Fantasy Football

Nine Ways to Improve your (COVID) Fantasy Football League 

Football is becoming more of a reality every day! Thus, fantasy football is going to happen, yet this may be the most challenging year ever. Players will be subject to Covid lists, which can prevent players from playing for up to three weeks. With all that said, fantasy will be different. Commissioners and leagues have to adapt in order to make fantasy football fun for this year. How can we all do that? Well here are nine improvements you can make to better your league this year.

1. Add a Taxi Squad for Covid Players

Using the sleeper app, you can add ‘taxi squad’ roster spots which won’t affect your weekly points nor your bench spots. The taxi squad is typically used for a rookie or second-year players and in essence, typically acts as a practice squad. Yet it will be more useful this year as it can act just as a Covid reserve spot. This prevents the mixing of injured players and players in Covid protocol. People can still keep their injured reserve spot with an increased number of injuries. 

2. Less NFL Summer Preparation means more Injuries: Add More Injury Reserve Spots

Speaking of injuries, the lack of training camps, mini-camps, and no preseason games will have an adverse and compounding effect on injuries. We may see more injuries early on in the season. Specifically, less practice time and conditioning can result in nagging injuries (something to keep in mind when drafting). An easy way to adapt is to add 1-3 injured reserved spots so people don’t have to drop injured players. 

3. Increase the Number of Bench Spots

Bench spots are easy to add on every platform. Not only does the addition of bench spots allow more players to be picked up and stashed, but makes the league more competitive and deep. With Covid occurring (almost randomly), having more players will make it easier to set line-ups. As well, with more players on rosters, It enables fantasy owners to pick up handcuffs and backups, therefore bolstering their roster. 

4. Enable Players with Covid who Score Zero to be Swapped

For some platforms, there is an option to remove players who have played or are injured after their game has been played. This can be used when a player is designated ineligible to play due to Covid if they test positive before games. In the effort to make a league fair, some people are not able to set their roster several times a day. If you allow one or two changes it shouldn’t affect the integrity of the match up.

5. Have a Contingency Plan for Playoffs

Playoffs matter, and it is the only way to separate the true masters of fantasy football and the people who just aren’t good. Also, playoffs are important for league standing for future keepers/dynasty drafts as well as money leagues. So, creating a backup plan in case of a shortened season is important.

While the season shutting down halfway is unlikely, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan and share it with your league mates. Talk to your league mates about a condensed season or early playoffs. For my league, we have a contingency plan of a 10-week season and a two-week playoff. If you’re going to shorten the season, I suggest making the number of games played equal to the number of players you have in the league, then having the playoffs right after. This allows everyone to play each other and give the league time to flush out who is good and who is not.  

6. Have a Plan, when Money is Involved

In money leagues, make sure you have an agreed-upon plan for distributing and holding the money. Money tends to be contested when something isn’t fair, so I try to establish some ground rules in my money leagues. There are three rules I try to incorporate in all my leagues:

  1. There should be a deadline for payment (preferably before the draft). This way everyone is paid and no one can get a free season.
  2. Have a deadline for being paid out or for reimbursement. Nobody can complain about not getting their money back or winning the league 
  3. Once you pay to get into the league, you can’t get the money back (unless agreed upon by everyone). I think of this like buying food, once you have paid and took a bite, there are no take-backs. 

7.  C.O.M.M.U.N.I.C.A.T.E. & Allow Time for a Vote

Communication can make or break a league, so make sure you have a group chat through text message, Facebook, or the Sleeper app. With this said, having an active chat where you can discuss rules is important, especially when implementing changes. I prefer to have votes where you need 65% of people saying yes and I always try to give five days for a vote. 

8. Stay Flexible: Anything can Happen

While you should have contingency plans which dictate what happens for reimbursement of money and league standing for next year’s draft, things can change in an instant. Fantasy players need to be able to communicate with other league mates to make sure your league is viable. This can include making changes to include more Covid related or injury-related spots. 

9. Draft Late

Things are constantly changing, and while we can all stay flexible, people still need to plan the draft. Furthermore, the draft is basically Christmas, and you do not want to ruin your Christmas by having it early and seeing all the gifts you got (or players you draft) get Covid and not play. Simply put, the later you draft, the fairer it will be for all league owners. People will be able to decide if they want to draft players on the Covid list or not. 

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