2008 Schedule Quirks and You

The difference between a great fantasy season and one that leads to thoughts of next year is often the schedule. Some drafters prefer to avoid the "hassle" of looking at the schedule, only to find that they have no viable quarterback options for a key week eight matchup. The shrewd drafter will take a player rated much lower in anticipation of that one week where the stars align and a cupcake is on one player's schedule at the very same time his normal starter is leading his team into Baton Rouge. We continue our preseason coverage with a peek at some 2008 scheduling nuggets that have caught our eye.

- After a few years of not having to plan for byes weeks in Big Ten, times have changed. The Big Ten, tired of being left out of the late November TV sweeps, has decided to add a mid-season bye this year. The good news is not only do we have the potential for some snow bowls up in the Midwest, but Big Ten players will be available for the Championship game (week 13) in most leagues for the first time in a while.

- Some heavyweight quarterbacks and wide receivers: Graham Harrell, Sam Bradford, Pat White, Chase Clement, Michael Crabtree and Jarrett Dillard all have byes in week 12. Week 12 is the start of the playoffs for many leagues.

- I stumbled upon this anomaly while participating in a recent draft. Week 6 is a bad week for wide receiver byes...well at least for ones that I happened to pick. Six of our Top 20 wide receivers are on a bye in week 6: Chris Williams, Bryan Anderson, Antonio Brown, Aaron Kelly, Chris Gilbert and Kevin Jurovich.

- New Mexico State and Purdue have a bye in week 1. Owners of Chris Williams, Chase Holbrook, Curtis Painter, Greg Orton or Chris Summers will be testing their bench depth early on.

- West Virginia, South Florida, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Hawaii, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Washington, USC, UCLA, and a few others all have games in week 15. Most leagues will end their seasons with week 14 at the latest, making this an unusable game for many owners. i.e. You'll only get to use Pat White 11 times, where as you could use Sam Bradford 12 times. Note for Cincinnati and Hawaii this is a rare 13th regular season game.

One way your league can combat this unusable game is to combine week 14 and week 15 into a mega week. Allow your league's teams to start players from either week. It balances out the schedules and makes for high drama for the final two weeks of the season.

- The early season cupcake defensive match-ups are too numerous list. However finding these hidden gems beyond week four is always special, kind of like finding a rolled up twenty in your pocket following a late night. Here are some tasty mid-to-late season defensive match-ups to keep in the back of your mind on draft day and throughout the year:

Week 5 Akron at Cincinnati
Week 5 Morgan State at Rutgers
Week 5 Rhode Island at Boston College
Week 5 Weber State at Utah
Week 5 Pitt at Syracuse
Week 6 BYU at Utah State
Week 6 Kansas at Iowa State
Week 6 Western Kentucky at Virgnia Tech
Week 7 Central Florida at Miami
Week 7 Gardner Webb at Georgia Tech
Week 8 Syracuse at South Florida
Week 10 Tulane at LSU
Week 10 Arkansas State at Alabama
Week 11 Tenn-Martin at Auburn
Week 11 Syracuse at Rutgers
Week 12 Iowa State at Missouri
Week 12 Syracuse at UConn
Week 13 Cal-Poly at Wisconsin
Week 13 Army at Rutgers
Week 13 The Citadel at Florida
Week 13 Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Week 14 Syracuse at Cincinnati

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