Week 7 fantasy projections

Doug Martin could have big day against the New Orleans Saints' poor rush defense. Kim Klement/US Presswire

Last week, I reintroduced a theory of bye week trading that states that the best strategy for getting rid of your bye week problem is to trade it to the owner you play on that bye week. Navigating through your bye weeks requires a bit of cleverness, and that's about as clever a strategy as it gets. Today, I'm going to give you another bit of bye week scheming related to the two forgotten positions: kickers and defenses.

Scoring for these positions is notoriously random, which is why we don't typically deal with them in this piece. And in the context of bye weeks, defenses and (especially) kickers are so interchangeable that finding a viable replacement starter is usually only one free-agent transaction away.

I've identified one group of kickers and defenses with tough remaining schedules and their bye weeks ahead, along with a second group with easy schedules and their bye week behind them. You'll want to trade for the latter, and trade away the former if you have them.

Kickers and defenses to acquire

With their bye week in the rearview mirror, and an easy schedule over the next five weeks, perhaps no NFL team is in a better situation for the fantasy prospects of their kicker and defense than the Chicago Bears. Using a standard scoring system, Robbie Gould has the second-easiest schedule in that time frame, and over the next three weeks will face the worst three teams in fantasy points allowed to kickers (Detroit, Carolina and Tennessee). Chicago's defense doesn't have that favorable a slate, but it is the fifth-easiest overall, with Detroit and Tennessee also being among the bottom eight in terms of fantasy points allowed to defenses.

The other kicker to target is Tampa Bay's Connor Barth. The Buccaneers had their bye in Week 5, and Barth's upcoming schedule is the fourth easiest, with games over the next five weeks against the worst (Carolina), fourth-worst (Oakland) and fifth-worst (New Orleans) teams in kicker points allowed.

Kickers and defenses to dump

Two kickers highly regarded in fantasy circles that you should try to get rid of ASAP reside in the NFC West: David Akers and Greg Zuerlein. Obviously, both have their bye weeks ahead of them (Week 9), which means you'll be losing a game's worth of productivity from them in the near future. What's worse, over the next five weeks, Akers' schedule is the toughest and Zuerlein's is the seventh-toughest in terms of fantasy points allowed to kickers.

The Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles are starting-caliber defenses to jettison based on a remaining bye and a tough upcoming schedule. The Ravens and Eagles, in particular, are particularly sell-worthy given the injury- and coaching-related events of the past few days. Nothing of that sort has transpired with the Cardinals, but they do face three notoriously ball-secure offenses before their Week 10 bye (Minnesota, San Francisco and Green Bay), as well as the high-scoring Atlanta Falcons in Week 11.

On to the best and worst matchups for remaining players in Week 7: