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Fantasy football rankings: Mike Clay’s 192 players who should be drafted



During the offseason, 2,880 human beings (32 teams x 90 players) can be rostered by an NFL team. Once Week 1 rolls around, that number is cut down to 1,760 (32 x 55). The ESPN Fantasy Football player database includes nearly 2,500 players.

You can’t be expected to know all of those players, which is why “The 192” is here to make your life easier.

Why 192? Fantasy leagues come in all shapes in sizes, but many have settled into the vicinity of 12 teams and 16 roster spots. “The 192” is a list of the 192 players who should be drafted (and thus rostered) in a 12-team, 16-round, PPR league with relatively standard scoring and lineup settings. The players are technically listed in the order they should be drafted, though it’s important to remember that drafts are fluid and your decisions should be altered based on what’s left on the board and your previous selections.

What if you’re in an eight-team league? Or a 16-teamer? The 192 can still help you win, but you’ll certainly need to make tweaks in the mid-to-late rounds. For example, in a smaller league, you may want to wait even longer at quarterback because the position is so deep. In deeper leagues, running backs and tight ends should be more of a priority, as those positions lack depth and could leave you with a weak spot if you wait until late.

The 192 should serve as a simple guide to help you maximize the value of your starting lineup while making the best possible decision each and every round.

For a deeper look, here are my latest 2020 fantasy football rankings and here is round-by-round analysis via my Ultimate Draft Board.

1. Christian McCaffrey, CAR, RB1

McCaffrey outscored the next-closest running back by 156 fantasy points last season. He’s a strong bet to see a decrease in production in 2020, but he can afford one and still easily pace the position.

2. Saquon Barkley, NYG, RB2
3. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL, RB3
4. Dalvin Cook, MIN, RB4
5. Alvin Kamara, NO, RB5

There’s a “Big 5” at running back this season, and though McCaffrey is on a tier of his own, these next four workhorses should be off the board by the midpoint of the first round. Kamara might seem surprising here, but note that, despite struggling to find the end zone, he was fantasy’s No. 5 back after returning from injury in Week 10 last season.

6. Michael Thomas, NO, WR1

Thomas, who outscored the next-closest wide receiver by 99 fantasy points last season, is the only wide receiver I’m currently considering in the first round. More on why in the next section.

7. Derrick Henry, TEN, RB6
8. Miles Sanders, PHI, RB7
9. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC, RB8
10. Kenyan Drake, ARI, RB9
11. Nick Chubb, CLE, RB10
12. Josh Jacobs, LV, RB11
13. Aaron Jones, GB, RB12
14. Austin Ekeler, LAC, RB13
15. Joe Mixon, CIN, RB14

As far as I’m concerned, there are 14 running backs I truly feel comfortable with in my Week 1 starting lineup. Because of the impending dropoff at the position, I’m very much trying to get two of these 14 backs with my first two picks. If I don’t take two, I’ll essentially be fading that second RB slot in order to load up on other positions. Speaking of which …

16. Davante Adams, GB, WR2
17. DeAndre Hopkins, ARI, WR3
18. Julio Jones, ATL, WR4
19. Tyreek Hill, KC, WR5
20. Travis Kelce, KC, TE1
21. Chris Godwin, TB, WR6
22. Mike Evans, TB, WR7
23. George Kittle, SF, TE2
24. Kenny Golladay, DET, WR8
25. DJ Moore, CAR, WR9
26. Allen Robinson II, CHI, WR10
27. Adam Thielen, MIN, WR11
28. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT, WR12
29. Amari Cooper, DAL, WR13
30. Courtland Sutton, DEN, WR14
31. Odell Beckham Jr., CLE, WR15
32. Calvin Ridley, ATL, WR16
33. A.J. Brown, TEN, WR17

Holy wide receivers, Batman!

One of the primary reasons to attack running back early this season is the absurd depth at wideout during the early-to-middle stages of drafts. The likes of Evans, Moore, Robinson, Beckham and Cooper can routinely be had in the third round, with Thielen, Smith-Schuster and everyone else listed in this tier available even later. This is also a good spot to grab an elite tight end in Kelce or Kittle.

