What does a 17-game season mean for fantasy?

March 28, 2021

Adam Schefter decided to drop a little bit of news on Sunday. The longtime ESPN NFL reporter tweeted that a 17-game schedule was almost a certainty and that an announcement was coming this week.

So what does that mean for you as a fantasy team manager? For starters, it means one more week of setting lineups. But beyond that, what does it equate to in terms of practical application? When a major change happens, I’m a big believer that it provides an opportunity to reevaluate everything and adjust. It gives commissioners and leagues the chance to shake things up. It’s an opportunity I would advise you to take.

Should your regular season or your postseason extend a week?

I would advocate for adding an extra week to the regular season. I get the appeal of having an extra week of “win or go home.” However, unless you want to have some kind of unbalanced bye week, it’s easier to leave it as a four-week affair. An extra week in the regular season is exciting and gives teams an extra chance at the race. Perhaps making it a rivalry or a best ball week instead of another head-to-head would be a nice change to the status quo.

Will NFL teams continue to sit players in the final week? Or because of an extra game, does that mean tie-breakers will come into play less often, forcing teams to play their starters in that final week?

My assumption here is that NFL coaches will do what they’ve always done because it’s always been done that way. Even though teams and the media like to throw around the term “innovation,” most coaches will not vary from what they know. When given a chance to sit players in the final game of the regular season with the team’s fate decided, most coaches will bench their dudes.

To back that notion up, because it will be impossible to finish at 8-8 (barring a tied game), it gives teams less of an out about being a “winning” team. You are either under or over .500, and you are what you’re record says you are. Coaches trying to get extended will likely play their starters in that final game, while teams looking to rebuild will be more inclined to sit them.

With the new schedule and fewer ties in the standings, the “will they/won’t they” will be taken out of the equation that final week as well.

Does that change my league’s trade deadline?

Maybe? That’s probably something that needs to be discussed on a league-by-league basis. I’d argue for pushing it back personally (cough, DJ, cough), but I am someone that makes most of my deals during that week. This may depend on whether your league’s trade deadline is based on a specific date (It’s always on November 1st) or on a certain week of the NFL season.

Will there be another bye week added?

It wasn’t part of Schefty’s tweet, so it doesn’t appear so. But, if the outcry about injuries and such is large enough, the NFL might add one on. (Alvin Kamara has already tweeted that the extra week is stupid.)

I mostly play DFS, what does this mean to me?

Outside of an extra week of gambling, my guess is nothing changes for you.