Part 4: The Playoffs
The key to success in the playoffs is preparation and conservative decision making. In the previous part to this series I discussed “handcuffs” and how they are crucial to playoff success. This is true because of inevitability and unpredictable nature of injuries. Of course certain players are injury prone and should be devalued for that reason, but like everything else in football… anything can happen (or not happen for that matter). This is especially true come the end of the season when players start to wear down physically.
In order to know how many teams make the playoffs in your league, you will need to see your league’s commissioner at the beginning of the season. The playoffs are typically taking place in the last 2, 3, or 4 weeks of the NFL regular season. In most leagues the last week of the regular season (week 17) is not used for the super bowl, week 16 is. This is done to ensure that nobody loses their fantasy league super bowl because a feature player on a team that has already clinched a playoff birth is being sat by their NFL team. Peyton Manning owners can attest to this frustration as the Colts are notorious for resting players late in the year.
In leagues where 6 teams qualify for the playoffs, three weeks would be needed so the playoffs would take place in weeks 14, 15 and 16. In this scenario the top two ranked teams would have a bye in week 14. Pairings are typically handled just like the NFL playoffs, with the top ranked team playing the lowest ranked team and so on down the line.
For all my playoff decisions, I try to imagine how I would feel a month after if I made the wrong decision. It is impossible to make the right choice all the time, thats the beauty of this game, anyone can lose any given week. I just try and make sure I won’t hate myself for making the wrong decision, should it backfire. For example, you are a Peyton Manning owner and it is week 16. The Colts cannot improve their playoff standing at all over the next two games and declare that they plan to only use their starters for the first half of the game. You now need to make a decision about whether half a game from the best QB in the league is better than a full game from your backup ranked 17th on my player rankings. My general thought is that Manning is likely to get two TDs anyways and far less likely to throw multiple interceptions. It might cost you a few points in yardage, but by playing it safe you give your team the best chance to win. Also, you won’t often be upset with yourself for trusting Peyton in the Super Bowl… win or lose.
Thats all the advice I have for you, please keep an eye open for upcoming eBooks, blog posts and as always, I answer every last question that I have time to… so don’t be shy.