34. Lamar Jackson, BAL, QB1
35. Patrick Mahomes, KC, QB2

Jackson and Mahomes are in their own tier at quarterback. I value the duo in the late stages of the third round, though generally they’re off the board earlier. I recommend waiting for a better value unless one of them remains on the board at the Round 2/3 turn.

36. Robert Woods, LAR, WR18
37. Tyler Lockett, SEA, WR19
38. Cooper Kupp, LAR, WR20
39. Leonard Fournette, JAC, RB15
40. Chris Carson, SEA, RB16
41. Mark Andrews, BAL, TE3
42. Zach Ertz, PHI, TE4

Woods, Kupp and Lockett could easily be placed in our earlier tier of wideouts, but that group has just a bit more upside this season. Fournette and Carson are viable RB2 targets. Andrews and Ertz, who has come at a nice discount this season, remain quality TE1 plays.

43. David Johnson, HOU, RB17
44. Todd Gurley II, ATL, RB18
45. Le’Veon Bell, NYJ, RB19
46. Melvin Gordon, DEN, RB20
47. James Conner, PIT, RB21
48. Jonathan Taylor, IND, RB22
49. Devin Singletary, BUF, RB23

This tier of running backs has generally come off the board before several of the players already listed, but a lot of that is fantasy players panicking over the early RB run and trying to play catchup. The third and fourth round is a good time to pivot away from these shaky options and instead focus on the aforementioned wide receivers and perhaps a tight end.

50. Keenan Allen, LAC, WR21
51. T.Y. Hilton, IND, WR22
52. Terry McLaurin, WAS, WR23
53. Jarvis Landry, CLE, WR24
54. DK Metcalf, SEA, WR25
55. DJ Chark Jr., JAC, WR26

More quality WR options, you say? Allen’s stock is down and Hilton’s up as the former loses and the latter gains the talents of Philip Rivers. The veteran duo joins McLaurin, Landry, Metcalf and Chark as WR2/3 plays.

56. D’Andre Swift, DET, RB24
57. Kareem Hunt, CLE, RB25
58. David Montgomery, CHI, RB26
59. Cam Akers, LAR, RB27
60. Ronald Jones II, TB, RB28

If you skipped the earlier veteran RB tier, this is an intriguing area to perhaps throw a dart. Hunt has the highest standalone value for a No. 2 back, as he’ll be very busy as a receiver and is an elite insurance option behind Chubb. Day 2 picks Swift and Akers are potential lead backs as rookies. Montgomery and Jones have a bit of “post-hype” breakout appeal after fairly slow starts to their careers.

61. DeVante Parker, MIA, WR27
62. Tyler Boyd, CIN, WR28
63. A.J. Green, CIN, WR29
64. Stefon Diggs, BUF, WR30
65. Michael Gallup, DAL, WR31
66. Will Fuller V, HOU, WR32
67. Marquise Brown, BAL, WR33
68. Deebo Samuel, SF, WR34
69. Darren Waller, LV, TE5

We’re into the fifth and sixth round of a draft and still have quality options at wide receiver. Six of the eight listed here are the probable No. 1 options for their respective teams, with Boyd and Gallup coming off a pair of top-25 campaigns. Samuel would be closer to the top 20 WRs if he wasn’t expected to a miss a few games due to injury. Fantasy’s reigning No. 3 tight end, Waller, will see fewer targets but score more touchdowns in 2020.

70. Raheem Mostert, SF, RB29
71. Tarik Cohen, CHI, RB30
72. Mark Ingram II, BAL, RB31

We have a short running back tier here, with a few options for your flex spot. Cohen’s ceiling is low, but his floor high as a receiving specialist, whereas Mostert and Ingram might struggle for consistency and receiving volume despite lead back roles.

