The NFL, and football in general, is known as a “violent sport.” The intense, physical nature of the game is endured by players not just throughout the season but on each and every play. One of the most tragic examples of that came on Monday night when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin absorbed a hit to his chest while making a routine tackle. That play resulted in Hamlin collapsing on the field, going into cardiac arrest, and ultimately being driven to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
The fantasy football championship for many leagues will be impacted by the Week 17 matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, which was postponed due to a player's death on the field. The good news is Hamlin showed signs of improvement according to a statement from the Buffalo Bills.
Transitioning from a very real and much more serious topic involving a player’s life to a more fun and light-hearted situation like fantasy football is sub-optimal. Fans, teams, and players all across the NFL know the most important thing is not about fantasy but rather Hamlin’s health, and we can’t stress that enough.
Nonetheless, for the most part, Week 17 is fantasy football championship week and the Bills-Bengals game was supposed to be the prime-time matchup that determined the outcome of league championships. Sadly, that never came to fruition and now fantasy leagues, participants, commissioners, the sites that run fantasy football leagues, and even the NFL are facing an unprecedented situation.
Some of the league sites have already weighed in, giving league participants and commissioners a few options. Below is an outline of the proposed solutions from Yahoo Fantasy, ESPN, Sleeper, and NFL.com.
Yahoo Fantasy Solution for Fantasy Football Championships Impacted by Bills/Bengals:
The folks over at Yahoo Fantasy wrote an article with a status update for Weeks 17 and 18. They essentially broke it down into two scenarios:
- If the Bills and Bengals game is canceled
- If the Bills and Bengals game is rescheduled/continued.
Option 1 essentially says Week 17 matchups will stand “as-is” and scores will be finalized once the NFL makes a ruling. In other words, if your team got two points from Josh Allen or zero from Ja’Marr Chase, that’s it, the game is over and those are the points from your players, your matchup is over and whichever team has the lead is crowned the champion.
Option 2 allows for points to be added retroactively if the Bengals and Bills resume their game. This option seems like a much more fair approach but may be moot considering the NFL might not reschedule a matchup between Cincinnati and Buffalo.
ESPN Fantasy Solution for Fantasy Football Championships Impacted by Bills/Bengals
ESPN also put out a similar article outlining their solutions and is relying on the NFL’s verdict about what to do with the Bills/Bengals game before making any decisions on the status of league winners and Week 17 matchups. Like Yahoo, ESPN said it will appear the Week 17 winner is already finalized but it can retroactively go back and change or modify any stats if/when the game is resumed.
NFL.com Solution for Fantasy Football Championships Impacted by Bills/Bengals
Just like ESPN and Yahoo, NFL.com also published an article explaining what will happen with Week 17 matchups and the crowning of a league champion. The NFL summarized the situation very succinctly:
In all cases, the final statistics used to calculate fantasy scores will match the official NFL gamebook. League commissioners can use their admin tools to make adjustments if they choose.
Sleeper Solution for Fantasy Football Championships Impacted by Bills/Bengals
The Sleeper App is giving fantasy football commissioners two options:
- Week 17 is being called as is.
- If the game is resumed, commissioners will have the option to “re-run” Week 17 and include the added results.
The folks at Sleeper point out that Option 2 is not set by default and that commissioners would have to go back in and choose that solution manually.
The tragic and unprecedented circumstances surrounding Damar Hamlin have understandably caused confusion among fantasy football players but the important takeaway and focus should remain on Hamlin’s health. Fantasy football while awesome, fun, and entertaining, pales in comparison to a person fighting for their life!