Welcome to bye week hell. With six teams on bye, fantasy owners are left in a bind for Week 8, as the options to keep lineups across the spectrum competitive have dwindled. It would be nice to reassure fantasy owners that it only gets better going forward, except Week 9 will have six more teams taking their bye weeks. Fun times.
In the meantime, fantasy owners can look at each game to see who can be a capable fill-in while their studs are sidelined, starting with the Bills and Patriots.
Speaking Thursday, Rex Ryan said LeSean McCoy’s status was similar to Week 7’s, when he injured his hamstring and was rendered ineffective in his team’s ensuing game. It turns out that McCoy’s status is doubtful instead of questionable, and why any fantasy owner would want any part of him would be a mystery after McCoy’s predictable dud. Mike Gillislee can be considered the preferred option in Buffalo’s backfield for Week 8, but against an imposing Patriots defense, he is a boom-or-bust flex option.
Even with six teams on bye, the downside of Tyrod Taylor, Robert Woods and Charles Clay does not make any of the three start-worthy.
New England Patriots
The second meeting between these two teams will look a lot different than the first. Rob Gronkowski is fully healthy, and it will be Tom Brady, not Jacoby Brissett, throwing his way. Both are must-starts as usual, and LeGarrette Blount can also be penned into lineups against a Bills defense that is surrendering 125 rushing yards per game.
Fantasy wealth is abundant in this Patriots offense, but it may not trickle down throughout the lineup each week. It leaves lower ceilings in place for Julian Edelman, James White and Martellus Bennett. The Bills have allowed just four passing touchdowns in 2016, and while no one would be surprised if Brady throws that total all in one game, it would be hard to bank on. Edelman always has a decent enough floor in PPR leagues to be considered a WR2/WR3, but White is far more volatile in a game that Blount could monopolize out of the backfield. Bennett continues to nurse an ankle injury, and is a boom-or-bust TE1 after seeing just 30 snaps in Week 7.
Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola can remain on benches, even in a bye-laden week.