73. Deshaun Watson, HOU, QB3
74. Kyler Murray, ARI, QB4
75. Dak Prescott, DAL, QB5
76. Russell Wilson, SEA, QB6

If you don’t take Jackson or Mahomes, you can wait quite a while to target your quarterback. Watson lost DeAndre Hopkins, but he adds a ton of value with his legs and still has a good WR foursome to throw to. Murray is one of this year’s most likely breakout players. Prescott and Wilson were both top-three finishers in 2019 and are safe QB1 targets.

77. Marvin Jones Jr., DET, WR35
78. Diontae Johnson, PIT, WR36
79. Jamison Crowder, NYJ, WR37
80. Brandin Cooks, HOU, WR38
81. Julian Edelman, NE, WR39
82. Evan Engram, NYG, TE6
83. Tyler Higbee, LAR, TE7

We’re at the midway point of our draft and looking for solid flex options. Jones, Crowder, Cooks and Edelman are fairly safe veterans, with Johnson a strong second-year breakout candidate after posting a top-40 campaign in Pittsburgh’s struggling 2019 offense. We also have a pair of mid-range TE1 targets in Engram and Higbee.

84. Kerryon Johnson, DET, RB32
85. Darrell Henderson Jr., LAR, RB33
86. Phillip Lindsay, DEN, RB34
87. James White, NE, RB35
88. Jordan Howard, MIA, RB36
89. Matt Breida, MIA, RB37
90. J.K. Dobbins, BAL, RB38
91. Zack Moss, BUF, RB39
92. Tevin Coleman, SF, RB40

This is a good area for “Zero-RB” drafters to go shopping. Johnson, Henderson, Coleman and Howard/Breida are competing to open Week 1 as their team’s lead back. Lindsay, Moss and White figure to push for double-digit looks most weeks in situational roles. The rookie Dobbins is stuck in a Baltimore timeshare but could emerge as a lead back in time.

93. Sterling Shepard, NYG, WR40
94. Christian Kirk, ARI, WR41
95. Golden Tate, NYG, WR42
96. Preston Williams, MIA, WR43
97. Robby Anderson, CAR, WR44
98. Darius Slayton, NYG, WR45
99. John Brown, BUF, WR46
100. Henry Ruggs III, LV, WR47
101. Emmanuel Sanders, NO, WR48
102. Curtis Samuel, CAR, WR49

This is a fine tier to find flex options and/or your top backup at wide receiver. Ruggs is my top-ranked rookie WR as Las Vegas’ No. 1 at the position, whereas Slayton and Williams are Year 2 leap candidates.

103. Latavius Murray, NO, RB41
104. Alexander Mattison, MIN, RB42
105. Tony Pollard, DAL, RB43

Insurance! Get your insurance here! None of these backs have standalone value, but each will be RB1 plays if Kamara, Cook or Elliott, respectively, miss time. Murray was the top-scoring fantasy RB during the two weeks Kamara was out last season.

106. Mecole Hardman, KC, WR50
107. Jerry Jeudy, DEN, WR51
108. Mike Williams, LAC, WR52
109. Justin Jefferson, MIN, WR53

We’re past Pick 100, which is generally your window to get more aggressive in looking for upside. Here are four more wide receivers who fit the bill, with second-year Hardman and rookies Jefferson and Jeudy positioned for regular playing time. Williams loses some juice with Rivers gone, but is a shoe-in for touchdown regression to the mean.

110. Hunter Henry, LAC, TE8
111. Jared Cook, NO, TE9
112. Noah Fant, DEN, TE10
113. Rob Gronkowski, TB, TE11
114. Hayden Hurst, ATL, TE12
115. T.J. Hockenson, DET, TE13

There’s a lot of value at tight end this season, so if you pass on one of the top guys, you can afford to wait quite a while (like you might normally at quarterback) and still come away with a fine TE1 option. Recent first-round picks Fant, Hockenson and Hurst are terrific breakout options. Gronkowski, Cook and Henry are high-floor veteran plays.

