Playoff Fantasy Football Strategy #2: Isolating the AFC's Best Teams
In my last article, I outlined a strategy for postseason fantasy football leagues like the one that you can find on NFL.com. It showed you the strategy of working from the Super Bowl to the Wildcard games to set your lineups and end up in the top of the league.
To check out a less condensed description of how to play postseason fantasy football, check out this article.
The key to coming out on top of one of these playoff leagues is planning ahead. My advice before employing any of these strategies is to fill out a playoff bracket and predict how you think the season will turn out. You can check out my predictions that I have based my picks on, and a list of all NFL players worth playing by following the links.
In this article, we are going to check out a different strategy that is a great one, considering the layout of this year's NFL playoffs.
The Groundwork of the Conference Strategy
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The basis of this strategy is simple. It is something that I thought about employing last year, but really couldn't because of the layout of the playoffs. This season though is the perfect time to unveil this strategy.
Basically, for this tactic, you are going to isolate one of the conferences, AFC or NFC. From that conference, you pick the three teams (or two, if you are so bold) that you think are the ones that have the highest shot at making it to the Super Bowl. And you simply do not play any player from that team for the first three rounds.
By picking three teams from one conference, you are giving yourself a 50 percent chance of getting that conference's Super Bowl team picked. And when one of the teams that you picked makes the final game, you know that you will have all of their players to choose from, making your Super Bowl team stronger than the majority of other fantasy players.
Sitting the Pats, Steelers and Ravens
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Analyzing the AFC teams that made the playoffs, we see that there are definitely three teams that stand out as the only real candidates to make it to the Super Bowl: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. The rest of the conference candidates (Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals) are definitely dark horses, meaning that your chances are actually much greater than 50/50.
So, let's say that you employ this strategy, and for the first three weeks of the playoff fantasy season you choose to sit all Patriots, Steelers and Ravens. You are now free to start any player from any other team in the AFC and all of the NFC at will. With such great fantasy talent in the NFC, you are sure to have a strong weeks no matter what your lineup.
Building the Strongest Super Bowl Fantasy Team
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And once you get to the Super Bowl, you can play whatever players remain in the NFC combined with the entire team from the AFC that you 'rested.'
That means that from New England, you will have Super Bowl access to Tom Brady, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez (actually if you choose to sit all Patriot players, you can feel free to use one of their stellar tight ends whenever you like), Stephen Gostkowski, and the Patriot's turnover-inducing defense.
If you sit the Steelers, for the Super Bowl you can call out Ben Rothlisberger, Isaac Redman, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, or the Pittsburgh kicker or defense. All of whom are excellent plays.
And for the Ravens, you automatically get the fantasy play of Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Ed Dickson, Billy Cundiff and the always-intimidating Baltimore defense.
Don't feel like quarantining yourself from the fantasy prowess of three top AFC teams? Try it with just two of them. Or use the same strategy with NFC teams, by choosing to sit the two big time favorite teams: Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.
There are multiple ways to pull out this strategy. If you've got a different favorite team to make it to the big show, then by all means, throw them in there too.
Have the Best Team. Every Week.
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Disadvantages are pretty minimal. The main one being that you have two or three untouchable teams for the first three weeks of the playoffs. And the teams that you choose not to play that don't make the Super Bowl are thrown out, unused. And there is the slight chance that one of the teams you save will not even make the Super Bowl. Which would, well, kinda suck. Better luck next year.
Advantages are straightforward. Most other postseason fantasy players are going to go at the game all willy-nilly. By the time they get to the playoffs, they will have likely already used a number of great players at all positions from both teams. This strategy "guarantees" that you will have all of the players, at all of the positions, from one of the two teams in the final week.
In short, by isolating a conference, you can have a team in the first three weeks made up of players from three of the twelve playoff teams. And in the final week, you will likely have a team far stronger than most others playing the game. Sounds like a good call to me.
To view Strategy #1: Back to Front, click here. And for even more postseason fantasy strategies, check out my Bleacher Report articles still to come, or visit my blog at godhateslosers.blogspot.com. I'll be answering all of your fantasy football questions one by one!