Lots of people awoke to a Fantasy Football surprise on Thursday. A minor stat correction involving Ezekiel Elliott, where a fumble lost was removed from his record for Sunday’s game involving the Colts, has swung a few fantasy football playoff matchups. It knocked some unsuspecting players already planning their lineups out, and pushed others into a finals matchup late in the week.
Darren Rovell, at his new home at the Action Network, has the story about Daniel Haas and his obsessive quest about changing a ruling on Ezekiel Elliott.
At the start of the second quarter of the Cowboys-Colts game, Dallas went on 4th and 1 near the goal line. Ezekiel Elliott was hit in the backfield and as he tried a desperate lunge toward the line, the ball came loose. Since it was fourth down and they were behind the line, there was never any clear indication of who recovered the fumble (and it did not matter, since the Cowboys were turning the ball over). Elliott and Jabaal Sheard could be seen wrestling over the ball as the other Colts players jumped up in celebration.
However, that play was initially labeled as a fumble lost for Elliott, which results in negative points in many leagues.
That’s where Daniel Haas took over, after his team lost by fewer than two points in the playoffs. He signed up for a 7-day trial of NFL Game Pass to access the replays of the play.
“It was assumed that (Colts defensive end Jabaal) Sheard recovered, but at no point in the replays could you tell that Sheard recovered the ball,” Haas said. A couple people had written on a Reddit post that Elliott actually recovered his own fumble — in which case, he actually wouldn’t have lost points for his fantasy owners. But the post didn’t gain steam. Haas wasn’t done. Before he went to sleep that night, he looked at the NFL rulebook. “I figured out that if the fumble was reviewed and there was a call on the field and the refs made that call, the statistic couldn’t be overturned,” Haas said. “But they never made a call because it was the Colts ball anyway.”
Haas went so far as to call up Stats, Inc. and talk to the person who reviews the official scoring of plays. And then on late Wednesday, it happened. The ruling was changed to no fumble lost for Ezekiel Elliott because there had never been a signal as to who recovered.
And with that, fantasy football outcomes were altered. For what it’s worth, it looks like the ruling is the correct one, though that’s little solace to those that spent three days thinking they were in the fantasy finals only to have that changed Thursday.