Fantasy Football

2019 NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football Primer


Did your fantasy football season end too early? Or perhaps the hoisting of the league trophy left you hungry for more? Either way, you don’t have to wait eight months for the 2019 fantasy football draft season to start. The good news is that fantasy football can continue to be played during the postseason. If you haven’t played postseason fantasy football yet, give it a try!

Of course what format you play and so forth will dictate what strategy you employ and which players are the best bets to maximize that strategy.

And that’s not to say that below is the all-encompassing postseason fantasy football options. For example, I know a league who uses the postseason to determine the order of next year’s draft, but you can only use players on your roster at the end of week 16.

However, I will go through three of the most popular formats. I will discuss what strategy works best for that format and what players need to be considered for that postseason fantasy football game. But feel free to disagree with me or hit me up with questions in the comments section.

Because playing a little postseason fantasy football can help lessen those regular season bad days…so let’s get to it!

2019 NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football Primer

If you’re looking for pure rankings, you are not going to find them here – those can be found here. Format matters. Here are three that are the most common:

NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football Format: One and Done

In this format, you get absolutely no benefit if your player plays four games or one. You just want to make sure you nail the one big game he has! In fact, you are better off if he has three touchdowns that day and doesn’t play another game this postseason. As long as you get to the Super Bowl with a viable roster, that’s all that matters. Well, that’s assuming you have maximized player production to that point. Which of course is easier said than done.

Player Recommendations

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliott is a must play for me during the opening week of the playoffs. Seattle might have a strong run game, but they are far less stout in preventing runners from having a big day and have given up an average of over 25 PPR fantasy points to the RB position per game. Meanwhile, should Dallas move beyond Seattle, the Cowboys will face either the Saints or Rams, both of whom are pretty stout against the run. I don’t see the Cowboys making it to the NFC championship and even if they do, a tough match-up will await Elliott.

However, Elliott is a stud who the Cowboys will feed in order to keep Russel Wilson off the field. And he’s gobbled up yardage, averaging easily over 100 yards total every week since November. I don’t love Elliott as much in other formats, but I’m definitely grabbing me a slice of Elliott in my one and done leagues.

Eric Ebron, TE, Indianapolis Colts

Call it the Double-E strategy if you want. But the truth is there are not a lot of tight ends to get excited about these playoffs, especially in this first round when we can’t use Travis Kelce or the “flier” on Rob Gronkowski. Zach Ertz is a stud, but I’d rather holster him against Chicago and hope to use him later. Which brings us back to Ebron. He has been an absolute TD-machine this year, hitting paydirt a baker’s dozen. And that includes a TD in each of the two games against Houston. So if Luck can avoid Houston’s pass rush, don’t be surprised if Ebron scores another touchdown.

Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears
Unfortunately, we have to wait until the next round to pick on the Kansas City and New Orleans defenses. The next most generous defense for fantasy quarterbacks is Philadelphia. To be honest, I don’t love Trubisky here, but I do think he has the best matchup and consequently the highest floor of any quarterback in the Wild Card round. The Eagles are also peaking right now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bears get knocked out. But I’d like the quarterback taking on the most porous secondary, thank you.

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NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football Format: Ascending Multipliers

This format was made popular by and rewards you for having the best players still playing during the Super Bowl. Essentially each players score is multiplied for the number of weeks they have been on your roster. So it’s 4x the points for those players that are on your roster during the Super Bowl that were there from the start for playoffs. Again, this strategy depends on your format. For example, I have played this format many times but the commissioner of the league had payouts each week. That would change the strategy a little bit, but let’s assume the league rewards the same as does which is winner-take-all. Therefore, making it to Super Bowl with the best players and being rewarded for doing so is far more important than any one single player’s single game.

First, you have to decide whom you think will make the Super Bowl. You could always choose plenty of players from the #1 seeds, but you need to know that the last time both top seeds made it to the Super Bowl was 1993. What I actually like to do is figure out whom the popular options are and then intentionally fade those players.

Player Recommendations

I am fading the New England Patriots. Obviously, that’s a risky venture given their history, but something just feels off to me about them. I’m also avoiding the Cowboys, Seahawks, and Colts as those teams strike me as too flawed to make a deep run into the playoffs. I will probably go with DeAndre Hopkins as his upside might be the highest in the playoffs. And it’s a way to zig when everyone zags. Because I’m going to go with the chalk here, and choose a few Chiefs, especially Travis Kelce. But I like the two NFC top dogs even more and will choose many of them because if I’m right about the Chiefs, they will be easily scored upon in the Super Bowl and those points multiplied 4x will be very nice. I’m grabbing Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara for sure.

NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football Format: Traditional

This format is a blend of the first two and has been around the longest. It’s actually the most similar to regular fantasy football. Invite a bunch of friends together. My recommendation is at least eight but no more than 12. Have a draft like you would for the regular season. I know, scheduling can be a challenge, but since your rosters are not even ten players deep, it should only take an hour. Suppose you each select 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, and 1 DST. If you want, include a couple of bench spots. You can be done drafting in less time than it takes Philip Rivers to get his kids up and ready for a family outing.

In this format, you have to weigh output versus the number of games. Sure Patrick Mahomes might have three great games. But a quarterback that plays four playoff games could outproduce him. Similarly, one game out of Eric Ebron might far surpass what any Saints TE does in three games. Nailing a team that plays four games is key in all three of these formats, but correctly nailing it in this format is the most critical.

Your first pick should likely be whomever your first pick might be in a 2019 draft–Gurley, Kamara, etc. However, don’t be afraid to draft a quarterback as your first pick either. Quarterbacks get pushed down in regular seasonal fantasy football due to the large supply of quality quarterbacks. However, you are starting with only 12 true options. It’s much harder to replace a quality quarterback in this format of postseason fantasy football than regular fantasy football.

Player Recommendations

I would choose Patrick Mahomes. Yes, he has some potentially tough defenses to face, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Houston have all been very tough on opposing quarterbacks, and the Pats are no slouch either, but he’s played three of those teams before and averaged three touchdowns a game. I would actually project his floor at two touchdowns per game, but that is still higher than I would project any other quarterback’s floor. And we know the upside is the six touchdown bonanza he had against the Rams earlier this year, who oh yeah, just happen to be one of the favored teams the Chiefs might meet in the Super Bowl. But obviously, you need to nail more than just your first pick.

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One other difference is that I would not necessarily wait until the last rounds to pick a kicker or DST. If you like the Ravens to play four games or the Bears to go to the Super Bowl, if you’re riding their defense again you can’t wait until the last round to do so. Same goes for any kicker who gets four games during the playoffs. You can’t just wait and hope you get them. I’m not saying grab them in the third round, but if you like the Bears, Texans, or Ravens, I’d pick them before I pick my 5th offensive player.

Good luck!

About Mark Strausberg

Despite his youthful appearance, Mark has aged hundreds and hundreds of years due to soul-sucking and crushing near misses over his decades of both playing and writing fantasy sports.

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