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 Josh Allen 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 next week’s games. 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.
Quarterback (Start 1, Max of 1)
I’m using Kirk Cousins this week. Wes Huber loves the matchup for him, and this game has the highest total on the slate at 48. And I believe the Vikings will lose to the Giants in this matchup, so I’m projecting this to be the last chance I have to use Kirkie.
Also Considered: Daniel Jones, Justin Herbert
Running Back (Start 2, Max of 4)
First of all, I’m using Saquon Barkley as a bring-back for Kirk Cousins in this matchup. While I expect the Giants to advance, Saquon has a much tougher matchup looming next week, almost certainly with the Eagles (barring the Seahawks beating the 49ers). Three weeks ago in this matchup, Saquon managed 133 yards from scrimmage and a TD, good for 27.4 FP.
I’m also using Austin Ekeler. He’s one of the two best RBs in fantasy, and I think the Chargers have a good chance to lose to the Jaguars this week. I’m not missing my opportunity to use him.
I’m using a third RB this week in JK Dobbins. He’s played well in the second half of the season, and said on Friday that he feels as close to 100% as he has since his knee injury 16 months ago. The Ravens are big underdogs, but with a terrible passing game, they have no choice but to lean on the run.
After a week off, Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins feels as close to 100% as he has since his knee injury. pic.twitter.com/au6Fxtpb48— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) January 13, 2023
Also Considered: Jeff Wilson, Travis Etienne
Wide Receiver (Start 3, Max of 5)
I’m stacking Justin Jefferson with Cousins. Again, I think the Vikings drop this game, so I’m not passing up the chance to use fantasy’s best WR.
The Cowboys have a tough battle with the Buccaneers looming, but I’m going to go to the well with CeeDee Lamb. Again, I predicted Dallas to lose this game, so it’s my last chance to use one of the NFL’s catch leaders. As Graham Barfield pointed out, “Lamb runs 65% of his routes from the slot, which is where the Bucs’ gave up a whopping 8.9 yards per target (fifth-most).”
I’m also going to bat for Keenan Allen. Allen’s teammate Mike Williams will miss this weekend’s game with a back injury after Brandon Staley’s disastrous decision to play his starters in the Week 18 finale against the Broncos. Allen averaged about 8 catches per game over the final seven weeks of the season, and the Jags aren’t a particularly difficult matchup. This is potentially my last chance to use Allen.
Also Considered: Chris Godwin, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Richie James, Zay Jones
Tight End (Start 1, Max of 3)
TJ Hockenson absolutely torched the Giants for 13/109/2 on 16 targets just three weeks ago. I have the double-Kirkie stack with Hock and JJ. My hope? The Vikings lose a shootout.
Also Considered: Evan Engra
Kicker and DST (Start 1 Each)
Justin Tucker is the game’s best kicker and I don’t think he plays beyond this week. Lock button.
I’m also using the Miami Defense. I think the Dolphins lose big, but Josh Allen is prone to sacks and turnovers, which is all I’m looking for at this stage.