The NFL season is finally upon us, yet the mystery of how COVID will effect the NFL still looms.
The NFL has made major strides in an attempt to make the game safe for players and fans. As a player of fantasy football, covid may have you wondering, “should I be make any changes in how I play fantasy football right now?”
Here are some tips to embracing fantasy football during one of the most unprecedented season in NFL history.
HOW TO LEAD AS COMMISSIONER DURING THE PANDEMIC
LEAN INTO THE CHAOS OF COVID
The best way to counter COVID for fantasy football is to simply lean into it. If COVID is going to disrupt your league, you might as well use this as an opportunity to try something new. There are many styles to try.
Best Ball – Where you draft and set your team all at once. There is no need to fiddle with your roster because the scoring selects the best possible combination anyways. You are protected if a player is out. DraftKings has options as low as $1.
Auction League – It requires more time in the beginning but opens up the playing field so everyone has a chance.
Vampire Leagues – I love this idea. Everyone drafts as normal except for the vampire. They select their team after everyone else. If they win a game, the losing opponent shamefully gives up a player of the vampire’s choosing. It’s harsh but super thrilling.
Superflex – The next stage in the game is Superflex. Fantasy Footballers even predict it is the default in a short period of time. Better get ahead of the curve!
All Flex – Maybe this is the year play it simple and change all skill positions to a flex spot. This allows roster spots to be more flexible. Pun intended.
Guillotine Leagues – I’ve never participated in this playstyle, but it sounds amazing. There is no head to head matchups. The lowest score of the week drops from the league. Their players drop to waivers. It is far from your standard drafts.
ESTABLISH EXPECTATIONS EARLY
Establish expectations early before COVID steps in and ruins everything. Set clear guidelines to declare a champion even if the season ends early. I think playing through week 8 makes the most sense because half of the NFL bye weeks are by that point.
ADD ROSTER SPOTS
Under the new CBA rule, NFL teams added spots to their practice squad, game-day active roster, and more. In addition, teams designate players to IR for a minimum of three weeks instead of six. The NFL made these changes because they know COVID will have an effect on the game. Teams need flexibility, and so do you. Add more roster spots or at the very least, at more IR spots for COVID.
HOW TEAM MANAGERS CAN PREPARE FOR THE COVID SEASON
BE AWARE OF FOOTBALL PROXIMITY TO COVID SPIKES
I am not a doctor, but I know the likelihood of a canceled game increases with the number of infected cases. COVID will certainly have a negative effect on Fantasy Football. Below is an image from John Hopkins COVID Resource Center. The darker the color the more cases there are in the area.
Cross-reference denser infection rates with NFL Teams hometowns: Chargers, Rams, Cardinals, Texans, Saints, Falcons, Panthers, Jaguars, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Jets, Giants and Patriots are all in these areas. It is possible that COVID Influences these teams more than the others.
Add your main handcuff to your bench. With added bench spots you can afford to roster your handcuff, and it might just come in handy when your started is put under COVID protocol. It’s an easy switch if he is already on your bench. Nearly impossible if he is not. The same is true for receivers but to a lower extremity.
PLAN AHEAD AND STEER CLEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
Also, place your earliest games in your starting RB or WR spots. It is much easier to adapt to circumstances if your flex is available. The running back or wide-receiver starting spots limit you to those positions, but the flex does not. So stop thinking about the positional spots as “the best player” and think more about it like “the guaranteed games.”
Roster players from all over the league. I’ve witnessed it with my own eyes. Players don’t always take precautions when it comes to COVID. They stand within six feet of each other without the use of masks. Odds are if one player gets COVID, they all will – or if not, their positional room could be placed on the COVID list for coming into contact with someone with COVID. The most efficient approach is to diversity your roster by selecting players from every conference to the best of your ability.
Be cautious and patient with rookies. With limited training camps, they may start slow. Unless they are CEH with the Kansas City Chiefs, you may do well to bench your rookies week 1 or until they have proven themselves – which is the philosophy of many professional coaching staff.
Dynasty is a whole new twist on the game of fantasy football. One that I have grown to love. But how does COVID effect dynasty? College conferences have proven to not be on the same page. Some conferences will play in the fall. Others are pushing it back until October, while others are still debating a spring start.
What does this do to professional prep? No one truly knows. If NCAA continues football in the spring it will overlap many of the events linked with the NFL draft. College athletes have begun to withdraw from the 2020 season in order to safely prepare for the NFL. Waiting a whole year for a real football experience is a daring move. 2021 rookies may be in a worse situation than the current 2020 class.
This brings me to my final point that future draft picks may result in disappointments. The hit rates for rookies are already low, and without a normal season to prepare for the NFL, I suspect those hit rates to drop.
BE SAFE AND SMART
COVID is nothing to take lightly. Its effect on the economy, government, and culture of our nation has already revealed itself. Fantasy football seems trivial in the time of COVID but when something brings you joy in dark times then you got to ride that train until the end. Enjoy the season, and remember to utilize these tips to help you along the way.
Be sure to follow Jeff Roberts on Twitter @FantasyRoberts for more.