Alvin Kamara surprise inactive: How fantasy football leagues should handle unusual injury updates in London

Alvin Kamara was listed on the injury report for Week 4 as questionable with a rib injury, but after watching him play with the injury in Week 3, there wasn’t much of a chance he could 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 at 8 a.m. Sunday morning – three and a half hours before we usually hear about inactives on a typical Sunday.

And Kamara’s inactive really came out of nowhere – the first sign that Kamara wouldn’t play was when the inactive reports came out. There wasn’t much reason to take him out of your lineup starting Saturday night, and certainly many Fantasy players didn’t find out about his absence until the lineups were already locked.

After the kickoff, Kamara was stuck in the starting lineups of 38% of teams in CBS leagues (estimated 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 are a commissioner, you should go ahead and let them do a late exchange in this case. Obviously, every Fantasy manager is supposed to be responsible for his team, so the diehards among you might get a “No excuses!” kind of mentality in these kinds of injury updates. But I think the specificity of Sunday’s situation with Kamara makes it worth an excuse. People should be responsible for their teams, sure, but not everyone can be able to set their lineups three hours before they get used to it – especially people who live 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 able to really make a decision about Kamara, that shouldn’t be on 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 the Broncos and Jaguars in Week 8 also have a 9:30 a.m. start time. to deal with, and these kinds of inactive surprises are absolutely possible every week. Usually, we have some questions about whether he’ll be out injured, which is what made Kamara’s situation so unusual. Letting someone make a late trade for London’s two remaining games is fair game, in my eyes, though that may not be a popular view among Fantasy players. But, in the leagues I’m the commissioner in, I can let someone make a trade for Kamara in that case.

Inactive surprises happen, and Fantasy players shouldn’t be penalized for the quirks of the schedule or the vagaries of the NFL’s injury reporting.

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