Another Fantasy football season comes to an end. Win or lose, I hope you had fun. If you’re like me, you’re now wondering what to do with your Sundays. If you still have the Fantasy itch, there are plenty of Fantasy playoff leagues you can play in. There are typically two different types of Fantasy playoff leagues. The first is similar to a salary cap league. You get a certain amount of money and each player has an assigned value. You choose a roster, but must stay within your salary cap. In some leagues, you keep that roster with a limited number of swaps. In other leagues, you can make changes each week if you would like, but keep in mind that a player’s value may change depending on performance (and if their team advances). Sometimes the rosters lock before the divisional playoffs, so you have to successfully guess who will be in the Super Bowl (or hedge your bets and have players from each team on your roster).
The second type of league is one where you get a multiplier bonus for each week that you have a player on your roster. There is no salary cap, so you can pick whichever players you would like and swap in new ones for the players on your team that lose each week. If a player’s team wins, you keep that player for the following week.
Here are some strategies for each type of league.
If you have a salary cap, the best strategy is to spend the most money on the player that has been the most consistent. You want to make sure your guy has a good week, even if his team loses. Depending on the values, your best bets may include:
Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
Last week against the Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers threw for a season-high 365 yards and four touchdowns. This week, Rodgers gets the Vikings again. In the past three games, he’s thrown for at least three touchdowns. He had a slight slump prior to that, but Rodgers has been fairly clutch in playoff games. Whether he wins or loses, you know he’s going to be throwing the ball. The lack of a running game in Green Bay means lots of potential points for Rodgers.
Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
While Green Bay is going to be throwing the ball, Peterson is going to be running the ball. It’s no secret that Christian Ponder isn’t exactly the most accurate passer in the league. It’s also no secret that Peterson is one of the league’s best rushers. He may have just barely missed the rushing record, but he’s also scored 12 rushing touchdowns and had ten games with over 100 yards this season. Odds are he is going to have a good rushing day again. Sure, he isn’t chasing a regular-season rushing record, but he still wants his team to advance. If you’re looking for the closest thing to a sure-fire running back to get you points, go with Peterson.
Andre Johnson, WR, HOU
While Houston is losing momentum as a team, Johnson has been on fire at the end of the season. In six of the last seven games he’s totaled at least 95 receiving yards. He hasn’t been finding the end zone (only two TDs in the past seven games), but the yardage and the receptions have been there. Clearly, Matt Schaub is looking for him; and while defenses are focusing on Arian Foster, Johnson is getting downfield. He’s not a sure-fire guarantee for big points (Fantasy owners may remember Week 5 performance – one catch for 15 yards), but among all the receivers playing, especially those not on a bye this week, he’s one of the best options.
Owen Daniels, TE, HOU
Let me start by saying I don’t recommend starting both Johnson and Daniels. If you do go with Johnson, I’d probably look at Jermaine Gresham this week instead. However, if you decide to go with another receiver, Daniels is a good option at tight end. He’s had his share of injuries and is a little banged up, but the Texans have said that they want him to be more involved in the offense. After two rough games Houston needs to do something with their offense. Daniels isn’t going to get you a lot of points. In fact, you’re likely looking at a three or four catch game for 30 to 50 yards. Gresham, on the other hand, has a much better chance of finding the end zone (based on matchup), but he is also likely to get you very few points.
Blair Walsh, K, MIN
Kicker time! I know, not that exciting, still… but Walsh has gone 9-for-9 on field goals of 50 yards or more this season. While playing in the frozen tundra isn’t exactly the ideal location, he still has the potential to hit one from afar. If Green Bay can stop Minnesota from getting in the end zone (which is likely), they’ll turn to Walsh.
Picking a D/ST for a Fantasy playoff league is a guess. Honestly, trying to determine which team will win, which game will be have trouble scoring, or which quarterback will turn the ball over is nearly impossible. While Houston has had some difficulty the past few games, they do have J.J. Watt. They also have been a top defense throughout the year, so sticking with them in the playoffs isn’t a terrible decision. Andy Dalton has been known to turn the ball over, so it’s a safe bet for this week.
Those are the best options if you are in a league where you pick your starters. If you’re in a salary cap league, you won’t be able to get all of them. In that case, the best option is the typical salary cap strategy: pick a stud (or two) and fill in the rest of your lineup around that stud (or studs).
However, if you are in a league that uses a multiplier (if the player you pick for Week 1 is still playing in Week 2, you get a 2x multiplier, if they are playing in Week 3, you get a 4x multiplier, etc), it may be wise to mix your lineup. Pick some guys that are playing this week so you’ll get the points, but then look to start guys like Peyton Manning and Rob Gronkowski. You’ll get zero points this week, but double the points next week. However, be aware that you ideally want players that will be playing in the Super Bowl, as that will give you the most points with the multiplier. Pick a mix of AFC players and NFC players to give you the best chance at having the most people playing in the Super Bowl. The multiplier is the key to winning this type of league.