Thursday, January 5, 2012

Postseason Fantasy Football Strategy #1: Back to Front

For those of you playing in a playoff league for the first time, let me break it down for you to begin. Each week, you pick 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 DEF, just like regular fantasy football. The catch is that you do not keep these players. Once a player has been selected for your team, they are no longer available for selection for the next round(s) of the playoff season.
Taking last year for instance, if you had Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback for the first week of postseason fantasy football, and in the second week you had Ben Roethlisberger as your starting quarterback, then when the Super Bowl week rolled around, you could only play one of their backups, greatly depriving you of fantasy points in your final week.
I have written out a list of all available players from all playoff teams (the ones that are really worth starting anyways) for your convenience. You can find them by clicking here. This list will be updated each week, deleting the players from teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs.
So, the key to winning in these leagues and getting a high point total through the entire fantasy postseason is planning ahead. Before the first set of games even start, you need to have the entire postseason planned out. I present to you what I consider to be the smartest, safest strategy to use for this game: Back to Front.

Like all other playoff fantasy strategies, the first step is to completely lay out your playoff bracket. You can see mine here. Pick who you think will win each set of games in the wild card rounds, then go on to the semi-finals, the conference championships and finally the Super Bowl. I like to make two different scenario brackets. One that is the most likely to occur (with all of the favorites winning) and one that is just your predictions. Once you have these laid out the way you like them, you can begin picking your players.
Rather than picking players for Week 1 first, I like to start at the end, which is what makes this system a bit unique. When you start from the beginning, you can make mistakes like leaving out key players or running out of players once you get to the Super Bowl. By starting at the end, you can ‘ensure’ that you are going to have enough quality players for each set of games… so you don’t get stuck starting Brees’s backup once the big game rolls around.
So, beginning with the Super Bowl, fill out your roster, using your prediction bracket. Using my predictions as an example, I can players from the Saints and Ravens. Once I have my lineup set there, I can move on to the Conference Championship matchups.
In this round, I already know which players that I do not want to play, because they have already been laid out for me in the Super Bowl round. If I select Brees, Rice, Ivory, Colston, T. Smith, Graham, Cundiff and NO Defense, that means that I have the remaining players from the rosters of the Saints and Ravens, in addition to the players from the Packers and Patriots (the two other teams I think will make it to this round based on my prediction bracket).
And from there it is simple. Once this roster is filled out, move on to the next, and once that is finished, you can go ahead and fill out your first week roster.
The drawbacks to this strategy are pretty slight. The main one is that if you do not predict either of the Super Bowl teams correctly, you could very well be completely screwed once the Super Bowl rolls around. This is why I suggested making a second bracket with the favorites winning. Go ahead and compare that to the lineups that you have made, again starting at the Super Bowl. Since your Favorite Bracket would have Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady as the two quarterbacks playing in the Super Bowl, go through your entire postseason schedule and make sure that one of them isn’t being started at any time for you. You can repeat this step with all other major positions, especially TE, K, and DEF, since you can only start one of them per week and (with the exception of New England tight ends) there is really only one solid starter at each of them.
Like any other strategy for postseason fantasy, there are going to be drawbacks. Because the deciding factor of this style of game is predicting the outcome of the games in addition to which players will have big games, there is the chance that when the final rounds roll around, you could have some pretty mediocre options. But that is really just the nature of the beast.
Advantages of this strategy are that the chances of ending up in the Super Bowl without key players is minimized. Also, because you were working from back to front, you got to skip out on a lot of the headache of the later rounds. With the Back to Front strategy, you are minimizing risk while taking positive steps at having maximum roster strength in every week of the playoffs.
More fantasy strategies will come, so stick around!

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