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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 season, 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 Patriots or Steelers, who have the best odds of representing the AFC 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 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 Patriots players over Bills players, as Buffalo could easily be an early exit.


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 position 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 Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger 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 really cost you.

Actually, not choosing a player that has a fantastic week on a losing team will cost you even more in one-and done leagues, since you won't be able to use that player in the future. Instead, your goal should be to not miss out on a potential big performance, even if you aren't sold on that team winning that week.

Basically, it's all about the matchups and potential game flow here. For instance, if you think the Falcons will lose to the Rams and be playing behind that high-octane offense most of the day, quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones would be solid choices in salary cap and one-and-done leagues for the Wild-Card round.

If you aren't sold on the Rams pulling it off, you better utilize Todd Gurley, the potential NFL MVP, before you lose him. You don't see any way the Titans can pull the upset on the road? Why not use tight end Delanie Walker or running back Derrick Henry, especially with DeMarco Murray (knee) out? They'd both be cheap in salary cap, too.


4) Play the matchups

We all have had to make tough decisions on a weekly 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.

Is it worth paying for Leonard Fournette in Wild-Card weekend? Well, he'll be facing the worst defense against running backs this year, so he seems like a perfect pick in a lot of leagues, especially one and done.

On the flip side, the Panthers run defense was one of the stingiest all season. Although Alvin Kamara is basically a shoo-in for Offensive Rookie of the Year, will he be worth paying up for in salary cap setups this weekend? Same goes for Mark Ingram.

Then you have your sleepers... Titans receivers Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker won't be expensive in salary cap, but they could also surprise if the Titans are forced to air it out to play catch-up, and the Chiefs allowed the second most fantasy points per game (37.4) to opposing wideouts in 2017.


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 ultra-productive in a specific week, pairing a quarterback-receiver combination could yield big results.

Pairing Brady with Brandin Cooks or Rob Gronkowski or Big Ben with Antonio Brown (health permitting) or JuJu Smith-Schuster 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 could get it done given Carolina's struggles in pass defense.


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