For the NFL and its effort to craft a 2021 regular-season schedule, the 102,844th time was a charm.
For millions of fantasy football players, there was one thing about it that wasn’t charming.
Peter King points out in his Football Morning in America column that the league opted to park a quartet of byes in Week 14 without realizing that it would land on the first week of fantasy playoffs. On that weekend, the Patriots, Colts, Dolphins, and Eagles won’t play.
King notes that ESPN leagues likely will apply a cumulative approach to that postseason round, with the games stretching over two weeks and eight quarters. That will lessen the impact of such a late bye week, but for those who make fantasy a big part of their football-season reality, it becomes an important consideration when putting teams together for the 2021 fantasy season.
Another possibility would be to simply add a week to the fantasy regular season, starting the playoffs in Week 15.
It’s not an ideal situation for the fantasy crowd (which generates plenty of interest and revenue for the league), but it’s one of the byproducts of stretching the regular season over 18 weeks. For example, one of the teams that will be off in Week 14 — the Dolphins — specifically asked not to have a bye after playing the Jaguars in London in Week Six. (Miami instead has a home game the following Sunday against the Falcons, who will be emerging from a bye after a Week Five game in London against the Jets.)
The good news is that those who play fantasy football can account for this quirk when putting their teams together. Plenty of other factors, including most notably injuries, can’t be.