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Five Strategies To Help You Win In Fantasy Playoff Leagues

If you won a fantasy football title in the regular season and are looking for more hardware of 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 amongst 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 a team like the Chiefs or Saints, 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, you'd much rather draft or select Saints players over Eagles players, as Philadelphia could lose on the road in the first weekend.


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. Tip: Choosing Drew Brees or Patrick Mahomes would be the smartest way to go.


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 Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard of the Bears if you're worried about Nick Foles pulling off another big upset in the postseason.

Seattle could certainly pull off the road upset of the Cowboys, but that doesn't mean you should altogether avoid Ezekiel Elliott, who was one of the best fantasy running backs in the second half of the season.


4) Play the matchups

We all have 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.

The Ravens and Bears had two of the best overall defenses in the NFL in 2018. That means Philip Rivers and Nick Foles and the rest of those offenses might be avoided. Consider using them as cheap contrarian plays in case they spring upsets.

The Cowboys-Seahawks matchup is expected to be a defensive-minded game, making Russell Wilson, Chris Carson, Doug Baldwin, Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper potential sleepers that will also save you a ton of salary cap space.


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 league that awards double and triple the points if your players advance.

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

Pairing Brees with Michael Thomas or Mahomes with Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce could easily be the difference if they advance to the Super Bowl.

In salary cap or one-and-done leagues, a combination of Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton or Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins could get it done in a game that has shootout potential.

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