DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2019 Fantasy Cheat SheetLISTEN TO THE SN FANTASY WR PREVIEW PODCAST BELOW2019 NFL Schedule: Bye weeksWeek 4: Jets, 49ersWeek 5: Lions, DolphinsWeek 6: Bills, Bears, Colts, RaidersWeek 7: Panthers, Browns, Steelers, BuccaneersWeek 8: Ravens, CowboysWeek 9: Falcons, Bengals, Rams, SaintsWeek 10: Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, Patriots, Eagles, RedskinsWeek 11: Packers, Giants, Seahawks, TitansWeek 12: Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers, VikingsWhen considering bye weeks, figuring out replacements is one of the first things that comes to mind. That’s something that you can glean in part from strength of schedule analysis, where you can see which players with exploitable matchups you can target as your backups. That’s especially important for positions like quarterback and tight end, where there might be a large drop-off from your starter to your backup.2019 STANDARD RANKINGS:Quarterback | Running back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200But this particular article discusses how you can plan for bye weeks on draft day. We lay out the pros and cons of ignoring byes, stacking them, spreading them out, or putting them off until later in the season. They’re all options that could work for you. Use this list and the examples that go with it to conquer byes and dominate your fantasy league2019 PPR RANKINGS:Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Top 200Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: How to handle bye weeksStrategy No. 1: Ignore byes completelyIf you want one less thing to think about on draft day, this strategy will work for you. Most draft rooms or cheat sheets will include each players’ bye week, but for the sake of this strategy, simply act like those numbers aren’t there. The benefit to this strategy, in concept, is that it allows you to always draft the best player at a given spot. Obviously, you’ll be taking position into account to fill out your lineup, but you won’t ever pass someone up or target someone too early because of their bye. Rather, you’ll be able to go after the players you hold in the highest regard. This strategy also helps account for the fact that caring about bye weeks at the back end of your roster can be silly anyway, as you’ll have cycled many of those players out by the time bye weeks come around. Injuries will strike, pickups will emerge, matchups will be more/less favorable than you realized. Who knows what your starting lineup will be in Week 6? So, again, ignoring byers just helps you draft the best reserves for your roster.Of course, there are pitfalls to this strategy. Eventually, you’ll have to pay attention to bye weeks, even if that’s just while setting your lineup in Week 4 and you notice a couple players don’t have games. If you haven’t paid attention until midseason, scenarios you don’t want to deal with could sneak up on you.How this plays out in a draft: You just follow your rankings and cheat sheets. No bye-week planning means that whatever your normal strategy is will work just fine (unless it’s a bad strategy to begin with).MORE: Dollar values | IDP rankings | Best ball tips | Team namesStrategy No. 2: Stack one bye weekIf ignoring byes is extreme in one direction, this is just as extreme the other way. In a lot of statistical ways, trying to get players with byes in the same week makes sense. Sure, you are probably going to lose that week (but maybe not — you never know), but you’ll be at full strength every other week. Your opponents won’t be able to claim that. For reference, nine weeks of the NFL season have byes this year. So, if you play this strategy, you will be in trouble one week but have an advantage in eight other weeks, conceptually. This can be a tough strategy to draft for with traditional cheat sheets because you might have to do some bouncing around. It’s unlikely the best player(s) available when you’re drafting will have the same bye. You might have to force a few picks, which could mean you’re getting weaker players.One way this blows up in your face is if you abandon it too soon in the draft. Maybe you’ve decided you simply can’t get behind one or two of the draft-pick reaches it would require. But then you’re just worse off in multiple weeks. The other way this flops is if you pick the wrong week and are forced to select a high majority of your players from only a couple of teams, maybe teams that aren’t even that good.How this plays out in a draft: Essentially, you target players who line up with the given bye week you want to tank. There are six weeks with at least four teams on a bye this season, so we’ll put together what a quick, reasonably drafted QB-RB-RB-WR-WR-WR-TE lineup could look like that all feature a given bye week. Week 6: Andrew Luck, Tarik Cohen, Josh Jacobs, Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton, Allen Robinson, Trey Burton Week 7: Baker Mayfield, Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, D.J. Moore, Chris Godwin, James Washington, O.J. Howard Week 9: Matt Ryan, Alvin Kamara, Devonta Freeman, A.J. Green, Robert Woods, Tyler Boyd, Jared Cook Week 10 (six byes): Deshaun Watson, Leonard Fournette, Lamar Miller, DeAndre Hopkins, Julian Edelman, Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz Week 11: Aaron Rodgers, Saquon Barkley, Aaron Jones, Tyler Lockett, Sterling Shepard, Corey Davis, Evan Engram Week 12: Kyler Murray, David Johnson, Austin Ekeler, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Mike Williams, Travis Kelce (Could