Bye Bye Bye

Week Nine has been circled on my calendar for some time, because I knew this was going to be perhaps the stiffest test I’ll face in my fantasy season.

The matchup for this week is serious. It’s the league commissioner, one of the few league members I actually know personally (and the only one I regularly see day to day). So there’s not just online heckling – there’s good-natured in-person trash-talking this week. Fun. But I need to back it up to be able to hold my head up at work.

Plus, as you might expect for someone who sets up a fantasy football league, he’s pretty good. He’s got a 5-3 record like mine. I’m on a roll right now, but he’s been strong all season long. It’s no joke to face off against him.

But the main reason I’ve had my eye on Week Nine is the bye situation.

Six teams take their byes this week. Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, Washington.

No Houston means no Texans defense, even if I wanted them.

No Cinci means no A.J. Green.

No Washington means no Jamison Crowder to back him up.

No New England means no Julian Edelman either. And, more to the point, no Tom Brady.

I have to stream a QB and a defense for this week, to say nothing of patching together a wide receiver situation.

The QB and defense weren’t too bad. I just don’t have a lot of roster spots to waste on streamers if I want to hold on to my bye week guys for future use. (And I do – of course I do. Even Crowder, who’s just a backup piece for me, has been so good that I either want to keep him or get trade value for him. I can’t just cut him loose.) Elsewhere on my bench is Paul Perkins, who is entering the part of the season where he might be useful (and is something of a good luck charm for me anyway); Cameron Brate, my Kyle Rudolph insurance; and Tyrod Taylor, who I’m reluctant to simply cut even though it’s not looking likely that he’ll be trade bait. I was, however, holding two defenses, so I cut them both to make room for additions.

That’s right. So long, Texans. Thanks for the memories. I’ll stream you if I want you again.

Instead, I picked up Marcus Mariota as my QB. He’s had some surprisingly strong performances this year, and his matchup with San Diego this week has the look of a high-scoring affair. He probably won’t light the scoreboard on fire, but he won’t choke either. And his matchup is better by far than Tyrod Taylor’s, who has to face Seattle this week. No thanks on that. Let’s see what you got, Mariota.

For defense, I tried to get the Cowboys off of waivers – they face the Browns this week, and you know how much I love exploiting the Browns. Sadly, I’m not the only one who’s figured this out, and they were taken off the waiver wire ahead of me. I resorted to the Bills instead. Their defense has been mostly consistent, and their matchup with Seattle seems like it will be low-scoring, which suits me.

Then, yesterday after waivers had all cleared, Team rosellini cut the Minnesota Vikings D/ST.

Why, I do not know. The Vikings have the highest scoring defense in the league right now. As a whole, the Vikings are not as strong now as they were in the first five weeks, but it’s not because of their defense. Their offense has sputtered, but their defense is still good. Plus it’s full of Bruins. Sold.

I have a waiver claim in on them that will process late tonight. Hopefully it goes through and I can plan to roll with the Purple People Eaters through the rest of the season. Not having to stream a defense every week would be nice – one less thing to worry about.

So that takes care of two of my bye-week holes. The other two were both at one position, and they were much more complicated.

I had five WRs on my roster as of the start of Week Nine: Green, Randall Cobb, Edelman, Crowder, and Robert Woods. Three were on bye weeks. One missed Week Eight with a hamstring injury and isn’t guaranteed to play this week. One was Robert Woods.

In other words, I had no WRs to rely on.

And no roster spots to use on bringing in streamers, if I could even find any.

Cue panic mode.

I did stream one, and I cut Robert Woods to do it. (I know – the only healthy, non-bye WR I had? But I’ve never liked him much, and he hasn’t performed enough to be trade bait like I’d hoped he might be. I either need to play him, or I need his spot for someone I can play. He’s gone.) I picked up Brian Quick instead. Remember a few weeks back when I debated streaming TEs endlessly, and after the fact I realized that fandom was at least a deciding factor that would let me enjoy watching the games more? Brian Quick is a Ram. And he’s been playing well lately. He’s no stud, but he’s a solid contributor. He could get loose for me, and I’ll be hoping that he does.

As for the other WR slot? I have to cross my fingers that Randall Cobb can go. He has been practicing some this week, which is good news, but there’s no solid word one way or the other yet. Trust me, I’ve been obsessively checking. My problem here is that I have no solid backup plan in place if he doesn’t go. There are interesting waiver-wire candidates I could pick up in a hurry if he gets called out, but who would I cut to bring them on? I don’t want to do it now and commit to cutting a guy I don’t want to cut. So I’ll have to do it in a hurry on Sunday if it comes to that.

The good news is, Team BlueAndGold still looks good, even in this chaotic state. I have all three of my RBs going, and they are the key to my success. Elliott in particular has the best matchup, facing Cleveland, and an 18-point projection that he’s more than capable of backing up. It’s not the team I’d want every week, but it is still capable of getting the job done.

But more on that tomorrow, after the Vikings addition clears waivers (or doesn’t). For now, I’ll just be sitting here, worrying about Randall Cobb’s injury status and cursing the existence of the bye week.

It ain’t no lie.

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