COVID Impact on Fantasy Football

Dave Adamson,

Jonas Weinmann, Staff Writer

Every year fans put themselves through the grueling and mind-boggling “sport” of fantasy football. Every year they deal with the injuries to our star players and experience the letdown of picking a player too highly ranked who does not perform on par with their initial prediction. Every year they are surprised by players whom they underestimated and ended up winning leagues. That is what makes fantasy football so fun and addicting to many teenagers. This attraction was no exception this year even with the impacts of the pandemic on the regular season.

Over 500 NFL players were placed on the COVID-19 list throughout this season, many of them missing games because of it. In  Week 15 alone there was a five-day stretch where 151 players tested positive for COVID-19 .resulting in three games being delayed and multiple players missing games  Other Notable players who got COVID-19 this season included Lamar Jackson (Ravens’ quarterback), Christian McCaffrey (Panthers’ running back), Nick Chubb (Browns’ running back), CeeDee Lamb (Cowboys’ wide receiver), Travis Kelce (Chief’s tight end), and of course Aaron Rodgers (Packers’ quarterback). Games were lost and won solely because of COVID-19’s impact on team rosters. 

Despite all of the cancellations and missed games, this year had many prolific fantasy performances. Cooper Kupp, a wide receiver for this year’s Superbowl Champion team the Los Angeles Rams, stole the show and scored a total of 439.5 points per reception (PPR), the most out of any player, averaging 25.85 points per game (PPG). To put it into perspective on how impressive Kupp was, he scored the most fantasy points ever for a wide receiver, beating Jerry Rice’s 1995 season for San Francisco 49ers. 

Other fantasy standouts included Jonathan Taylor (Colts’ running back)  and Josh Allen (Bills’ quarterback), who finished with their top positional rankings in fantasy points, respectively. 

Because of these fantastic performances, the thrill of winning your league, and, probably, watching the person in last place endure a hilarious punishment, fantasy football continues to grow as a market. In the US and Canada, between 2007-2017, the number of fantasy sports players increased by 39.9 million players. With the continued emergence of the industry alongside sports gambling, fantasy sports, including fantasy football, will continue to grow more popular and cement itself as a solid part of sports culture, even in the midst of a pandemic.