Did you make it to the playoffs? Then these tips are for you. Did you make it to the loser - I mean, consolation - bracket and want to avoid getting last place in your league? Then these tips can help you, too.
First off, congratulations on a great season and making it this far. This year has been filled with lots of injuries and surprises, so kudos to you for surviving.
But it’s not over yet. Don’t get soft. Playoffs are arguably the toughest part of fantasy football, because one wrong roster move could be the difference between winning and losing it all. Getting to the league championship isn’t going to be easy, and you have to be on your A game every week. No pressure!
Are you scared yet? Good. So am I.
Obviously, I don’t know your team and I can’t set your lineups for you, but here are some tips to help you get to the championship and take home the Shiva (that’s a trophy, for those of you non-League watchers).
HAVE A STRATEGY
Honestly, the strategy for playoffs isn’t much different than the regular season, it’s just more important to get it right. Like I talked about a couple weeks ago, matchups matter, which means you need to start your players that have the best matchups.
Along with playing matchups, another strategy is to play defense. Does your opponent need a tight end or quarterback? Pick up the best one, so they can’t have him. This may feel dirty and a little savage, but it’s a part of fantasy football. If you have an extra roster spot, this isn’t a bad thing to do.
BE CAUTIOUS OF WEEK 17
If you make it to the championship, and it goes into Week 17 like mine does, you’re going to want to consider the possibility that your studs may not play as much. NFL teams that already have a playoff spot guaranteed (like the Cowboys) may decide to protect and rest their starters and not allow them to play the full game, which leaves your fantasy team at a disadvantage. Some of the teams I could see doing this would be the Cowboys, Patriots, and Raiders, although that could change in the coming weeks, depending on who wins and loses.
If this happens, make sure that you have a plan in place, whether that’s starting someone else or picking up Ezekiel Elliott’s handcuff (that’s Alfred Morris, in case you didn’t know. Hint hint…). This is the problem that I’m thinking about the most, because I’ve never been in a league that went into Week 17. My plan is to watch and see which teams have already secured a playoff spot, which teams are still fighting for a spot, and which teams don’t have a chance. Preferably, you want to start players in the “still fighting for a spot” bracket.
STREAM A DEFENSE
Unless you have one of the top-tier defenses that you can start every week (Denver, Minnesota, Seattle), you might have to turn to the waiver wire for a defense at some point during the playoffs (I know I’m going to). Look ahead at your current defense’s schedule and see if there are any bad upcoming matchups. Below are a few defenses that you could sub in for a week or two, and are probably still available to pick up.
Week 14: Detroit – Recently, Detroit has been turning up the heat on defense. They just held the Saints to 13 points (that’s shocking), and in Week 14 they play the Bears, who have been decimated by injuries.
Week 16: San Diego – Why do I like the Chargers in Week 16? One word: Browns. You start any defense going against the Browns, and the Chargers get to play them. They’re only 45 percent owned, so if you make it to the championship and need a replacement defense, the Chargers have a great matchup.
Week 17: Pittsburgh – I like the Steelers in Week 17 for the same reason that I liked the Chargers: The Browns. Also, the past three weeks, the Steelers defense has had five interceptions, a fumble recovery, and a touchdown.
DRIVE SAFE AND TAKE CHANCES
One last thing: don’t get too cute. Start your studs that have gotten you this far. It’s okay to take chances on someone that you think is going to do well, but don’t do that by benching someone that has consistently been performing.
Hopefully, these tips and strategies can help you win your playoff match and ultimately, the ‘ship. But if they don’t, don’t blame me. Blame Brock Osweiler instead, because he deserves all the hate.