116. Matt Ryan, ATL, QB7
117. Tom Brady, TB, QB8
118. Carson Wentz, PHI, QB9
119. Josh Allen, BUF, QB10
120. Drew Brees, NO, QB11
121. Matthew Stafford, DET, QB12
122. Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB13

This tier rounds out your starting options at quarterback. Brady and Stafford are often available in the double-digit rounds and both are quality options.

123. Breshad Perriman, NYJ, WR54
124. Jalen Reagor, PHI, WR55
125. DeSean Jackson, PHI, WR56
126. CeeDee Lamb, DAL, WR57
127. Parris Campbell, IND, WR58
128. Duke Johnson, HOU, RB44
129. Antonio Gibson, WAS, RB45
130. Nyheim Hines, IND, RB46
131. Marlon Mack, IND, RB47
132. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, TB, RB48
133. Justin Jackson, LAC, RB49
134. Mike Gesicki, MIA, TE14
135. Chris Herndon, NYJ, TE15
136. Austin Hooper, CLE, TE16
137. Daniel Jones, NYG, QB14
138. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT, QB15

At this point, you’re looking to add depth and upside to your bench. Rookies Reagor, Lamb, Gibson and Vaughn should be on your radar. Campbell and Herndon are two of my favorite late-round sleepers. Jones is a sneaky breakout and has QB1 upside.

139. Boston Scott, PHI, RB50
140. Adrian Peterson, WAS, RB51
141. Damien Harris, NE, RB52
142. Jerick McKinnon, SF, RB53
143. Chase Edmonds, ARI, RB54
144. Anthony Miller, CHI, WR59
145. Brandon Aiyuk, SF, WR60
146. Sammy Watkins, KC, WR61
147. N’Keal Harry, NE, WR62
148. Michael Pittman Jr., IND, WR63
149. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI, WR64
150. Randall Cobb, HOU, WR65
151. Allen Lazard, GB, WR66
152. Mohamed Sanu Sr., NE, WR67
153. Denzel Mims, NYJ, WR68
154. Tee Higgins, CIN, WR69

This tier isn’t quite as strong as the prior one, but a lot of the analysis is the same. These are depth and/or upside options, including potential RB breakouts (Harris, Scott) and a handful of recent early-round WR draft picks (Aiyuk, Harry, Pittman, Higgins, Mims), all who could play significant roles as soon as Week 1. This is the range in which players such as A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin and Deebo Samuel were discovered last season, so don’t be afraid to throw darts at rookies.

155. Joshua Kelley, LAC, RB55
156. AJ Dillon, GB, RB56
157. Darrynton Evans, TEN, RB57
158. Ryquell Armstead, JAC, RB58
159. Carlos Hyde, SEA, RB59
160. Anthony McFarland Jr., PIT, RB60
161. Jack Doyle, IND, TE17
162. Eric Ebron, PIT, TE18
163. Dallas Goedert, PHI, TE19
164. Cam Newton, NE, QB16
165. Ryan Tannehill, TEN, QB17
166. Jared Goff, LAR, QB18
167. Baker Mayfield, CLE, QB19
168. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF, QB20

Our final tier of skill-position players includes a few young insurance RB options (Kelley, Dillon, Evans, Armstead, McFarland) and rounds out the short list of quarterbacks and tight ends who should be drafted in 12-team leagues.

169. Steelers D/ST, PIT, DST1
170. Bills D/ST, BUF, DST2
171. 49ers D/ST, SF, DST3
172. Ravens D/ST, BAL, DST4
173. Patriots D/ST, NE, DST5
174. Colts D/ST, IND, DST6
175. Broncos D/ST, DEN, DST7
176. Bears D/ST, CHI, DST8
177. Saints D/ST, NO, DST9
178. Vikings D/ST, MIN, DST10
179. Buccaneers D/ST, TB, DST11
180. Chargers D/ST, LAC, DST12
181. Justin Tucker, BAL, K1
182. Harrison Butker, KC, K2
183. Wil Lutz, NO, K3
184. Matt Prater, DET, K4
185. Greg Zuerlein, DAL, K5
186. Robbie Gould, SF, K6
187. Chris Boswell, PIT, K7
188. Matt Gay, TB, K8
189. Zane Gonzalez, ARI, K9
190. Ka’imi Fairbairn, HOU, K10
191. Jake Elliott, PHI, K11
192. Austin Seibert, CLE, K12

Did you learn nothing from the Jaguars’ D/ST two years ago? What about the Bears’ D/ST last offseason? Wait until the final two rounds to select your defense and kicker.

