I look forward to the playoffs every season. Not only is the best football played at this time, but for obvious reasons, my workload dwindles significantly, so I have more time to actually enjoy the football.
But I always have another itch to scratch… because fantasy football isn’t over.
Every year, I use MyFantasyLeague to run a one-and-done playoff contest for me and my friends (many of whom you know through Fantasy Points).
The rules are simple.
You pick a starting lineup of 10 players every week: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RWT FLEX, 1 PK, and 1 DST. PPR scoring with 4 points per TD and -2 per INT. You get 3 points per field goal and 1 per XP, and return TDs (but not yards) count.
You can pick any player from any team for your lineup every week… except you can only use a guy ONCE throughout the playoffs. So if you use Patrick Mahomes this week, you can’t use him again. So you want to both maximize your score any given week… but make sure you have enough good players left for each subsequent week. And we dwindle from 14 teams available in Playoff Week 1… to just 2 for the Super Bowl.
And for a bonus, THIS YEAR, I AM MAKING SCORING IN THE SUPER BOWL 1.5X… SO IT’S MORE IMPORTANT TO HAVE PLAYERS WHO ADVANCE.
In other words, you have to predict both this week’s games and the Super Bowl. So there’s a lot of strategy involved.
I also pay out weekly prizes in addition to the playoff-long grand prizes.
So I figured I’d talk through my strategy in this contest for a quick article, for those of you doing something similar.
For posterity, here is last week’s article, where I talked through my strategy.
I had a really strong lineup in the Wild Card Round. Uh… not so much in the Divisional Round.
QB Josh Allen
RB Travis Etienne, Tony Pollard
WR Stefon Diggs, Tee Higgins
TE Evan Engram
FX Christian Kirk, Brandon Aiyuk
K Riley Patterson
After a fifth-place finish in the Wild Card Round (of 42), I finished 33rd in the Divisional Round. UGH!
Obviously, the Allen-Diggs stack laying an egg was a disaster. But Pollard got hurt, Aiyuk and Higgins did nothing, and all in all I had a bad week.
The good news is I have almost every option available to me this week. I have predicted all but one game correctly this playoff season — I picked Tampa to beat Dallas. And to have a shot to place in this contest, I need to both maximize my score this week but leave enough top scores for the 1.5X multiplier in the Super Bowl.
I need to take some stands.
Quarterback (Start 1, Max of 1)
I have all four QBs at the ready.
I am starting the injured Patrick Mahomes this week. I think the Bengals will repeat as AFC champs, which gives me the option to use Joe Burrow next week.
I could use Jalen Hurts and guarantee myself Mahomes or Burrow next week, but I also think the Eagles will win and I will plan on using Hurts next week. I have not used Brock Purdy, so at least I’ll have a QB in the Super Bowl if I’m wrong.
Already Used: Kirk Cousins, Josh Allen
Also Considered: Jalen Hurts
Running Back (Start 2, Max of 4)
Following last week’s absolutely pitiful showing, I have to take a stand in order to try to maximize my remaining score. So I am loading up on players from teams I think will lose.
In the backfield, that means Christian McCaffrey and Jerick McKinnon, saving Miles Sanders, Joe Mixon, and Samaje Perine for next week.
If the Chiefs and Niners advance, I at least have Isiah Pacheco and Elijah Mitchell still to use.
Already Used: Saquon Barkley, Austin Ekeler, JK Dobbins, Travis Etienne, Tony Pollard
Also Considered: None
Wide Receiver (Start 2, Max of 4)
If I were playing from a “defensive” position — i.e. if I were in the top three or four overall in scoring — I probably wouldn’t risk not getting to use the likes of Ja’Marr Chase and AJ Brown in this round.
But for me to win this contest, I need to look ahead — what will give me the best chance to win?
Basically the only chance I have is predicting the two Super Bowl teams and saving all their big-time players. So I’m committed to my pre-Wild Card Super Bowl prediction — Cincy and Philly.
That means I’m using Deebo Samuel, Kadarius Toney, and the Bengals’ tertiary receiver, Tyler Boyd.
If the Chiefs win, I still have guys like Mecole Hardman, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Justin Watson left. If the 49ers win? Well… I’d be in trouble, as I already know.
Already Used: Justin Jefferson, Keenan Allen, CeeDee Lamb, Christian Kirk, Stefon Diggs, Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins
Also Considered: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Quez Watkins, DeVonta Smith, Jauan Jennings
Tight End (Start 1, Max of 3)
I’m stacking Travis Kelce with Mahomes. I’m also using George Kittle as a FLEX to try to create some differentiation in my lineup.
Already Used: TJ Hockenson, Evan Engram
Also Considered: None
Kicker and DST (Start 1 Each)
I’ll use Harrison Butker, as I think the Chiefs lose. I have both NFC kickers available to me next week.
Already Used: Justin Tucker, Riley Patterson
This is simple. I’m using Kansas City. I’ve already used Cincy, but haven’t used either NFC defense, so I’ll have a DST guaranteed next week.
Already Used: Miami, Cincinnati