Since early March, we here in the United States have been feeling the day to day ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, here in July, NFL fans are about to feel the first effects of the coronavirus to their everyday NFL routine.
Sure, we had a very different NFL Draft back in April and yes, OTA’s and mini-camps were out the window, but now training camps are scheduled to open in just two weeks, on July 28th. That reality of whether there will actually be NFL football this Fall is now here and about to unfold…we think. Will camps open? The league office is hell bent on it happening. As for the players, they are a little less sure. Gone already are two preseason games and now, the players want the other half gone as well. Still to be decided are the daily protocols on what camp and then practice and gamedays will look like. How will the economics work out? This upcoming week is an important one on that front as the NFL and NFLPA talked again on Monday about the 35% escrow provision the owners want to roll out for the 2020 season revenues. Those talks reportedly will continue on Tuesday.
So, if everything gets worked out and yes, that’s a big IF and the virus allows games to be played, we have important questions for us, the fans and more importantly for some, the fantasy football player! Just how will you adjust your strategy to your draft and more importantly IMHO, how will your league react and be proactive about players that test positive and can’t play for a week or two. What happens if all of a sudden, there’s a run on players and a team is decimated by 10-15 players being out for any given week. How will your league deal with it? Is your league provider equipped to deal with the changes?
I for one, as a commissioner of a league for over 13 years, want to look ahead now and make sure that there’s flexibility. I’ve already reached out to our league provider to see if there will be an option for bench or injured reserve spots specific to the players that test positive for COVID-19 and can’t play. This to me is an absolute MUST HAVE if fantasy football in 2020 is going to work at all. Teams and team owners will need the choice to add on a dime and I’m just not sure the fantasy football world is ready for that just yet. Here’s hoping I’m wrong. We all could use the distraction in these unprecedented times!
It’s time to think out of the box just as we’ve had to do in our daily lives to change work, school, family and social activities since March just to stay healthy and safe. In the end, I’m just hoping we have games to enjoy and fantasy games to be won.
It’s time to rethink conventional wisdom when it comes to roster construction, roster size, and bench availability. All of it should be on the table before you set your draft order. So, take a look at your league, strip it down to the bare bones and rethink the strategy before you hit those renew links. Maybe through all of it, you’ll find some new and fun ideas you never thought could’ve happened in seasons past.
Good luck to all and yes, wear a mask! Stay safe all!