Source : ESPNRead More

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Toronto FC hoping to make MLS Cup run having spent much of 2020 far from home



On a recent Thursday in Hartford, Conn., Toronto FC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg pondered the dichotomy of wanting to reach MLS Cup on Dec. 12, but also desiring to see his family again. Meanwhile, Jim Liston, the team’s director of sports science, was planning a trip to Lowe’s to buy 15 garbage cans so players could have an ice bath after training. As for manager Greg Vanney, he was fretting about his team’s health and the lack of practice time their schedule was affording.

Such is the life of a team as it attempts to not only navigate its way through the COVID-19 pandemic, but has been forced to do it away from home.

Due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, TFC — like the league’s other two Canadian teams, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps — set up a “home” base in the U.S. for the remainder of the season; Toronto were stationed in Hartford. (Vancouver Whitecaps took roost in Portland, ground-sharing with Timbers, while Montreal Impact split use of New York Red Bulls’ facilities in Harrison, N.J.) This was on top of nearly every team spending nearly a month inside a bubble back in July at the MLS is Back Tournament outside Orlando, Florida.

The Reds spent about seven weeks back in Toronto as they played a series of matches against Canadian teams. In mid-September, the remainder of the regular season — and the temporary move to Hartford — beckoned. The vagabond nature of the campaign is what led Liston to joke that he was willing to discuss “whatever five seasons” the team has been through so far. But for Vanney and the players, the campaign has required a special kind of focus.

“A lot of what we’ve done here, and what we try to preach here is just control the controllables, and don’t get too drawn into the things you can’t,” Vanney told ESPN. “Roll with it, and make the best out of whatever the situation is.”

Stream FC Daily on ESPN+
– 2020 MLS Playoffs: Who’s in, schedule and more
– MLS on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games and replays (U.S. only)

Toronto has largely succeeded in spite of its odyssey. While there was disappointment at missing out on the Supporters’ Shield to the Philadelphia Union, TFC went 7-3-2 during its Hartford sojourn and finished with the second-best record in the league. But the challenges have still been immense. Simply being out of one’s home environment is difficult enough, but the time spent away from family and loved ones weighs heavy on the psyche, even as Vanney has given players the occasional trip back to Toronto — under quarantine — to reconnect with loved ones.

“It’s just very different, very challenging and emotionally exhausting,” Westberg said of his experience while based in Hartford.

Westberg has arguably had it tougher than most. The TFC goalkeeper is married with four children, including a baby girl who was born in June. For that reason, Westberg and his wife, Ania, made the decision at the end of September that it would be better for her and their kids to head back to his native France so they could be surrounded by family. Westberg called it “the least bad decision,” but there are difficulties nonetheless.

“I’m a very even person, and this year has challenged me a lot,” he said. “I’m still pretty even, but I keep a lot to myself and for sure there’s some difficult days, seeing your family [struggle] from your absence.”

The inability to be home has affected the players and staff in other ways. In Toronto, there are ways of disengaging from the game. Being with friends, loved ones or even in familiar surroundings can be the best medicine in terms of forgetting a bad game or training session. But in Hartford, at the team’s hotel, that escape is nearly impossible even as players try to distract themselves by reading or taking online classes.

“You don’t really unplug,” Westberg said. “You FaceTime family, or this or that, but it’s too short. You’re 100 percent focused on your soccer, and your whole day basically relies on being ready for whatever soccer activity that you have next, whether it’s practice or game. It’s good for your physique, it’s optimal for the way you eat and the way you [train]. But mentally, you’re not as fresh as your body.”

