A Fantasy Lockout too?
Athlon editors discuss NFL lockout's affects on fantasy offseason
By: Corby Yarbrough | 3/16/11, 11:29 AM EDT
The NFL owners have officially locked out the players and the upcoming 2011 season is in limbo. There is no player movement currently allowed. The only thing we know for sure is that the NFL Draft will still be held in late April. But what does the lockout mean for fantasy players? Are you a player that doesn't worry about your fantasy league's draft until this July or August? Or are you a player that keeps an eye on what's happening year-round?
So the question was posed to some of the Athlon Sports editors this week: How does the NFL lockout affect you as a fantasy player?
We wanted to address what our editors would be focusing on currently if there was no lockout and what their focus is now that there is a lockout.
How does the lockout affect you as a fantasy player? Or are we just a bucnh of fantasy nerds that should just concentrate on the fantasy football season a month before the season begins? Shoot us a comment or if you have any fantasy questions to any of our Twitter handles.
Steven Lassan @AthlonSteven
If there was no lockout, my main focus would be free agency and examining the coaching changes. With players on the move and depth charts changing for the next season, free agency is the time to start developing initial thoughts about how new acquisitions will fit into teams.
Coaching changes are also a big part of the offseason, especially with new systems and tendencies coming into play. Although most coaching changes aren't going to drastically change the fantasy value of most players, a new system can change how much certain positions/players are involved with the scheme, and examining the past statistical history from the new coach is a good starting point.
Even with the lockout, there's no need to stop the preparation for next year. I know there's a lot of uncertainty on when a deal gets done, but I can't see the labor situation costing any games on the field. Although the usual excitement for fantasy owners is somewhat tempered by the lockout, it's actually a good time to capitalize. Some owners may choose to put aside fantasy football until a deal is reached, limiting the time for their preseason research. I'm full speed ahead in preparing for my 2011 leagues, even with the limited free agency moves, the draft is still scheduled to go on and there's plenty of stats to examine from 2010.
Patrick Snow @AthlonSnowman
If there was no lockout, the NFL would have already experienced free agency at the beginning of March. Consequently, we would definitely have a better feel for several teams as far as their fantasy outlook for next season. For example, who will quarterback the Titans? Will Green Bay add a running back? Will the Colts fix their porous offensive line? The answers to these types of questions would make it much easier to begin ranking players, even with the draft still pending.
Instead, we are in a holding pattern just like the rest of the NFL. Rankings may change greatly when a deal is finally reached between management and labor. The draft will be fun with nothing else going on around the league, but the fantasy ramifications of the annual talent haul are usually fairly meager on the upcoming season. Hopefully, both the players and owners will realize how much money is at stake and come to their senses soon.
The lockout has yet to affect me as a fantasy player — other than making my longtime dreams of a UFL fantasy league more realistic and bringing a “replacement player” fantasy league into the mix. Who knows? Tiki Barber may play for the Giants and be a viable fantasy option again, after all.
This is NFL Draft season. I watch the Combine, Senior Bowl and any Pro Day highlights I can find. Although team, situation and opportunity are critical, I still think hard work and talent win out in the end. An Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson will be good on just about any team. And every season, at least one or two rookies break out. This year, I love what I’ve seen out of Bama running back Mark Ingram and, for my IDP league that also counts return yards, I think LSU’s Patrick Peterson is be the type of corner-returner who will make an immediate impact.
The lockout almost inspired me to start an intense workout routine in hopes of making an NFL team as a replacement player. I think I could be an undersized nickelback with an aversion to tackling — think Deion if he had no speed and exclusively covered the slot. All I would need is one highlight reel INT against a replacement QB — c’mon Jeff George — to make all the training worth it. On second thought, I’m just going to kick back and wait on the owners and players to settle their $9 billion worth of differences.
Corby Yarbrough @AthlonCorby
The lockout does nothing to me as a fantasy player expect disrupt my peace of mind.
My "main" league is a keeper/dynasty league. We have a salary cap of 1,600 points imposed. We can keep as many players as we'd like each year as long as our entire set of keepers stays under 1,600 fantasy points scored the previous season. So the NFL Draft itself is extremely important for my league.
While rookies like Mark Ingram, A.J. Green and Julio Jones may start to come off the board in the eighth round or so in most drafts, they are top-five picks more than likely in my league. The NFL Draft for my league, and I think even if you are in a standard league, it is a must to pay attention to the incoming crop of rookies because there are bound to be a few that can contribute for your team in the upcoming season.
I will watch NFL Network's Path to the Draft as I always have, and listen to Sirius XM NFL Radio's round-the-clock coverage as I always have to get a better grasp on the talent that will be in April's draft.
One other thing I have found myself doing this season is building a list of links from all sorts of fantasy Web sites. I am accumulating as much data as I can now to turn into a nice spring reading/studying list while we wait out the lockout.
Braden Gall @Athlon Braden
I might have to add a fourth MLB league. Maybe a second NBA or NHL league instead this year.
Since we are so far out from the season — and because I believe that the season will be played as normal — the lockout has little affect on my current fantasy rankings. After the draft takes place, the final big pieces should be in place — Cam Newton, A.J. Green, Mark Ingram, etc. With the exception of a few dozen middle of the pack free agent options, my big board will remain unaffected by labor agreements. I am pretty sure I know where Aaron Rodgers and Adrian Peterson will be playing next fall (even if he doesn't realize that slaves weren't paid $10 million a year).
Most Popular Articles
Contests & Promotions
Athlon Sports Fantasy Racing!
Enter the Athlon Sports Fantasy Racing game. Just head over to athlon.myfantasyracing.com and register for your chance to win a chance to watch a 2014 race from the grandstands. You'll also have a chance to win other amazing prizes such as an autographed Kyle Busch helmet.