Each year the NFL plays a game or two outside the US the help broaden their fanbase to the international market. This year, there are five such games: three in London, one in Germany, and one in Mexico.
Fantasy Trends for Overseas NFL Games
The 49ers play the Cardinals in Mexico in Week 11, and while they both have a fair distance to cover to travel there, it’s not much further than traveling to the east coast for a game. The overseas games are a different story, though. Let’s look at how fantasy players may be impacted by those matchups specifically.
Week 4 – Minnesota Vikings Vs. New Orleans Saints
- Where: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, UK
- When: 9:30 PM ET on Oct. 2
Week 4 has a fun matchup between the Vikings and the Saints in London. If they go direct, both teams will have to fly about the same distance, between eight and nine hours, so there won’t be many advantages.
Barring off-season or early-season injuries, Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN) should have his entire fleet of weapons at his disposal, including both Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN) and Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN). The Saints added a little to their defense, but not much, so I’d expect the Vikings’ offense to have plenty of room to work. The only Viking I might consider sitting is Adam Thielen (WR – MIN) if he starts the season on the wrong foot. Otherwise, it’s all guns blazing for Minnesota.
On the other side of the ball, the Saints get Jameis Winston (QB – NO) back under center and his two studs in Alvin Kamara (RB – NO) and Michael Thomas (WR – NO). New addition Chris Olave (WR – NO) should be up to speed by the time this game kicks off and will likely be in starting lineups in most leagues. It could be a fun shootout abroad, making for a fun fantasy game on Sunday morning in the US.
Week 5 – New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers
- Where: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, UK
- When: 9:30 PM ET on Oct. 9
The following week we get a clash of two titans of NFL history when the Giants face the Packers, again in London. The Packers have to travel a little further, but the extra time zone shouldn’t be too much of a factor here.
The Giants hope to be at full strength with stud running back Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG) healthy once again. Daniel Jones (QB – NYG, Kenny Golladay (WR – NYG), and possibly Kadarius Toney (WR – NYG) are all options as bye weeks start to impact things, but I’d try to bench them all if I could. Rookie Wan’Dale Robinson (WR – NYG) could be a sneaky option if he’s getting on the field to start the Rookie Wan’Dale Robinson (WR – NYG) season.
The Packers and veteran signal-caller Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB) are no stranger to island games. What is new is the receiving corps without Davante Adams (WR – LVR), who left for Las Vegas in free agency. Rodgers will have to make do with Allen Lazard (WR – GB) and Aaron Jones (RB – GB) as his main target options, meaning they could be great starts due to volume alone. I also like Christian Watson (WR – GB) as a potential option if he gets the hang of things, much like Robinson, as the season gets started.
Week 8 – Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
- Where: Wembley Stadium | London, UK
- When: 9:30 PM ET on Oct. 30
The third and final London game is in Week 8, in Wembley Stadium instead of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Denver Broncos face the Jacksonville Jaguars in what could feel like an actual home game for the Jaguars. Their recent string of London games has earned them a solid fanbase, and the fact that Denver has to travel two extra timezones here can only help their cause.
The Broncos might be traveling further, but their new QB, Russell Wilson, technically has a shorter route than his previous home in Seattle. I fully expect Javonte Williams (RB – DEN) to have earned a solid bell-cow role by Week 8, barring injuries, so I’m hoping Melvin Gordon (RB – DEN) can ride the bench. Wilson should be able to pick apart the Jags defense with Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN) and Jerry Jeudy (WR – DEN) by this point too, so it’s all guns blazing for the Broncos.
Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson is no stranger to drama, but the Jaguars seem to be a lightning rod for it over the last 12 months. Here’s hoping that by Week 8, he and Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC) are on the same page and clicking to make for an exciting game. Travis Etienne (RB – JAC) should have the rust knocked off, leaving James Robinson (RB – JAC) and his fans a little disappointed. I’d also expect the chemistry to be in full force with Lawrence’s new weapons in Christian Kirk (WR – JAC) and Evan Engram (TE – JAC), meaning it could be a fun game to watch back home. Sign me up!
Week 10 – Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Where: Allianz Arena – home of FC Bayern Munich | Munich, Germany
- When: 9:30 PM ET on Nov. 13
Last but not least, we have the only game taking place overseas that’s not in London. Week 10 pits the Seahawks against the Buccanneers in Munich, Germany, the first NFL game to happen in that country. The Seahawks get the worst of it in terms of travel, having to come from the west coast and traveling further east, giving them a whopping nine-hour timezone difference to adjust to. Oof!
For the Seahawks, Drew Lock (QB – SEA) appears to be their starter at quarterback, which might not be the case come November. No matter who’s under center, I’m likely starting stud receiver DK Metcalf (WR – SEA) and rookie running back Kenneth Walker (RB – SEA) unless I’m loaded at either position. Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA) and Noah Fant (TE – SEA) are heavily dependent on who’s playing at QB and how their seasons have looked through the first nine weeks. Neither are sure bets for this game for fantasy, in my opinion.
On the other hand, the Bucs are likely a team that I’m rarely benching in fantasy. Tom Brady (QB – TB), Leonard Fournette (RB – TB), and both receivers in Mike Evans (WR – TB) and Chris Godwin (WR – TB) appear to all be great options week in and week out looking this far ahead . Even if Brady isn’t his former self, I fully expect this team to have their way with the Seahawks in Week 10 with everything going on. Brady wins the only NFL game ever played in Germany and finally (really) retires at the end of the season. I’m calling it now.
Overall, these games are pretty far away to predict anything with much accuracy, but it’s always fun to think about what could happen when long distances get involved. How a team gels as a unit matters so much more when there are external stressors, so we should see plenty of fanfare around all four of these overseas games. I love waking up early and having football to watch, so here’s hoping they’re all good games, to say the least.
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