**After further investigation, including conversations with both Matthew Berry and Mike Clay of ESPN, I hve learned that we were actually informed back in April that Taysom Hill 's eligibility could be revoked at any point in the season if circumstances dictated. You needed to dig a little to find it, but it is there. As a result, I have officially apologized to ESPN Fantasy for my original negative comments with regard to how they handled the situation.


Original article:

ESPN giveth and ESPN taketh away. The self-anointed gods of sports coverage have, once again, shook their fantasy football community with the recent news that they will now remove Taysom Hill ’s tight end eligibility on their fantasy platform. After a week of whining and crying by those who were either too slow, too uninformed or too ill-prepared to take advantage of a loophole ESPN itself created, the company’s fantasy division has capitulated to the masses and changed the rules of the game three weeks before the playoffs are set to begin.

Well isn’t that a fine “how do you do?”

When the 2020 fantasy season began Taysom Hill was eligible at the tight end position. He was also eligible as a quarterback. He was the Saints’ “Swiss Army knife,” a guy who could do it all, and for the last two seasons we witnessed head coach Sean Payton use of him as a runner, a receiver and even as a quarterback. His multi-position eligibility wasn’t something new to fantasy players and no one thought much of it anyway because using Hill in your lineup was too risky. He wasn’t a starter at any position and his usage was at the whim of his coach. But now that Hill was named the Saints starting quarterback, suddenly that multi-position eligibility comes into question and is even being taken away. Why?

We’ve seen multi-position eligibility before in fantasy football and no one seemed to have any gripes about it. In 2018, Steelers back-up running back Jaylen Samuels was granted eligibility both at running back and tight end because he played multiple positions in college. When Le’Veon Bell held out and James Conner got hurt, Samuels became the lead running back and savvy fantasy owners used him at their tight end position.

Or how about Marques Colston who had tight end eligibility but played wide receiver for the Saints? He had an all-pro season and crushed it for fantasy owners. Where? At the tight end position, of course.

But this is different? Tight ends, running backs and wide receivers can be interchangeable, hence the flex position, but it’s different with quarterbacks? Well then how about when Minnesota had Joe Webb , who qualified at both quarterback and wide receiver? When starting QB Tavaris Jackson got hurt and Webb took over under center, fantasy owners used him in their receiver slot that year.

No one was whining or crying back then. It was the way the platform had it laid out and we abided by the rules. So why is it different now? Why is ESPN repealing Taysom Hill ’s tight end eligibility? They’ve never taken away someone else’s multi-position eligibility in the middle of the season before, so why start now? Were the complaints too much? Were the emails that scathing? Did the Karens of this new fantasy cancel-culture hurt your feelings?

Bottom line – rules are rules and changing them midseason is wrong. People who saw the loophole made waiver claims and dropped their starting tight ends to pick up Hill. People emptied out their free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) to acquire him. Do those owners get their dropped players back? Do they get a FAAB refund? No. They do not. 

Some might say that ESPN was wrong to grant tight end eligibility to Hill in the first place, but that is not the argument here. Maybe they were. That’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that, when we began the 2020 fantasy season, we were all very much aware of the rules and the position eligibility of the players. If this was really an issue, then why not repeal the eligibility before the Week 11 games? It's not like they didn't have time to mull it over.To change it now for a vociferous minority that is crying over a loophole – a loophole, mind you, that has been around for years – that's what's wrong.

If these Karens were the ones who grabbed Hill in their leagues, what side of the argument do you think they would be on?


For more from Howard Bender take a listen to the reaction from both he and Jim Bowden regarding ESPN's decision to remove Hill's tight end eligibility.