Extended NFL Season, Adapt or Perish

Ignatius BroussardContributor IMarch 27, 2009

HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 09:  The NFL shield logo on the goal post during play between the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on November 9, 2008 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

"Analyze, and adapt," that was my coach's mantra.  So, when I found out the NFL may extend the season by one or two games, it really put a monkey wrench in my plans.

Last year was special. I came close to winning my league championship two years running.  I finally won (BLACK BEARS RULE!), winning was not actually due to skill as much as the luck of the draft.  I let the automated draft work for me, which gave me a curious mix of star and support players.  It worked well, but if the NFL goes to 17 or 18 games I have questions.

What happens to the bye week?  Does the bye week get eliminated, or does the season just start sooner by eliminating a couple of preseason games?  Personally, I prefer some preseason games be eliminated and allow teams to cut down rosters during the season...say by the fourth game. 

The elimination of these games seems to be a no brainer, since most players stay in condition all year.  Mini camps and OTA's can keep teams on the same page and  install a coach's new scheme.

Will the structure of fantasy play change?  In my league we have one QB, two RB's, three WR's, one TE, one K, and one D/ST.  Six players are on the bench and can be any position.  If the NFL extends the season, more players will need to be drafted.  Simply because of the pesky bye week. 

Generally, I will keep a quarterback, running back, two wide outs, and two d/st, but after the bye I will eliminate whoever is not performing.   Sometimes, just to keep the opposition from picking up a hot player, I'll grab him and bench him, or rotate in a player with a favorable match-up.

As far as teams using a three-back system, most teams are already using something similar.  Many teams are using a "cowbell," "third down," and a "hybrid" running back.  The way Denver went through running backs last year that may not be enough.  the  flex-back may be a new position on fantasy teams, possibly a player used for running, receiving, and special teams—a la Reggie Bush for the SAINTS. 

This is all about money.  NFL teams can charge premium prices for a product "that counts" in the final standings.  Preseason games are fun, but it is kind of like watching the rehearsal for a show...full of mistakes and gaffs, and you never get to see the marquee players for fear of injury.  

When I first learned about extending the season, the thought of more football broke through like sunshine on a cloudy day.   Now I am contemplating the gloom of many nights analyzing sit or starts.