2021 Hold Em Strategy: Wild Card


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2021 Hold Em Strategy: Wild Card

If you’re looking for more postseason contests, look no further than NFFC’s Postseason Hold ‘Em Contest. The contest is filling up quickly though, so get in on the action. It’s $200 per lineup, with 1st place taking home $125,000.

The rules of Hold ‘Em, as taken from Joe Dolan’s Postseason Contests piece, are as follows:

The premise: your scores rise with the longer you keep a player on your roster.

However, you can only pick one player from each team in Round 1, two max from each team in Round 2, three max in Round 3, and four max in Round 4 (the Super Bowl).

12 players score points using standard NFFC scoring (6 points per passing TD, etc.). This year, that means you’ll be leaving off players from two playoff teams. In Round 1, everyone scores 1x the points. In Round 2, if you have six players that are on winning teams, you get 2x of their scores. Everyone you lost in Round 1 can be replaced in Round 2, then so on, but those new players start at 1x. Each round a player stays on your roster their scores multiply (so 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x).

The key is to find the top scorers from the potential Super Bowl finalists and then add good players each week. So Ryan Tannehill and Aaron Rodgers might be the two QBs you pick in Round 1, even though they might not even play. You take a zero in Round 1, but those players automatically get double points in Round 2. Get the top players on your initial roster in Week 1 as well and then keep adding key players in Round 2, like Davante Adams and AJ Brown.

It sounds simple enough, but the QB on the sixth (or, now, seventh)-seeded team can sometimes be the winning play. Eli Manning did it twice, while Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger have also done it. Our guy Greg Ambrosius says: “it's crazy, but shit happens in the playoffs and with 2000 teams you need some crazy plays to win it all.”

Wild-Card Strategy


My quarterback strategy was actually fairly good last year. While I think I would have preferred using Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady right out of the gate, my QBs served me well:

I would think that 90% of the lineups in the contest will take the zero this week with Patrick Mahomes and enjoy doubling up his score next week. I would also imagine a large chunk will have Aaron Rodgers as their QB2. For me, however, I’d prefer to get three weeks production from Josh Allen in a two week span (Wild Card plus Division x2). I’m also expecting the Bills and Chiefs to face off in the AFC Championship game, so barring any upset, I’ll be locking in Mahomes and Allen for the next three weeks.

However, I think there’s something to be said about taking 2 QBs in the same conference. Mahomes and Allen met in the AFC Championship last year, so it was inevitable that my SB roster would be a 1X. With that in mind, I’ll gladly take a 0 this week by using Aaron Rodgers. Vegas loves the Packers to come out of the NFC, so instead of overthinking a strategy, I’ll hopefully be getting 3 weeks of Rodgers (culminating in a 4X in the Super Bowl). With my QB2, I’m going Joe Burrow; while the Bengals are currently 4th in AFC odds to make the Super Bowl, Burrow’s assortment of weapons could net 2X production this week alone.

Running Backs

I screwed myself right out of the gate last year when I picked Tennessee to beat Baltimore in Round 1, putting a damper on any 2X and 3X possibility from Derrick Henry.

Well, I’m going with the King again. I’m not going to write off D’Onta Foreman as being a key player in the Titans offense, but 2X Derrick Henry next week guaranteed, with a real possibility of a 3X the week after seems to be a no brainer. As of next week, Henry will have had over two months of rest.

Elsewhere at the RB position, I’m a little stuck with my strategy. There are plenty of viable options, but 1) estimating a possibly 2X out of the remaining teams, and 2) navigating the IR field has proven tricky. As you read on, you’ll see my WR selections takes Michel, Mitchell, and Singletary off the board. By taking Burrow this week, Mixon is off the board. So I’ll be going off the Fantasy Points Projections, rostering Leonard Fournette (projected RB2) and Josh Jacobs (RB4).

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The WRs tripped me up last year; but this year, there are a few no-brainers, especially considering NFC Odds. Davante Adams and Mike Evans are automatically off the board (since I’m rostering Rodgers and Fournette already), so I’m literally just going to go with the next 3 NFC favorites in the Rams, Cowboys, and 49ers. That means: Cooper Kupp (projected WR1 for Wild Card), CeeDee Lamb (projected WR5), and Deebo Samuel (WR2). Kupp should advance for 2X next week, and I’ll get 2X guaranteed out of 1 of Lamb and Samuel. Including my unused flex spot, that leaves 2 spots remaining (1 flex, 1 WR/TE). As much as I’d like to use Tyreek Hill, I’m going with Travis Kelce and Stefon Diggs as my other two spots. Theoretically speaking, I’ll hopefully be looking at 4 out of my 5 WR/TE spots advancing and getting 2X next week.

Kicker and Defense

We’re looking at process of elimination here, with only the Eagles, Cardinals, Patriots, and Steelers left to choose from. Sunday’s TB-Phi game should be a washout, so I don’t trust Jake Elliott as my kicker. Additionally, Tom Brady vs. first year DC Jonathan Gannon could spell trouble for the Eagles DST. I’ll take the Patriots DST in the hopes of a few [likely] Allen interceptions. Finally, according to the Fantasy Points projections, I’m left with Jake Elliott (projected K12), Matt Prater (K5), and Chris Boswell (K9). I’ll take Prater kicking in sunny California.

Wild Card Lineup

QB: Aaron Rodgers

QB: Joe Burrow

RB: Derrick Henry

RB: Josh Jacobs

RB: Leonard Fournette

WR/TE: Cooper Kupp

WR/TE: CeeDee Lamb

WR/TE: Stefon Diggs

WR/TE: Travis Kelce

FLEX: Deebo Samuel

PK: Matt Prater

DST: Patriots

Good luck to everyone reading and I’ll see you back here next week!

Director of Operations Ben Kukainis is pleased to once again work alongside his friends and fantasy experts, producing livestreams and podcasts, creating graphics and web layout, heading up marketing and social media, and working with the development team on web design and user experience. Ben received his Master’s in English from Rutgers University in 2013 and has been teaching Literature at Rowan University since 2015.