How to succeed in fantasy football playoffs

Matt Bolton

So the fantasy football season is 13 weeks in and that means it’s time for the fantasy playoffs!  

The playoffs in fantasy football are a phenomenon like no other.  

Upsets are common and no game is easy.  It quite simply is where the unexpected and unlikely become the ordinary.  

Every other fantasy football player and I have a love/hate relationship with fantasy football, but specifically the fantasy playoffs.  

You love the moments where you eliminate your friends from a chance at winning the championship.  

You live for the moments where your team that barely got into the playoffs all of a sudden catches fire and brings you a championship.  

You hate the moments where you lose a close matchup.  

It’s one thing to get absolutely embarrassed by your opponent, but when you lose by two you sit there stunned and in disbelief think, “If only I started this guy instead, I would have won.”  

Unfortunately, we’ve all been there it’s the nature of the game we love so much.  

You despise the times where your star player who’s been consistent all season for you has his worst game of the year when you needed him the most.  

The approach that I’ve mastered to minimize my disappointment when the playoffs come around is to remind myself only one person is winning the league.  

When it comes down to it, no matter if you finish in last or not, if you were outside the money does it really matter in what place you came?

I’m in the playoffs in my league, and so I thought I would help others who are in the same position as me.  

Most importantly you have got to be confident in your team, whether you’re the top or the bottom seed. 

I throw out the seeds when it comes to the playoffs because if you’ve played fantasy football as long as I have you know that it truly is the case that anything can happen.  

Strategy for the playoffs is less complex than the ones you used to succeed throughout the regular season.  By the time the playoffs have rolled around, the waiver wire is depleted and stripped of any potential talent. 

 Besides swapping a defense out for one that exists with a favorable lineup, there’s going to be no changes with the team you had on your roster for the final week of the regular season.  

While the pressures of the playoffs can stress you out there are fewer headaches when choosing who to start come playoff time.  

You are past the bye weeks so you’re starting all of your studs.   

I’ve always gone with the philosophy that you got to stick with the players who got you here.  

Don’t get too cute.  

Shady McCoy had struggled early this season and gets a tough matchup with the Seahawks this week one of the best teams at stopping the run.  

Are you really going to bench him after posting 19 points the last two weeks, his two best games of the year? 

Do so at your own peril because if he goes off you’ll have nobody to blame aside from yourself.  

Drew Brees threw for five touchdowns last week yet Jimmy Graham laid an egg with a stat line of zero catches, zero touchdowns and zero targets.  

Does that mean you bench Graham, the second best tight end in terms of scoring this year next week? 


Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been nothing short of remarkable this year leading fantasy wide receivers in scoring, but gets a stingy Bengals defense that has given up the fewest receiving touchdowns on the season.  

What should I, an owner of Antonio Brown, do?  Well, that’s simple, I start him and don’t hesitate.  

Unless there is an injury to one of your main players your lineups should be unchanged during the three weeks of playoffs.  

If there are doubts about who to start between players who truly are evenly matched for the playoffs I try to think what is most likely to happen.  

You’re going to make mistakes during the playoffs and I’ll assure you somebody on your bench will outscore someone in your starting lineup.  

Yet, remind yourself that everyone is going to have the same problems.  

One piece of advice for lineups is that your flex spot should be occupied by a running back.  

Unless you are loaded with three top wide outs you need to be starting a runner at the flex spot because their touches are more easy to guarantee.  

One of the reasons most players and I love fantasy football so much is because of the randomness to it.  

One philosophy I’ve adopted is that if you lose, the other guy got lucky and if you win, well, of course it was due to your skill.  

Of course that is flawed, but are you going to admit you lost because of anything other than bad luck? 

Because I know I’m not.  

The trash talk during the playoffs in my league and many of my friends’ leagues get just as intense as the matchups and it adds to the fun because there is always somebody and unfortunately the last few times it has been me that assures a victory only to get trounced.  

Hopefully, this year you and I get the last laugh amongst the other owners in our leagues.

However, a huge question remains and that is what do you do if you’re not a part of the fantasy playoffs. 

I don’t know if there is a good answer for that, but here are some suggestions I have thought of.  

I would attempt to just enjoy the rest of the NFL season and avoid thinking of fantasy football.  

That can be near impossible to do after spending months spending your Sundays checking your league’s scoreboard, but it is worth a shot.  

Another thing you could do is root for all the bad teams to pull off upsets.  

Misery loves company, and what better way to enjoy being out of the playoffs then knowing the top seeds are right by your side in the consolation games. 

Hopefully, you are in multiple leagues and have made the playoffs in at least one because they really are so much fun.  

The ups and downs of fantasy football are intensified during the fantasy playoffs, because the format it really is do or die you lose and you’re out.  

The three week, and for some leagues four week, roller coaster begins tonight, and I just wish everyone the best of luck and hope you get to enjoy the rid.