One-and-Done Strategy: Conference Championship


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One-and-Done Strategy: Conference Championship

Fantasy Points managing editor Joe Dolan runs a playoff contest with his friends that employs the “one-and-done” or “use ‘em and lose ‘em” format.

The premise is simple: you pick a lineup from the entire available player pool every week (in this format, I reluctantly include kickers and defenses to make lineups bigger). The goal is to score the most points throughout the entire playoffs. But you can only use a player once. So you can choose to use Josh Allen in the first week of the postseason, but he’s unavailable the rest of the way.

It’s a really deep and interesting way to play because you have to maximize your scoring every week. Yes, saving players is important. But you can’t just use scrubs from teams you project to lose every week because you need to score the most points overall to win the grand prize. On the flip side, you can load up on points in the first round, but you may be doing so by eliminating players who are going to advance deep into the playoffs, which gives you a very limited player pool the rest of the way.

With that in mind, here are the strategies our staff are using in the contest in the title round.

Lineups are 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 PK, 1 DST, and 2 WRT FLEX. Scoring is PPR with 4 points per passing TD. Return TDs — but not yards — count.

Joe Dolan

315.18 points; 7th place (70.16 out of first)


Previously Used: Dak Prescott (Dal), Patrick Mahomes (KC)

Joe Burrow (Cin) — Last week, I loaded up on Chiefs. I expected a high-scoring game that Buffalo would win. And if the game was 13 seconds shorter… I would have made out like a bandit. Alas, the Chiefs advanced, and while I put up a ton of points because of loading up on Mahomes and his cronies, I now have to be very delicate to give myself a shot to win this pool. I need to use Burrow at QB to guarantee myself a Super Bowl QB — I haven’t used either Jimmy G or Stafford yet, so regardless of who wins the NFC game, I will have a player to use.

Running Backs

Previously Used: Josh Jacobs (LV), Elijah Mitchell (SF), Damien Harris (NE), Derrick Henry (Ten), Jerick McKinnon (KC)

Joe Mixon (Cin) — I’m picking KC to win this one, so I’m using Mixon and hopefully he contributes in the passing game. I’m saving CEH and One-L Williams for next week.

Sony Michel (LAR) — Now here’s where I have to get a little tricky. In order for me to have any chance to win this pool, the Rams need to advance to Super Bowl LVI. So I am saving Akers for that instance and hoping to be able to load up on Rams in that game. Maybe Michel falls into the end zone for a short TD after Akers fumbled twice last week.

Wide Receivers

Previously Used: Hunter Renfrow (LV), Tee Higgins (Cin), Deebo Samuel (SF), Ja’Marr Chase (Cin), Tyler Boyd (Cin), Tyreek Hill (KC), Cooper Kupp (LAR)

Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings (SF) — Again, I need to score some points this week while still giving myself a high-upside lineup next week. So I’ll use the 49ers’ two best WRs that I have left, while saving myself Beckham and Jefferson for the Super Bowl.

Demarcus Robinson (KC) — I don’t have any viable Bengal WRs left to use, but I do have three second-tier Chiefs in Robinson, Hardman, and Pringle. I’ll save the latter two for the Super Bowl and roll with Robinson and hope he makes a big play.

Tight Ends

Previously Used: Zach Ertz (Ari), Travis Kelce (KC)

George Kittle (SF) — I’m picking the Rams to win, so let’s roll with the best receiver I have left at either the WR or TE positions.

CJ Uzomah (Cin) — The best Bengal pass-catcher I haven’t used yet.

D/ST and Kicker

Previously Used: Kansas City D/ST, Daniel Carlson (LV), Ryan Succop (TB), Tennessee D/ST

I need to save NFC players for the Super Bowl, so I’m using Harrison Butker (KC) and the Bengals defense.

Tom Brolley

271.16 points; 21st place (114.18 out of first)


Previously Used: Dak Prescott (Dal), Aaron Rodgers (GB)

Joe Burrow (Cin) — Burrow has thrown for 300+ yards in five of his last seven games and he’s attempted 34+ passes in six of those contests after hitting that threshold three times in his first 11 games. He finished with 446/4 passing on just 39 attempts (11.4 YPA) against the Chiefs in Week 17.