also execute Patrick Mahomes at QB and Hunter Henry at TE)These hinge somewhat on what pick you have to open your draft. If you have the eighth pick, you shouldn’t pursue the Week 11 lineup because you couldn’t get Saquon Barkley. Also, to point out the obvious: You’ll give yourself the largest raw total of players to choose from if you decide to stack Week 10 since that’s the only week with six teams on a bye.FANTASY SLEEPERS:8 QBs | 14 RBs | 11 WRs | 11 TEs | 6 D/STs | One from each teamStrategy No. 3: Draft as many different bye weeks as possibleThis is the opposite strategy to stacking one bye week. Instead, you purposely don’t pick anyone overlapping in bye with one of your players for as long as you can. In concept, this could carry itself out through nine rounds, since there are nine separate weeks with byes in 2019.If we ignore the possibility of injuries and underperformance (very likely things), this strategy can play out OK for your fantasy team. Once byes start, you’ll always be missing one key piece. Maybe it’s your third-round pick, but you still have eight of your first nine picks available to hopefully overcome it. The problem with this strategy is that things never play out like you’re anticipating. As soon as someone gets hurt or loses their job, this strategy blows up in your face. It’s also a strategy that doesn’t really allow for RB handcuffs if you’re following it wholeheartedly because handcuffs obviously have the same bye as the guy you’re handcuffing. So, if you’re a big handcuffer, this strategy might not be for you.How this plays out in a draft: For the first few rounds, you draft basically as normal, possibly avoiding a particular player because you’ve already drafted someone with that bye week. But after you’ve reached, say, Round 5, you’re really pigeon-holing yourself into particular selections to avoid byes you already have. You can go a variety of ways during the second half of your draft. If you choose to draft another set of nine players with differing byes, it will make your last few selections less based on upside and more based on the number in the column next to their name. Here’s an example, with FantasyPros composite ADP as a starting point, of how your first nine picks could look starting with the first pick in a 12-team league.Pick No. 1: Saquon Barkley (bye week 11), Leonard Fournette (10), Keenan Allen (12), David Montgomery (6), Cooper Kupp (9), Robby Anderson (4), Cam Newton (7), Dak Prescott (8), T.J. Hockenson (5)As you can see with this draft strategy, it’s hard to avoid reaching for the last three or four picks. If you were to take players from the two-team bye weeks with your first three picks (Weeks 4, 5, and 8), you’d have better potential to have options when it gets to that back half of your first nine selections.Strategy No. 4: Draft only late bye weeksFor the sake of discussing this strategy, let’s say you spread your players’ bye weeks evenly across the final four weeks of byes, Weeks 9-12. There are two possible benefits to this approach.The first comes in evaluating your roster and making moves. You won’t have to move on from that upside-laden backup WR too early simply to cover for a bye week. Instead, you’ll have time to see if he pops. Going with this, any player you’ve decided isn’t worth a spot on your team can be dropped before they’ve had a bye. By midseason, half the players you could add will have already had their bye, meaning you’re almost picking up an extra game on the wire. That latter idea also applies to trading. If you’re not in an active league, this probably becomes a moot point, but if you’re trading a player with a late bye week and your trading partner isn’t paying enough attention, you might “pick up an extra game” from a player who’s already had a bye. Taking this bye-trading method even further, you could trade a surplus for a player on bye in say, Week 6, when an owner needs to fill a slot, but then you’ll have that new player the rest of the way after maybe acquiring him at a value. How this plays out in a draft: This strategy essentially cuts off a large portion of the player pool. Fourteen teams have byes before the four-week period we chose to operate in. That means instead of drafting from all 32 teams like everyone else, you’re selecting from 18. That leaves you less margin for error in making the right calls.If you don’t like any of these strategies, I’m not really sure what to tell you. You probably at least want to avoid drafting two quarterbacks with the same bye week, if nothing else. The same could be true for tight end or defense (if it makes sense in your league to draft two of those). In general, use common sense. Bye weeks aren’t the thing that will make or break your season, but they could certainly make it a bit more fun if you handle them correctly. Fantasy football owners don’t get bye weeks. Instead, we have to deal with the fallout of the byes — that valuable missed time of our precious draft picks and waiver-wire acquisitions. So, bye weeks become just another aspect of draft strategy. Rankings lists and cheat sheets often feature players’ byes right next to their names, but most fantasy owners just ignore them. Should you, or is there a way you can use them to your advantage?Before we go any further, let’s lay out the 2019 bye schedule. It will do you no good to carry out any of the draft strategies below if you don’t know a given player’s bye week. Byes run from Weeks 4-12 this season, with three weeks of two teams on bye, five weeks of four teams on bye, and one week of six teams on bye.