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How to Play Playoff Fantasy Football

NFL Fantasy



The official fantasy football season has come to an end, but the NFL playoffs offer us all a chance to write an epilogue.

There are many ways to play playoff fantasy football. This article will review some of the most popular ways as well as offer tips for the best strategies to help you enjoy the extended fantasy sweat (and hopefully win, too).

There’s not much more to it than that. Let’s take a look at how to play playoff fantasy football.


Popular ways to play playoff fantasy football

There are several game modes to choose from. The most popular that have emerged over the years include:

  • Pick one – and only one – player from every team. Most points scored from Wild Card weekend through the Super Bowl wins. This is what the super popular FFPC Playoff Challenge does, as well as the NFFC.
  • Best ball. This became extremely popular on Underdog for the 2022 playoffs. (Check out a strategy article here.)

How to play the NFFC or FFPC Playoff Challenge format (one player from each team)

FTN offers a few strategy guides to win in this type of format. This is an extremely fun and competitive format because you end up with a completely stacked roster. Your team could have Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Tom Brady, Derrick Henry, Tyreek Hill and a ton of other fantasy studs. 

But at the same time, if you pick Tom Brady, it means no Mike Evans on your team. Choosing Hill means no Patrick Mahomes. You really have to weigh the opportunity cost of every selection. Here are the key things to consider:

  • You can (sort of) correlate your plays. There are far too many different multiverses of how the full playoffs can play out, but you can at least correlate for the Wild Card weekend and some of the divisional possibilities. For example, you probably don’t want Devin Singletary and Damien Harris on the same team (opposing RBs).
  • Some players are going to be very highly owned. Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams may end up on over 80% of rosters. There are serious contrarian leverage plays in this format if you like to go against the grain.
  • You usually have to pick 2 teams to fully fade. Most tournaments let you pick 12 players, but there’s 14 teams in the playoffs. That means you have to say bye-bye to all players on two teams. Most people will just pick the lowest-seeded teams to full fade (Eagles, Steelers) operating under the assumption they will only play one game. But as many as six different teams could end up being one-and-done in the playoffs. There’s a leverage opportunity here as well.
  • You also have to pick a DST and a Kicker. Love Tampa’s defense? It means you don’t get any of their offensive players. Most players will “soft fade” the DST and K positions, which means choosing a team you think probably goes belly up after just one game.

Read full strategy breakdowns for this type of format here and here.

How to play fantasy football playoff Best Ball

FTN’s Matt Jones has the ultimate breakdown for this game mode here. But here are some quick hits on things to keep in mind when playing playoff Best Ball:

  • Your best bet is to choose a narrative of which two teams will meet up in the Super Bowl, and then pick only players from those two teams.
  • For example, if you think the Super Bowl will be Chiefs vs. Buccaneers, you should try to only draft Chiefs and Buccaneers players.
  • However, this is extremely hard to do in a snake draft with six other players. All of the good Chiefs and Buccaneers players will get scooped up, making landing your stacks (such as Mahomes-Kelce-Hill) extremely hard, if not impossible.
  • A way around this – while keeping the strategy the same – is to choose a potential Super Bowl featuring non-favorite teams. For example, Bengals-Rams. It’s easier to complete stacks with these types of teams because the individual players aren’t as popular.

Stacking is the end-all, be-all. Even if you stack what you think are crappy teams with low Super Bowl odds, you give yourself a better chance of winning it all rather than just drafting “best player available.” The playoffs are a zero-sum game with no second chance for the losers. It doesn’t matter if your team looks awesome before the playoffs start if you only end up with one player in the Super Bowl. You won’t win.

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