Running Backs

Previously Used: Joe Mixon (Cin), Josh Jacobs (LV), Derrick Henry (Ten), Elijah Mitchell (SF)

Cam Akers (LAR) — Akers had a rough game last week with two fumbles, but he played on by far a season-high 58 snaps (81% share), which was more than the 45 snaps he combined to see in his first two games.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) — CEH managed 7/60 rushing with a nine-yard catch on a 30% share in his first game back last week. This week’s gamescript could work in CEH’s favor as seven-point home favorites

Wide Receivers

Previously Used: Cooper Kupp (LAR), Deebo Samuel (SF), Diontae Johnson (Pit), Amari Cooper (Dal), Davante Adams (GB), Ja’Marr Chase (Cin), Stefon Diggs (Buf)

Tyreek Hill (KC) — Tyreek broke out of his mini-slump with 11/150/1 receiving against the Bills, which included his 64-yard touchdown burst with a minute left in regulation.

Tee Higgins (Cin) — Higgins bounced back with 7/96 receiving last week and the Chiefs just allowed an NFL playoff record four touchdown receptions to Bills’ #2 WR Gabriel Davis last week.

Brandon Aiyuk (SF) — Aiyuk was a non-factor last week but he had his only 100-yard game of the season came against the Rams in early January.

Odell Beckham (LAR) — OBJ matched his season-high with six catches last week, and he’s reached double-digit FP in seven of his last nine games and he’s scored touchdowns in six of those contests.

Tight Ends

Previously Used: Rob Gronkowski (TB), George Kittle (SF), Travis Kelce (KC)

C.J. Uzomah (Cin) — He’s been active in the postseason with 13/135/1 receiving on 14 targets. He’s now posted 4+ catches in four straight games and 3+ catches in eight consecutive contests.

D/ST and Kicker

Previously Used: KC, Ten, Harrison Butker (KC), Randy Bullock (Ten)

Cincinnati Bengals D/ST and Evan McPherson (Cin) — I’m sticking with my defenses and kickers in the AFC until we get to the Super Bowl and I need to be a little different anyway.

Graham Barfield

281.83 points; 17th place (103.5 points out of first)


Patrick Mahomes (KC) – I’ve got all four QBs remaining here, so I don’t care about saving anyone for next week. Going with the highest ceiling option, by far.

Previously Used: Kyler Murray (Ari), Josh Allen (BUF)

Running Backs

Joe Mixon (Cin) – No brainer.

Jerick McKinnon (KC) – I’ll go ahead and use two AFC backs on the hopes that the Rams win and I can use Akers for the Super Bowl in a much better matchup.

Previously Used: Josh Jacobs (LV), Najee Harris (Pit), Darrel Williams (KC), Devin Singletary (Buf), Elijah Mitchell (SF)

Wide Receivers

Tyreek Hill (KC) – By far the best WR remaining for me.

Byron Pringle (KC) – Chiefs on-slaught!

Tee Higgins (Cin) – Saved Chase for last week. Easy to use Higgins here. I’m all in on this game.

Tyler Boyd (Cin) – Might as well keep this game stack rolling… Boyd is in a nice spot here, though, as the Chiefs gave up the ninth-most yards per game to slot WRs during the regular season. Cole Beasley came back to life for 6/60 last week.

Previously Used: Cooper Kupp (LAR), Deebo Samuel (SF), Amari Cooper (Dal), Davante Adams (GB), Stefon Diggs (Buf), Ja’Marr Chase (Cin), AJ Brown (Ten)

Tight Ends

George Kittle (SF) – Kittle flopped for just 5/10 in Week 18 when these two teams met, but he previously smashed the Rams for 4/100, 5/98/1, 9/149/1, 8/103, 5/79/1, 7/109/1, and 5/50/1 in his seven previous meetings with L.A.

Previously Used: Darren Waller (LV), Travis Kelce (KC)

D/ST and Kicker

Bengals D/ST – Have both NFC D/ST’s left, so I’ll save one of them for the Super Bowl.

Robbie Gould (SF) – Have both AFC kickers left, so saving them too.