Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Lots of talk recently about the idea that the NFL could 'lose' two exhibition games and extend the regular season by two games.

Of course, this would be exciting no matter what form it takes - whether the season would then start in mid-August (though that might feel like too soon) or extend into late February (a more sports-fan friendly solution).

Yes, there's a lot to consider - the money for the owners, how that gets spread among the players and coaches, and then there's the injury question - does an 18-game regular season mean more chances for players to get injured? Or does it make it less likely for someone to suffer a pre-season season-ending injury because they are regular season games and people aren't holding back, making themselves more susceptible to injury?

But when looking at all of these things, we're missing the most earth-shattering of them all. What does an 18-game football season mean for fantasy football leagues the world over?

I am partial to a 16-week fantasy football season - the first 14 weeks are regular season, with 15 and 16 filtering through a 4-team playoff. (I don't like having the championship decided in Week 17 with many stars being rested for a half or entire game.)

That certainly changes for an 18-game season. The translation for me would be 15 weeks of regular season, with the playoffs in 16 and 17. How much difference would that one week make?

Would 18 weeks of real football mean more teams are in playoff contention, and teams are less likely to rest players in the final week? Does that mean fantasy leagues like mine become 16-week regular seasons, with the playoffs in weeks 17 and 18?

Does the possibility of more regular season injuries mean longer benches for teams, to make sure you have enough players to cover those injuries?

If the season does shift to earlier in August, when will we draft?

I'm sure the gambling aspect will come up at some point when the talk of extending the season really heats up - I have a sneaking suspicion that a Week 1 regular season game sees a bit more money move than a Week 3 exhibition game.

But the fantasy football world could be shaken too. And if you ask me, that's the biggest difference between a 16-game or 18-game NFL regular season.

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