Hold Em Strategy: Wild Card


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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 Patrick Mahomes 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 Travis Kelce.

It sounds simple enough, but the QB on the sixth-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.”

Overall Strategy


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 3 weeks.

Running Backs

Instead of starting Aaron Rodgers this week, taking the zero, and doubling up his production next week, I’m using that strategy for Aaron Jones. If there are any big upsets this week, i.e. Washington over Tampa Bay or Chicago over New Orleans, I don’t see Aaron Rodgers having to throw 350/4 to beat the lowest seeded team, and prefer getting twice the rushing production out of Jones.

I’m predicting Tennessee to beat Baltimore (again), so I’m plugging in Derrick Henry and Alvin Kamara as my other two RBs and hoping for three weeks of elite RB production in two. I may re-asses in the Conference Championships, but my lineup this week is taking into account my immediate predictions and who I want to play next week. If the Titans lose, I will at least have had one week’s worth of Derrick Henry and will have to pivot to someone else next week.

Wide Receivers

This is where the Hold ‘Em format gets tricky (and exciting). I’ve already used players from the Chiefs, Bills, Packers, Titans, and Saints, so guys playing this weekend like Stefon Diggs, AJ Brown, and Michael Thomas are out of play, and those on byes like Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams are off the board as well. So I’m honestly just going with Wild Card production here, and not worrying about future rounds. Allen Robinson and Diontae Johnson should again be target-hounds, ranking 6th and 7th in targets over the last 4 weeks (38, 36), and 3rd and 6th in targets on the year (151, 144), and I think going Tyler Lockett over DK Metcalf is a smart contrarian play, as Rams slot CB Troy Hill has been up and down all season, and Lockett is coming off of a monster Week 17.

Tight End

Logan Thomas will likely be the chalk play at TE for this Hold ‘Em contest, and I’m on board with that. There’s no way I’m going to miss out on 2X production from Patrick Mahomes by going with Travis Kelce here, and I want to take advantage of the Buccaneers DST in this round, ruling out Rob Gronkowski. TE just hasn’t been exciting all year, so I’m going with one of the few surprises at the position and will regroup next week after Washington gets bounced.

Kicker and Defense

While I believe the Ravens will lose, playing Justin Tucker this week is still a win-win situation. If the Ravens do in fact lose, I can pivot to either Succop or Myers next week without having to touch Mahomes, Allen, Jones, Henry, Kamara and the like. If they win, I get another round of 2X the production from the league’s best kicker.

At defense, I really contemplated going Seattle, with Jared Goff iffy--which would leave me open to slotting in Chris Godwin or Mike Evans over Tyler Lockett. But I’m going with a Buccaneers squad that registered the 5th most sacks on the year. I think Washington is going to put up a fight, but I’m not going to overthink this, and will pick the DST facing a bottom-playoff offense.

Wild Card Lineup

QB: Patrick Mahomes

QB: Josh Allen

RB: Aaron Jones

RB: Derrick Henry

RB: Alvin Kamara

WR/TE: Diontae Johnson

WR/TE: Tyler Lockett

WR/TE: Logan Thomas

WR/TE: Allen Robinson

FLEX: Jonathan Taylor

PK: Justin Tucker

DST: Buccaneers

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.