Fantasy Football Playoffs: Tips for the ‘Ship

December 20th, 2013 by Jeremy Bonnette | Filed under Football, General, Sports.

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If you are one of the lucky few people that still have active fantasy football teams at this stage, give yourself a huge pat on the back.  This is the moment that everyone has prepared for way back when we were scouting our first-round draft picks.  Money and bragging rights are on the line, and there are fewer things that make a person feel better than winning their fantasy football championship.

In the 6 years that I have been actively participating, I have two finals appearances and one championship. This year, both of my teams have made it to the finals (At #1 and #4 playoff seeds), and I am ecstatic.  However, making it is only half of the battle, and if you’re as nervous as I am you’ll do a few things to make sure your team(s) is the one that comes out on top.

My first and easiest suggestion is to make sure that you understand your playoff format.  For example, I play on ESPN.com, meaning that my playoff rounds are two weeks instead of one.  I know that other sites like Yahoo and CBS are a bit different, so keep that in mind when making your match ups.

My second suggestion is to KNOW YOUR TEAM.  This may be more of a judgement call.  However, looking at raw statistics will help you determine which players you should start over others.  Don’t think too much about it though, as sometimes the simplest feeling will sometimes cost you points.

For example, I started Drew brees over Nick Foles last week thinking that Brees would be his usual elite self over the Rams D, while Nick Foles actually doubled his point total (PPR league).  Even though the Vikings ended up defeating the Eagles, Foles continued his hot streak, which brings me to my next suggestion.

Know your players’ situations.  This year has been more on the competitive side with very few teams that aren’t competing for playoff spots, but you should absolutely know which one are playing for pay dirt, or resting for the postseason. In years past, I have suffered from putting the wrong players in at the wrong time such as playing Peyton Manning in week 17.  You and I may not have that issue this late in the year, but do monitor your players’ production while the season is coming to an end.

Players that put up points such as Knowshon Moreno and Frank Gore may have their numbers slightly cut to prevent injury risks as they get ready for the postseason (especially with capable players behind them in the depth chart), and while it may not seem like much at first, words cannot describe how angry I get when Monte Ball gets TDs (especially considering that a very good chunk of Moreno’s numbers come from scoring).  That may not always be the case, but it is definitely something to pay attention to.

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Speaking of paying attention, be absolutely sure that your player is…well…playing on game day. Statuses such as questionable, doubtful, and even probable should rise alarms as they can lead to decreases in ability, carries, targets, or playing time altogether.  A couple of weeks back, I had the burden of having Reggie Bush in my RB 2 slot. When a report came out that he’d aggravated an injury during practice, it was already too late to sub him out. Much to my benefit, my opponent did the same with Wes Welker last week.  This is a very easy way to lose a close match up so just be mindful of injury statuses during the days prior to game day.

My last suggestion is to stay away from free agency.  It’s very very easy to want a player who’s putting up fantasy numbers that you need.  Unless you happen to be trading out players that have seen a decrease in production, it’s advisable to stick with what you’ve got.  For example, I’ve noticed to pretty evident decrease in Danny Woodhead’s production (which is understandable with his role as a utility back) so I’ve added Ryan Matthews to my lineup as San Diego’s game plan includes establishing the running game more to set up Phillip Rivers for success.

I would love to add Julian Edelman to my roster after Larry Fitzgerald suffered a concussion injury. However, this team got me to the finals for a reason, and making last second gut decisions with little to base them off of could help, but also hurt.

In any case, make the most rational decisions possible, and you’ll feel much better about the end results. After all, you’ve come too far to drop the ball now. Best of luck of you and your team(s), and may the fantasy football gods bless you.

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