That isn’t to say there are only negatives to the separation. There is also an us-against-the-world mentality that Toronto has adopted, given that their players and personnel are experiencing the season in a way that is vastly different than most other teams. The team staff has done what it can to make their surroundings a home away from home, whether it’s personalizing the locker rooms at Rentschler Field or having hotel staff brand the surroundings in TFC colors. The hotel went so far as to bring in a barista who could consistently give the players their coffee fix. Supporters groups have even sent down banners in a bid to convey the fact that the players are remembered.

The care that TFC takes for players has extended to families back home, with the club supplying meals to loved ones three times a week.

On the logistical side, Liston made sure that one of the gyms used at MLS is Back was brought to TFC’s hotel in Hartford, and he remarked that the food at the hotel is “arguably the best we’ve ever had on the road.”

There have also been efforts to create new routines. Assistant coach Jason Bent, aka DJ Soops, has been in charge of the pregame music selection for the past 18 months — no easy feat for a squad that has a considerable international presence. In Hartford, Bent has set aside Thursday nights to spin music in one area of the hotel. He’ll even go live on Instagram or Twitch for those who prefer to relax in their rooms.

“[We] opened it to players and staff and basically anyone that’s part of our bubble to come relax, listen to music and just enjoy each other’s company,” Bent said. “I enjoy making people happy so if it’s helping everyone even in the slightest, I have no problem arranging the set and spinning.”

For Vanney, the pandemic and operating outside of the team’s home market has meant any number of challenges. He said the team has used three different training facilities in Hartford, with varying field conditions. He recognizes that the trips home are vital for the mental health of his players and staff, but any breaks also mean less time spent on the practice field. The compressed schedule, which at times involved games every three or four days, has had an impact as well. Even the best-laid plans in terms of squad rotation were impacted as minor injuries began popping up.

“We end up with a lot of guys in different positions because they need special kinds of treatment or care to help them get fit and back to health,” Vanney said. “So it ends up being a lot of different things kind of going on all at once, and that’s been the challenge of it.”

Recovery from matches has been complicated by the fact that TFC doesn’t have access to the same level of facilities that it does at home — hence Liston’s emergency trip to Lowe’s to fashion impromptu ice baths for the players. Then there are the different ways the players occupy themselves on the road as compared to home, especially amid the pandemic.

“There’s really no life outside of the hotel,” Liston said. “[At home], you may go walk the dog in the afternoon or go for a walk with your wife or friend or girlfriend or family and you’re out and about. The recommendation [here] is to kind of stay put. So you’ve got a really active population and pro athletes, who we’re asking them to be sedentary the rest of the time, kind of stay in the hotel from a COVID and safety standpoint. That’s not optimal for recovery either.”

There are also the creature comforts of home that are no longer available on the road, which can impact sleep.

“Sleep is the number one tool for recovery, and that’s definitely been a challenge,” Liston said. “We do well-being questionnaires and the scores on quality of sleep, and hours of sleep, just drop.”



Tom Barlow and Brian White seal Toronto’s fate in a 2-1 win for New York Red Bulls. Watch MLS on ESPN+.

Another change has been same-day travel, which has drawn mixed reactions from the TFC players and staff. Vanney and Westberg are generally in favor, saying it reminds them of when they each played in France. Flying back the same night also means a training day isn’t lost. Liston has a different perspective in that he prefers arriving the day before, and then leaving the same day.

“I think [same-day travel] makes for a really long day,” he said. “And there’s definitely a negative impact on performance, taking three bus rides and a plane ride before your game. You’re getting home — it can be 12:30, but it could also be 1:30 in the morning, and that’s where you know our well-being scores and sleep hours and quality just disappear. When you have so many games in succession, you can’t make up the sleep.”

With the playoffs set to begin for TFC on Nov. 24, the end is in sight, even as it makes for a complex — and even conflicting — set of emotions.

“This is the tricky part. I miss them a lot,” Westberg said of his family. “But in a way I want to see them as [late] as possible in December, because obviously, there’s this idea that we want to do well in the playoffs and we want to keep going. TFC has a history of setting high standards and high expectations. It’s a heavy load to carry but also an exciting one.”

