Wednesday - Oct 28, 2020

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KEEPING AHEAD: The COVID Chronicles

Well … we at least made it through three weeks, right?

No need to beat around the bush – this situation just isn’t great folks. We have our first COVID-related postponement and assuredly, this will not be the last. If you missed the news, let me catch you up.

Minnesota and Tennessee played last week and apparently on Saturday, a person in the Tennessee organization had tested positive for COVID-19. Since teams don’t test on game days, the game went on as scheduled and since then, eight additional Tennessee coaches and players have tested positive. This resulted in Tennessee and Minnesota both shutting down facilities and now, as of this writing, the upcoming Pittsburgh-Tennessee game has been postponed. While I am sure you will have more information by the time this article is published, it still stands to reason that this is not only unwelcome news for many fantasy owners, but also fairly unprecedented (although we’ve had postponements in the past due to weather).

As a result, my inbox has been flooded with Sharks asking for advice on what to do with their Week 4 roster and my answer has mostly been … I don’t know.

Now that’s not entirely true, and those of you who regularly email me know that I try to respond with the best analysis I can, each time. But to put it frankly, we simply don’t know how this is going to shake out this week let alone in coming weeks. There may be more cancellations, postponements, etc. and we have to do our best as fantasy managers to “weather the storm” as it were.

That being said, I have a few ideas on how you can construct your roster to best suit these crazy times.

Try to Avoid Teammates

I’ve mentioned this previously but it’s important to reiterate here. The idea of “stacking” (putting two players from the same team into your lineup) is an age-old fantasy strategy that has defenders on both sides. On one side, having both Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett/DK Metcalf is clearly a potent combo and one that most likely has allowed you to cruise to victories over the past couple weeks. A long touchdown from Wilson counts as double if one of your guys catches it, and the appeal is fairly obvious in scoring a boatload from a single play.

But what if their game is canceled altogether?

Having teammates puts you in an uncomfortable, and frankly, losing spot if an entire team is unable to play in a game due to COVID-related postponement and, while the appeal is obvious, it can’t possibly outweigh how devastating this loss would be for your team if this happened. So avoid the stack, avoid teammates and diversify your roster.

Build DEEP

Those of you who read last week’s column (thanks Mom!) will probably look at this advice and then immediately look back at my trade column and notice the two strategies don’t line up very well. In that piece, I advocated for doing 2-for-1 trades, where you give up depth and acquire the best player in every deal.

So what gives?

Well, if COVID is a concern of yours (and it should be), you need to build your roster in such a way that you can handle games being canceled or moved. Don’t trade away depth just yet. Pick up that fourth running back or second quarterback off of waivers just to make sure you are covered. You don’t want to be left with no options on Sunday.

Don’t Panic

This is the most important one. I have seen some crazy emails this week from owners panicking about the potential of losing Derrick Henry, JuJu Smith-Schuster or Dalvin Cook this week, and considering horrifying trades just to make sure they are covered in the event the game is canceled.

Stop. Put down the phone. Ignore the trade request from that league mate, and realize it’s just one week. Will you lose if those players sit this week? Maybe. But the season is long and there are a ton of games left to play. We have no idea what this will look like, so please don’t send your blue-chipper to an eager owner ready to cash in on your anxiety.

Read on for this weeks Hits, Holds and Folds..

About MJ Brown

MJ Brown has been an avid fantasy football keeper league enthusiast and player for over a decade. A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, MJ delivers weekly content on multiple platforms, bringing a combination of advice, humor, and tips to keep your team at the top of your league.