October 9, 2020
With the game between the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans delayed to Tuesday, October 13, because of positive coronavirus tests among Titans players, fantasy football got a little bit more complicated. This is the third matchup this NFL season that had to be rescheduled due to COVID-19, and likely not the last.
But FanDuel wants its fantasy football players to rest assured they've got plans in place. Interest is at an all-time high, with September the best month in the company's history both in terms of new customers and activity — and it would like to keep it that way.
"We will always do right by our players, by our customers," said FanDuel chief marketing officer Mike Raffensperger.
If a game is postponed and it's more than 24 hours in advance of the lineups being locked, those affected football players will not receive any points. FanDuel fantasy football players, however, will have plenty of warning both with push notifications on their phone and warnings on the app that their lineups have been affected.
If the game is postponed less than 24 hours of the lineup being locked and it is played before Wednesday of that NFL week (which runs Thursday through Wednesday), players will be awarded points for that game. If it is delayed beyond Wednesday, they will not receive points.
It does add an element of chance to fantasy football, which is interesting considering platforms like FanDuel have been arguing the game is based on skill in order to avoid gambling regulations. However, Raffensperger says at the end of the day, fantasy football is still based on the knowledge of the game.
"You're ultimately still making choices based on the predicted value of that player relative to their price on FanDuel," he said.
"COVID is introducing a new dynamic to making those choices, which is making things interesting," he added.
FanDuel also has a separate betting platform with slightly different rules. If a game is postponed later to that football week, the bet still stands. But if the game is altered in any other way, like changing locations, it will be voided.
This is especially interesting considering the Bills-Titans game, which some people speculated may become the first NFL forfeit in history because the Titans already have a rescheduled game they are playing during their bye week and the Chiefs have a Thursday Night Football game the following week.
While the Chiefs-Bills matchup was pushed back to the following Sunday, if more Titans players test positive, the schedule could be up in the air again.
"If I was a betting man, no pun intended, I don't know if I would bet on the forfeit, but look that all gets factored into the way that money is moving in the sportsbook, where bettors are placing their predictions," Raffensperger explained, adding, "suspicion would be on the unders for a forfeit."