Win or lose, it’s a season they’ll never forget.


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Bettman: NHL is mulling temporary realignment



The NHL is considering a temporary realignment of its teams for the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, according to commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bettman said Tuesday that restrictions on travel across the Canadian border, as well as “limitations in terms of quarantining when you go from certain states to other states” within the United States, could mean the NHL creates a more regionalized alignment for its upcoming season.

“As it relates to the travel issue, which is obviously the great unknown, we may have to temporarily realign to deal with geography, because having some of our teams travel from Florida to California may not make sense. It may be that we’re better off — particularly if we’re playing a reduced schedule, which we’re contemplating — keeping it geographically centric and more divisional-based; and realigning, again on a temporary basis, to deal with the travel issues,” Bettman said during a 2020 Paley International Council Summit panel with fellow commissioners Adam Silver of the NBA and Rob Manfred of MLB.

The NHL board of governors has a meeting scheduled for Thursday which will provide a progress report and possible recommendations for a season format, based on talks between the league and the NHL Players’ Association. The target date for starting next season remains Jan. 1.

Bettman said the league is considering a few scheduling options for the 2020-21 season. Something that’s off the table: playing the entire season in the kind of bubbles the NHL had in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, to complete last season. But Bettman said teams opening in their own arenas is a possibility, along with a modified bubble.

“We are exploring the possibility of playing in our own buildings without fans [or] fans where you can, which is going to be an arena-by-arena issue. But we’re also exploring the possibility of a hub. You’ll come in. You’ll play for 10 to 12 days. You’ll play a bunch of games without traveling. You’ll go back, go home for a week, be with your family. We’ll have our testing protocols and all the other things you need,” he said.

Bettman also indicated that the NHL is exploring “a hybrid, where some teams are in a bubble, some teams play at home and you move in and out.”

The NBA’s board of governors unanimously approved a deal with the players’ union that sets the stage for a season that will open on Dec. 22 and with a reduced schedule of 72 games. Silver said that the commissioners are in communication on COVID-19-related issues, especially the NBA and the NHL, since the two leagues’ teams share arenas and, in some cases, team owners.

Silver said he senses that the NBA will have fans in many of its buildings this season.

“We’re probably going to start one way, where we’re maybe a little bit more conservative than many of the jurisdictions allow,” he said. “What we’ve said to our teams is that we’ll continue to work with public health authorities. Arena issues are different than outdoor stadium issues. There will be certain standards for air filtration and air circulation. There may be a different standard for a suite than there will be for fans spaced in seats.”

Silver said there will be standardized protocols that are consistent from arena to arena, such as proximity between players and fans: “In certain cases, for seats near the floor, we’re going to be putting in testing programs, where fans will certify that they’ve been tested — some within 48 hours, some within day of game.” While Silver supported a continued expansion of the NBA postseason through its play-in tournament, Bettman said that he’s not in favor of expanded playoffs or “playing with the fundamentals of the game.” The NHL had 24 teams in its postseason last summer.


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The Battleground States Where We’ve Seen Some Movement In The Polls



With apologies to The Raconteurs, the presidential race continues to be “steady as she goes,” with little sign of tightening despite a plethora of new polls. FiveThirtyEight’s presidential forecast gives Joe Biden an 89 in 100 shot at winning the election, while President Trump has just an 11 in 100 chance. This makes Biden the favorite, but still leaves open a narrow path to victory for Trump, for whom a reelection win would be surprising — but not utterly shocking.

At the same time, we also have fewer polls from live-caller surveys, which have historically been more accurate and have shown slightly better numbers for Biden, than polls that use other methodologies, such as polls conducted primarily online or through automated telephone calls. Nevertheless, while the overall picture has shifted only a little in recent days, a few battleground states have seen at least some movement in their polls, which has slightly altered the odds Biden or Trump wins in each of those places.

What election stories need to get more coverage | FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast


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