McFadden's Silver & Black lining
Bye weeks aren't just a nuisance around which fantasy football owners need to manage, nor are they simply a stretch when reality football players can kick back.
When they don't have a game, teams still examine their weaknesses. Players heal and work on technique and scheme comprehension. Heck, sometimes squads overhaul their strategies altogether.
When results show, there's cause for optimism. Case in point: the Oakland Raiders' Week 6 performance. Darren McFadden didn't leap back into elite status in his first trip back from his off-week, but he's getting closer. He ran with more purpose and seemed more comfortable with his offensive line's blocking. Penalties negated some big runs; while those bust-outs can often be the direct result of a helpful infraction and not a player's skill, he looked more like the Run DMC his owners expect him to be.
Carson Palmer, meanwhile, looked more efficient in running Greg Knapp's West Coast aerial O with a full complement of receiving targets on the field.
As evidenced by McFadden, struggling players can become optimal trade targets if you time your acquisition of them around their off-week. The Houston Texans want to involve Andre Johnson more. Expect them to work on ways to increase that when they're watching the rest of the league play in Week 8, and he might be a relatively cheap get because of his relatively average performance so far.
John Skelton has a chance to rediscover that late-2011 connection he had with Larry Fitzgerald now that Kevin Kolb (ribs) will be out a bit. Maybe the Arizona Cardinals can cook up a running game in that time, as well.
Sam Bradford has gone through offensive coordinators like Derek Jeter goes through ... admirers. Maybe he'll show a better comprehension of Brian Schottenheimer's offense following their Week 9 breather. The slinger has teased some good games this year already for the St. Louis Rams.
Maybe the Kansas City Chiefs will get solid QB play. OK, that's a stretch.
Yeah, that's a ton of maybes. Seven or so days of non-game action won't magically transform scrubs into studs, and some clubs are more than likely beyond rescue.
But if they have that refresher week coming up, there's at least some hope. Byes often serve as elixir not just for body bruises, but also for injured fantasy value. Don't write off your players with vacation time coming, and see if any of your opponents are giving up on any that will be resting soon.
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About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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