The fantasy game changes next week. The first byes of the season are in Week 5, not including the hurricane-forced ones in Week 1, with the Falcons, Broncos, Saints and Redskins all taking a seat. That’s a cruel way to start the bye-week portion of the season, given how much fantasy power is on those four teams. Even by the most conservative count, fantasy owners will lose three regular starting quarterbacks, two starting running backs, anywhere between five and seven receivers, and a tight end. That’s a great way to introduce this season’s bye weeks.
As such, fantasy owners are going to have their depth tested, starting next week, all the way through the final byes of the season, which don’t occur until Week 11. That makes this a crucial week for looking around the league and uncovering hidden value wherever you can. You’re going to need as much of it as you can scrounge and hoard over the next seven weeks.
With that in mind, SI.com’s fantasy experts tackled the following question for Week 4.
This is the last week we’ll have all 32 teams in action until Week 12. What fantasy storyline is top of mind for you before byes begin next week?
Michael Beller: I’m going to spend a lot of time on Sunday, and in the early part of next week, trying to identify realistic buy-low players. This is on my mind for two reasons. First, desperation kicks in at this time of the season, and desperation creates buying opportunities. Second, with depth more important than ever now that byes are on the horizon, 2-for-1s and 3-for-2s become easier to execute, and those are the types of trades that can really move the needle if you can acquire the best player in the deal.
Everyone understands the principle of buying low and selling high, but it’s a lot easier said than done. I don’t care how short Le’Veon Bell has been of expectations through the first three weeks of the season, no one is selling him at a discount. The same goes for guys like Amari Cooper and LeSean McCoy. You’re not smooth-talking your way into a sweetheart deal for players of their caliber.
On the other side of this coin, no one cares if you’re willing to trade Isaiah Crowell or Lamar Miller for 80 cents on the dollar. There was good reason to be concerned about them, and other players like them, heading into the season, and the worst-case scenario is playing out before our eyes. Their owners are likely just going to have to grit their teeth and decide if they can continue…