What is a Late Swap in Fantasy Football?
A late swap is a feature that allows fantasy managers to swap out one player in favor of another right before the player's game is scheduled to begin. Whereas standard fantasy leagues require managers to lock in their lineups prior to the 1 o'clock games beginning on Sunday, leagues that allow late swaps provide managers more flexibility with regards to individual players.
Taking Advantage of the Late Swap
The late swap feature is most useful when a player in the starting lineup is scheduled to play in a Sunday or Monday night game. It allows managers to compensate for unexpected injuries and real-life benchings, preventing them from being stuck with a player that is deemed inactive after starting lineups have been submitted. For example, if a manager sets their lineup at 1 p.m. on Sunday and their star running back is ruled out 3 hours later for the Sunday night game, the manager can simply swap the player out for another running back that is scheduled to play on Sunday or Monday night.
Making Last-Minute Lineup Adjustments
When a manager elects to switch out a current starter for another player, the manager can either look to the bench or the waiver wire for a replacement. Often times, there will be a viable replacement waiting in a reserve spot on the bench. This is especially true for managers that like to draft "handcuffs," which are backups for real-life starters that can be confidently plugged into lineups when the starter suffers an injury.
The other option is to browse the waiver wire and add an unrostered player. This is not an ideal strategy, as most players that are expected to score a decent amount of fantasy points are already rostered by another manager. However, the waiver wire represents a manager's only chance of salvaging fantasy points when the regular starter is ruled inactive and there are no viable replacements waiting on the manager's bench.
How Common is the Late Swap?
Standard fantasy league settings do not include the late swap feature. Therefore, the commissioner of the league must change the settings to allow managers more flexibility with their lineups. The commissioner will often leave the decision to a vote, enabling late swaps only if the majority of league members agree to the stipulation.