NFL Players Opt Out: Fallout for the 2020 Season

With COVID-19 throttling forward with full force, municipalities and regions around the United States have seen a rise in cases. Beyond the general public, the pandemic has another entity in its crosshairs.

Football.

With prominent college football leagues at the Division I level closing up shop for the fall, it raises the question: How will this turn out for pro football and those that like to bet on the NFL?

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More than 60-plus players have opted out, and while the season has yet to start, there is no doubt that some opt-outs will have a greater effect on the league than others.

For savvy sports bettors, it’s important to keep them in mind, because your favorite wagers may very well rely on the outcome of opt-outs.

While we have officially passed the deadline, the fact that opt-outs are a thing means there are a few factors to keep in mind before locking in your wagers for the upcoming season.

Top-Heavy Teams Hit by Opt-Outs

When it comes to the teams that most bettors often wager their money on, some have been hit by opt-outs more than others. Take, for example, perennial betting favorites at top football sportsbooks, the New England Patriots.

While the much-discussed departure of Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has meant the odds on the Patriots took a nosedive, they have been walloped by additional casualties in terms of their roster in regards to opt-outs.

The Patriots have lost nine players, including standout defensive back Patrick Chung and solid running back Brandon Bolden, who have decided to opt out. 

The past champs aren’t the only ones hurting from opt-outs either. The reigning champs have been hurt, too.

The Chiefs have lost running back Damien Williams, as well as 2020 draft pick Lucas Niang and Laurent Duvernay-Tarif, both of whom could be key pieces to the Chiefs’ offensive line.

It remains to be seen the impact these will truly have on the final scores and odds, but as with most positions in the NFL, the league will take a next-man-up mindset to incorporate these pieces into their lineup to overcome the opt-outs.

Impact for Fantasy Players 

For most bettors, the truth is, there has not really been a significant opt-out that has devastated any team before the season takes off. While we are not underscoring the contributions of some of these opt-outs, the fact is, it is unlikely we will see any great players opting out as their paychecks far outweigh the potential risks they might encounter due to the virus.

What it does mean, however, is that players hunting for value on some of these teams very well could find a diamond in the rough for a squad that has a fantasy player opting out. You may also get value on teams like the Patriots who, because they’ve lost some players, might be seen as a team to fade.

Our take? The opt-outs will not have as much of an impact on the game as the NFL is a league seemingly impervious to one or two players opting out (outside of a quarterback). Still, there is no doubt that you can capitalize by getting good value on teams most people otherwise think will perform worse than they should despite a few opt-outs.