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Five Strategies To Help You Win Fantasy Playoff Leagues


If you won a fantasy football title in the regular season and are looking for more hardware, or if you want redemption after a bad year, the fantasy football season isn't over just yet. As if the NFL playoffs weren't exciting enough, you can assemble a team of your own in the postseason and root them on in an attempt to win extra cash or more bragging rights among your friends.

Just like with regular season fantasy football leagues, knowing the league setup and rules is the most important. Is your playoff league a one-and-done league, salary cap format or best-ball setup? Is it point-per-reception scoring, half-point PPR or six points per passing touchdown?

Fantasy playoff strategy will depend on the specific settings in your league, but here are a few that will put you ahead of your competition.

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1) Decide which teams have the best chance to advance

Picking players from the Ravens, 49ers, Chiefs and Packers, who have the best odds of representing their conferences in the Super Bowl, is the best strategy for best-ball formats -- where you set one lineup at the beginning of the playoffs and ride it out until the big game. This strategy is also ideal for leagues that do normal serpentine drafts for each team to select players.

In those leagues, you set one lineup before wild-card weekend and let it ride until the Super Bowl, with the team scoring the most overall points coming out on top. Naturally, it makes the most sense to select players you think have the best shot at playing on Super Bowl Sunday.

Ranking the teams in each conference puts you a step further and will help you target specific players from specific teams. For instance, it makes more sense to draft or select Ravens players over Titans or Vikings players, as both of those teams are the No. 6 seeds in their respective conferences and must win three road games to make it to Miami.

 

2) Quarterbacks reign supreme

Quarterbacks typically score the most fantasy points, regardless of format, so they become even more vital to your team's success in a four-week playoff format.

In leagues where you must start at least one player from each team in a best-ball format, finding the right quarterback is absolutely paramount. At the most important position, you'll want your quarterback spot to be maximized to the fullest.

In those leagues, you'll certainly want to pick a QB that you estimate will be playing in the Super Bowl, which will give them at least three games to play in, thus maximizing your potential points. Ravens signal-caller Lamar Jackson, the likely MVP and top fantasy point-scorer in 2019, will be the most popular selection.

 

3) Choose key players on potential losing teams

This strategy is especially important in salary cap and one-and-done leagues. In these setups, you'll live to fight another week, so choosing a player whose team gets eliminated won't cost you as much.

Don't avoid an entire team just because you are convinced that they won't advance past the first round.  Instead, your goal should be to capitalize on great matchups, even if you aren't sold on that team winning that week.

Basically, it's all about the matchups and potential game flow. For instance, don't avoid Bills No. 1 receiver John Brown in a good matchup with the Texans on Saturday just because you think Buffalo doesn't have what it takes to win on the road in Houston.

It's hard to imagine the Patriots losing at home for the second week in a row and their run defense has been stout for much of the year, but don't avoid Derrick Henry just because of that. The Titans' offensive juggernaut has been carrying fantasy squads in the second half, amassing five 100-yard games (a 200-yard affair in Week 17) and 10 rushing TDs since Nov. 10.

 

4) Play the matchups

We have all had to make tough decisions on a weekly basis in season-long leagues, and it usually always comes down to the matchups. As you look to maximize value in salary cap and one-and-done leagues, it's all about the matchups once again.

The Saints and Patriots will both be home favorites that boast stingy defenses. That means Kirk Cousins, Ryan Tannehill and the rest of those offenses might be avoided. Consider using them as cheap contrarian plays in case they spring upsets.

Nobody is giving the Eagles (8-8) much of a chance despite the fact that they're hosting a wild-card game against a Seattle team that is extremely banged up and coming off a dispiriting loss to their division rivals. Why not throw a few bones at Carson Wentz or Dallas Goedert? It's not like Seattle still boasts a Legion of Boom defense these days.

 

5) Pair a quarterback with his top receiver

This strategy is often successful in season-long leagues as well, and it makes more sense for those playing in a total-points league or setup that awards double and triple the points if your players advance.

If you're confident the team you are choosing from will advance deep into the postseason or even be extremely productive in a specific week, using a quarterback-receiver combination could yield big results.

Pairing Jackson with tight end Mark Andrews or Aaron Rodgers with Davante Adams could easily be the difference if they advance to the Super Bowl.

In salary cap or one-and-done leagues, a combination of Drew Brees and Michael Thomas or Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins could get it done in games that have shootout potential.

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