The NFL has been far from perfect this season, but nothing in 2020 has been either.
Prior to the season, the league decided to remove their four preseason games to help limit the contact with other players due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Week one of the NFL season started on September 10, with a Thursday night matchup between the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans. It brought joy to many football fans to have the NFL season go on as planned but for many fantasy football managers that joy was taken away quickly.
Right off the bat in week one, teams were hit with the one thing fantasy football managers and football fans hate the most, injuries.
The San Francisco 49ers, who many saw as the best defense statistically as well as in fantasy football last season, lost several key players on their team early.
Within the first three weeks of the season San Francisco lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end George Kittle, defensive end Solomon Thomas and reigning defensive rookie of the year Nick Bosa to injury just to name a few, with the latter two suffering season-ending injuries.
The 49ers weren’t the only unlucky ones as the New Orleans Saints lost their pro bowl wide receiver and 2019 receptions leader Michael Thomas with a high ankle sprain. According to Yahoo Fantasy Football, Thomas is rostered in 99% of their leagues.
In only the second week of the season, two more superstars went down with huge injuries.
New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley went down with a torn ACL and is out for the remainder of the season.
Carolina Panthers pro bowl running back Christian McCaffrey was out for at least 3 weeks after he suffered high ankle sprain. McCaffrey is still rostered in 100% of Yahoo leagues despite the injury.
There was some slight speculation that the reason both the plethora of 49ers and Saquon Barkley suffered their injuries was due to the turf inside of MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey. In weeks two and three, the weeks where San Francisco’s players saw the most injuries, they played at MetLife Stadium.
There has not been an official investigation into the turf by the NFL this season.
Thomas, McCaffrey and Barkley have all been projected early round picks in fantasy football drafts for the past 3 seasons. Replacing such high caliber players like this in a fantasy football season is stressful and one of the most difficult parts of the game.
It has also been speculated the first 4 weeks of the NFL this season have been plagued with so many injuries due to the lack of any preseason games.
The players didn’t really have time to get adjusted to game speed, especially since training camp was also done with very limited contact due to COVID-19.
Some players have not been producing on the same scale that they usually have been in their careers and others have been hit with small lingering injuries resulting in a digression in numbers this season.
Week four saw the league get hit with one of the biggest fears fans had prior to the season, a COVID-19 outbreak.
The Tennessee Titans became the first team to suffer from a COVID-19 outbreak and their current confirmed number of positive tests stands at 22.
The first rounds of cases came prior to the Titans scheduled matchup against the Pittsburg Steelers. The positive tests caused the NFL to postpone the game to week seven giving each team an earlier bye week than they planned for.
This caused many fantasy football managers to scramble to find replacements if they had any Titans or Steelers players on their roster.
The New England Patriots were the latest team to suffer from positive COVID-19 tests as quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for the virus prior to their game to the Chiefs. Luckily they didn’t have to move the game to another week as they pushed the game to Monday, Oct. 5.
For the fantasy football managers that had Newton on their roster, it was yet another bump in the road.
Now coming into week 5, NFL fans and fantasy football managers alike are hoping for some sort of consistency for the rest of the season.
Whether the first month of the season was a sign of things to come is yet to be seen but all football fans can do now is hope for the best.