Alvin Kamara was listed on the injury report for Week 4 as questionable with a rib injury, but after watching him play through the injury in Week 3, there wasn’t much sign of risk that he would sit out Sunday’s game against the Vikings. So, it was a surprise when Kamara was ruled inactive for the game, and because the Saints and Vikings are playing in London, that inactive came in at 8 a.m. Sunday morning – three and a half hours before we usually learn about inactives on a typical Sunday.
And Kamara’s inactive really came out of nowhere – the first sign we got that Kamara wouldn’t play was when the inactive reports came out. There wasn’t much reason to get him out of your lineup as of Saturday night, and surely plenty of Fantasy players didn’t find out about his absence until after lineups were already locked.
After kickoff, Kamara was stuck in the starting lineups of 38% of teams in CBS leagues (calculated at 10:15 a.m. ET). If you’re in charge of your league, ask yourself this — is the league better or worse if someone is stuck with an inactive player in their lineup?
If you’re a commissioner, you should go ahead and let them make a late swap in this instance. Obviously, every Fantasy manager is supposed to be responsible for their team, and so the more hard-nosed among you may take a “No excuses!” kind of mentality to these kinds of injury updates. But I think the specific nature of Sunday’s situation with Kamara makes it worth making an excuse for. People should be responsible for their teams, sure, but not everyone can be in a position to set their lineups three hours before they are used to – especially people living on the west coast of the United States, where Sunday’s kickoff came at 6:30. I’d rather people feel like they won or lost based on the decisions they made, and if a player wasn’t in position to actually make a decision on Kamara, that shouldn’t be held against them.
And it’s probably worth making a policy for future games, if you don’t already have one. The Packers and Giants in Week 5 and Broncos and Jaguars in Week 8 also have the 9:30 a.m. start time to deal with, and these kinds of surprise inactives are entirely possible every week. Typically, we have some questions about whether an injured player will be out, which was what made Kamara’s situation so unusual. Letting someone make a late swap for the two remaining London kickoffs is fair play, in my eyes, though that may not be a popular opinion among Fantasy players. But, in the leagues I am the commissioner of, I’m fine letting someone make a swap for Kamara in this instance.
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Surprise inactives happen, and Fantasy players shouldn’t be penalized for the quirks of the schedule or the vagaries of the NFL injury report.