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2018 fantasy QB strength of schedule: Bye week fill-ins and perfect pairings

Nov 19, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) and Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) shake hands after the game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we’ve explored our general schedule thoughts and early-season analysis, it’s time for more player-specific recommendations. Whether we start one or two quarterbacks, or if we’ll make weekly lineup decisions or play best ball, it helps to know which passers’ schedules fit well with their peers.

Below we will suggest the best schedule-based contingencies to cover each bye week, examine a quarterback whose schedule synchs up with a wide range of other passers, and suggest optimal pairings for every signal-caller – including the Perfect Pair.

In single-quarterback leagues, the pairings are clearly more useful for mid- to late-round quarterbacks than someone who we’ll almost never bench, like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. In best ball, superflex, and two-quarterback leagues, their utility is more obvious.

When Brady visits Jacksonville, having backed him up with a passer enjoying an exploitable matchup — instead of simply having looked for someone without the same bye week — is a small-but-worthwhile extra step. Comparing each quarterback for every week is a significantly larger step. Fortunately, we did it for you.

Before we get to those, however, let’s zip through the bye weeks.

Bye week Band-Aids

In single-quarterback formats, planning for bye weeks is not a priority. If you haven’t heard (you’ve definitely heard) the position is as deep as ever. Spend precious roster space on upside running backs and pass-catchers. Fantasy rosters don’t need a baseball-capped, clipboard-toting backup quarterback because it makes us feel better. Football isn’t about feelings. It’s about analytics. Ask Jon Gruden.

Thankfully, the popularity of superflex and two-quarterback leagues is growing. Best-ball formats also require multiple passers. With any of these variations, having a grasp of which easily acquirable quarterbacks have advantageous matchups during bye weeks can help synch up optimal pairings. Or even trios, if you’re into that.

Week 4 (Byes: Panthers, Redskins)

A light week for byes won’t stress available quarterback depth, especially early in the season when everyone is healthiest. Whoever is throwing to the Browns’ plethora of weapons might be available to stream in Oakland. Case Keenum welcomes the Chiefs’ thinned-out defense to Denver, and Blake Bortles gets the Jets in Jacksonville. The truly desperate can look to Joe Flacco for his matchup in Pittsburgh, after what should be a rocky opening three games.

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