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NFL’s unique season amid COVID-19 pandemic requires unique fantasy rules

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, left, is hit by cornerback Troy Pride Jr.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, left, is hit by cornerback Troy Pride Jr. during a team practice session in August.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

No preseason, limited training camps and no bubble.

Prepare yourself for a fantasy football season like no other.

If you listen closely, that’s the sound of commissioners around the world scurrying about to create contingency plans. That means they’re even grumpier than usual.

Everything should be on the table. You likely will need to expand rosters. You could vote to treat this season as an experimental year and change the league format — anyone up for a Guillotine or Vampire league?

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Above all, you must agree what constitutes a season just in case the march of weekly games end with a quick snap.

The Rams on Saturday announced nine more roster cuts as they moved closer to the league-mandated 53 players. The team’s average age is 25.1.

If it happens in the first month, no harm, no foul and everyone gets a refund as if nothing had happened. If we make it far enough, have an ironclad rule stating how the league winner will be decided and make sure everyone knows.

Maybe league funds get rolled over to the 2021 season? Maybe your league decides to donate the booty to a deserving charity?

Either way, make these decisions before the season starts.

My fearless fantasy predictions for the upcoming season:

Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey won’t repeat as the highest scoring non-quarterback in fantasy this season. Since 2012, the top non-QB has averaged 302.3 points, only to see that number erode to 181 the following season, according to Fantasypros.com. McCaffrey scored 355.2 points in 2019. A 40% drop would mean a 213.1-point haul in 2020, which would have made him the ninth best non-QB last season. Temper your expectations when you take the all-around stud first overall.

Neither Mike Evans (1,157 yards on 67 receptions and eight touchdowns) nor Chris Godwin (1,333 yards on 86 receptions and nine touchdowns) of Tampa Bay will match their production from 2019 with Tom Brady under center. Brady relies heavily on his tight ends and running backs to diversify the passing game.

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The Chargers will be the best defense/special teams in fantasy after finishing a disappointing 27th in 2019.

For years the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled in the NFC South, but the combination of Tom Brady and Bruce Arians will pose a challenge to the Saints.

George Kittle of San Francisco will finish as the top tight end in fantasy while scoring double-digit touchdowns for the first time in his career.

Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon will set career highs in yards rushing (1,168), total yards (1,464), total touchdowns (nine) and catches (43).

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Robert Woods of the Rams will set career highs in yards receiving (1,219) and touchdowns receiving (six) while outproducing Cooper Kupp.

Cam Newton, replacing Brady in New England, will surpass 4,000 yards passing for the first time since his rookie season.

Keenan Allen of the Chargers will fail to reach 80 receptions or 1,000 yards and finish outside the top 15 wide receivers in fantasy for the first time since 2016.

Second-year running backs Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas) and Miles Sanders (Philadelphia) will both finish top-six at their position.

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Jimmy Garoppolo of San Francisco will lead the NFL in passing touchdowns.


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