The NFL Playoffs

By Michael Murphy

After a season of fantasy football, some will try their hand at another variant of the game: fantasy football for the NFL playoffs. With only 12 NFL teams worth of players available, first-round byes to consider, and the gradual elimination of useable players, fantasy football during the postseason takes on a different look.

And you should be armed with the tools to succeed in this style of play.

Know Your League Settings

Just like in your regular season fantasy football leagues, you need to know your league’s settings.

Most fantasy NFL playoff formats are points-based (no head-to-head competition), and allow you to pick from a list of available players each week of the postseason. But some of these contests use variations of this basic version of play.

In some cases, your players receive bonus scoring if they remain on your roster for consecutive weeks (assuming their NFL team is still playing). In other cases, owners have to pick their players and lock-in their starting roster at the beginning of the playoffs for the rest of the postseason.

The idea in these cases is to reward owners for correctly balancing player performance with the anticipated performance of the players’ NFL teams.

Whatever the case may be, make sure you understand how the game is being played differently than it was in the regular season.

Then do your homework to figure out how to set-up the best lineup for that format of play. Studying the playoff matchups carefully is a great place to start.

Know the Matchups

The NFL playoffs bring out some of the best strengths and the worst weaknesses in teams.

If you want to improve your chances of fantasy success during the NFL playoffs, make sure you know these strengths and weaknesses, and how they might affect the performance of the players you are considering for your roster. It may be a “new season” for these teams, but their tendencies will remain the same as they were during the regular season.

Also, don’t forget about homefield advantage and playoff experience. Both can have significant effects on players and NFL teams.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pick players who are playing at home or who have been in the postseason before. But if you need a tiebreaker to help you make a final decision between two players, these factors can be used to break the tie.

Stick with Winners

There are players during the regular season that unexpectedly shine throughout the course of the season. That dynamic does not typically take place during the postseason.

The players who excel in the postseason are usually among those who performed well all season long. And with only 4 weeks of postseason play, this is not the time to experiment with players possessing potential.

So select the key players who got their teams to the postseason. They have the greatest potential for points.

And you will be hard-pressed to guess correctly which Tier 2 or Tier 3 player might score more in a given game. Stick with the winners to have a shot at being one yoursel