concede a game, so here are the top alternatives for week five.
Jordan Love (Round 12) Green Bay Packers at Las Vegas Raiders
This is a Monday night game in Las Vegas, so it’s a big stage for Love in primetime. The Raiders’ defense is ranked 30th for 2023, according to FFC’s defense rankings.
Bryce Young (Round 13) Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions
The Lion’s defense surrendered 261 yards through the air at home last season, third worst in the league. They also gave up 1.7 passing touchdowns, which was also third worst. The Panthers are an early five-point underdog, so I would expect this to be a pass-heavy game for them.
Sam Howell (Round 17) Washington Commanders vs Chicago Bears
The Bears gave up a league-worst 27.2 points per game last season. We have them projected as a bottom-six defense this year. Howell should get enough yards on the ground, along with with his passing stats, to turn in a decent fantasy performance.
Week 7 Bye
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Burrow is the only elite quarterback on bye in week 7.
Derek Carr (Round 12) New Orleans Saints vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville finished 26th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks with 18.6, in 2023. Carr is a veteran quarterback with some good weapons at his disposal in New Orleans. I think he makes for a good spot start here.
Jimmy Garoppolo (Round 13) Las Vegas Raiders at Chicago Bears
I mentioned the Bears earlier. They’re a great team to target when planning bye week replacements. Garoppolo should have no problem giving you a solid 18 points against them.
Brock Purdy (Round 16) San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings were dead last in the league in passing yards to opposing defenses at home last season. Purdy was a model of consistency, scoring between 15 and 21 points in each of his six starts. This is a recipe for a solid fantasy outing for Purdy.
Week 10 Bye
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Two of the best quarterbacks are on bye this week which puts fantasy teams at a huge disadvantage. You can’t expect to replace their fantasy output, but you can expect solid production from the following players.
Derek Carr (Round 12) New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Carr shows up a few times as a quality bye-week replacement. Given his ADP, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better replacement for your starting quarterback. He has a plus matchup on the road against a very exploitable Vikings defense.
Bryce Young (Round 13) Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears
The Bears show up a lot on this list with good reason. By week 10, Young should have enough time under his belt to put up consistent numbers against weak defenses.
Brock Purdy (Round 16) San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Purdy in the 16th round is one of my favorite targets. He was incredibly consistent last season and faces a Jaguars team that gave 18.6 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last season.
Baker Mayfield (Round 19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Tennessee Titans
The Titans gave up 291 passing yards per game on the road last season, by far the most in the league. Mayfield isn’t the most consistent passer, but he has upside in this game. Bonus points if you drafted a Bucs receiver, too.
Week 13 Bye
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
With a bye so late in the season, it’s especially important to get this one right. Playoff berths could depend on your backup quarterback’s performance. It’s also notable that three of the top seven quarterbacks have a bye this week, so other drafters might be targeting the same backups as you. I don’t think it’s bad to reach one round of these guys if you feel that’s what it will take to get one.
Kyler Murray (Round 11) Arizona Cardinals at Pittsburgh Steelers
This isn’t a great matchup for Murray, but at this point in the season, he should be fully healthy. Although his fantasy points per game have steadily dropped in the last two seasons, Murray still possesses great upside which could benefit your team over the second half of the season, if not just for this specific game.
Derek Carr (Round 12) New Orleans Saints vs Detroit Lions
The Saints have the Lions at home in week 13. Detroit’s defense ranked last in the league in yards per game last season. They also have a potent offense and are early road favorites in this game. It could easily turn into a shootout with Carr putting up some major yardage.
Jordan Love (Round 12) Green Bay Packers vs Kansas City Chiefs
On the surface, Love doesn’t look like a great target again the Chiefs. However, Kansas City gave up the 10th most passing yards on the road last season, primarily because the home team was playing from behind. I expect the Packers will need to throw the ball a lot in this game which should give Love a safe floor as your bye week replacement.
Sam Howell (Round 17) Washington Commanders vs Miami Dolphins
If you miss out on any of the above quarterbacks, Howell is a decent start against the Dolphins. Miami’s defense was awful on the road last season, giving up the third most passing yards. Howell should also add some yards on the ground giving your team a solid floor from him.
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