What would’ve happened in fantasy football leagues after Bane blew up Gotham Stadium during a game?
Fantasy football is equal parts fun, frustrating and, depending on the league, competitive to the point of being sad. I was 11-0 at one point last season and it consumed me. It was very sad. But what’s not unique about that is how seriously — and yes, it is very sad — some people take fantasy football.
So I wondered while passively watching The Dark Knight Rises for the 50th time — what would’ve happened in fantasy football leagues after Bane blew up Gotham Stadium during the game’s opening kickoff?
That one question led to a host of other questions, so let’s delve into this.
First: What happens if you had Gotham special teams/defense starting that week? Do you get credit for that touchdown? Heck, did Hines Ward even get credit for that touchdown? From what I can tell, Ward definitely scores, but was there an official alive at the end of the kickoff return to signal touchdown? Does that affect it? I’m going to assume it doesn’t, and at the time of the attack, Gotham led Rapid City 6-0.
There’s some tougher guesswork that needs to be done as well. There’s no way to know for sure what week of the season this is. It takes a couple months for snow to begin to fall in Gotham, so I think it’s fair to guess that this is the opening weekend of the football season. Bane wants to make the biggest impact, and opening Sunday is as big as it gets in America. It’s also safe to assume that this is a Sunday afternoon game and not the Thursday home game for the defending champions, because really, what team is winning a championship with Hines Ward as its primary kick returner?
I’m also going to say this was a 1 ET start time. This also sparks another question — if there is a terrorist act on American soil at 1:05 ET, does the league commissioner cancel the late games? What about the 1 p.m. games that just started? My sense is that based on response time to an attack of this magnitude, only the 1 p.m. games would be played on this day. The 4 p.m. games, the Sunday night and Monday night games would all be postponed to a later date.
The immediate problem is how do fantasy leagues handle the first week of the season in this scenario? Are you simply screwed if you had a lot of players in the late games? Do you get credit for all your players who accumulated statistics, and then when makeup games are played somewhere down the road, those stats are added back to Week 1? What if it’s impossible to find open dates before your league’s playoffs start? The retroactive nature of the games would cause issues for teams on the playoff bubble.
Since it’s Week 1, let’s say that the league would find a way to make up those games before Week 14, generally the earliest for your fantasy league’s playoffs to start.
The true problem that Bane has caused, however, is the loss of approximately 20 lives due to his exploding of the field. How do fantasy leagues go about dealing with this issue?
The one positive among this loss of life is most special teamers don’t factor into too many fantasy football lineups. Hines Ward lived, and usually the kick returner is by far the most valuable overall player on the field at the time. It’s possible a running back involved in a rotation was out there to block, or maybe a fullback who snaked touchdowns was on the kicking team looking to break a wedge or make a tackle.
The biggest loss is the death of the Rapid City kicker. Assuming he wasn’t a kickoff specialist, a kicker can be a major loss to a fantasy team if his club puts up 30 points a week. Going from a top-3 kicker to a guy you are claiming off the waiver wire is a huge loss for a fantasy football team.
So how does a fantasy league handle transactions heading into Week 2? Good question. If it was a league I was running, the order of priority goes out the window and anyone needing to replace someone who died at Gotham Stadium gets to make the first pickup. In this instance, if three teams lost a player, those three teams get first crack and the order is chosen at random between those three teams.
For example, if Batman’s Voice lost a kicker, Oblivious Commissioner lost the running back in a time share, and League of Chad Lowes lost the fullback who snakes TDs, those three teams get first crack at any free agents. After that, the free-agent priority goes back to normal.
But wait. Things are actually even more complicated now.
With Gotham under occupation for seemingly the duration of the football season, it doesn’t matter who lived and died in that attack because that team isn’t playing anymore games this season. Rapid City can continue playing games, but we have to assume Bane isn’t letting them leave the city either, so that’s two teams’ worth of players that will not accumulate stats for an entire season.
So perhaps you need to look at your own league’s by-laws under the George Costanza Plane Crash Rules. There has been a tragic loss of life here, but not enough to prevent the teams from playing games in the future. What’s preventing them from playing games is Bane and his overly elaborate way of torturing a man who is in a prison that was once escaped from by a 10-year-old girl but yeah Batman won’t get out of it. Great plan. Where was I?
Oh right. I think this would come down to your commissioner. If you have a dude running your league who had no Gotham or Rapid City players, that dude may be like, “Hey, too bad. It’s like a bunch of knee injuries, basically. Too bad.” Come on. We all know a guy running a fantasy league like this.
There are a couple of fair options here. Assuming Rapid City and Gotham are decent clubs, you’re looking at the unfair disappearance of about 15 fantasy spots (2 QBs, 3 RBs, 4 WRs, 2 TEs, 2 D/STs, 2 Ks) and they need to be replaced. Very likely, the teams that own those guys would get first crack at replacing them before Week 2 and, if you do it right, those transactions come at no charge.
But if you were in a league that had true understanding, the right and fair thing to do would be to do your draft over again entirely. It’s Week 1, guys. At best, seven games have been played. Just think of it as drafting on that first Sunday because no one in your league could find an open date so you are doing it in your friend’s basement at the last minute. You know who won position battles and who suffered injuries in the form of a horrible death at the hands of a madman with a funny voice.
And really, drafting over again is the only way to do it. For the next 16 weeks, there will be two teams not showing up for their games, which means the league needs to either rearrange the schedule completely or give teams second bye weeks, and that would be unfair because that wouldn’t affect every team equally. If you have a lot of guys on Metropolis, who I assume is a division rival of Gotham, that’s two games in which none of your Metropolis guys are going to play.
So if the schedule isn’t reworked and your league doesn’t draft over again, you may have two key guys on Metropolis who aren’t going to play against Gotham in Week 15 because it’s possible Gotham will be nothing but a crater. It would be a situation where even if you weren’t relying on Gotham or Rapid City players, you would be affected too.
In conclusion, I would say Week 1 goes completely out the window for everyone, you wait for either the new schedule or the announcement that the vacant Gotham and Rapid City dates would remain that way, then draft over again — using the same order — either via chat room or e-mail chain before the start of Week 2.
Of course, there is also the possibility that the league would cancel games for another week, or maybe even two weeks. Then again, if a football league makes a team play a game 24 hours after one of its players murders his girlfriend and kills himself, maybe the real stretch is assuming the Gotham tragedy would result in the 4 p.m. games being canceled.
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