Fantasy Fox: 5-Minute Guide for surviving NFL postseason leagues
You never get a second chance to make a first impression … unless we’re talking about fantasy football. In this realm, sweet redemption comes in the form of dominating the NFL postseason league of your choice.
Before you blindly accept the scoring rules, terms of competition and entry fees of any random league, though, check out this breakdown of the fundamental/strategic differences of standard postseason (or "longevity") leagues and weekly one-and-done (or "survivor") leagues.
For a listing of my standard-scoring positional rankings for Wild Card weekend, click here.
Before choosing a starters-only roster (1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 Flex, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 D/ST), ask these two crucial questions:
A) Are my preferred targets solid favorites to reach the Super Bowl or conference championship round?
B) Is each one a healthy lock for two, three or even four games?
If the answer for either one is no, then it’s probably wise to ignore these short-term assets in longevity leagues.
Regardless of how some superstars look on paper (Tom Brady, Demaryius Thomas, Marshawn Lynch, etc.), it’s essentially a wasted pick if they’re not locks for two or three playoff games.
Case in point: Eight years ago, prior to the Wild Card round, I correctly pegged the Colts and Bears for the Super Bowl and subsequently loaded up on stars like Indy’s Reggie Wayne, Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai and Chicago’s Thomas Jones and wideout Bernard Berrian (18 TDs from 2006-08).
All told, the quintet produced 18 combined playoff games for my team — easily enough to capture a welcomed fantasy crown.
2. The ‘opposite’ strategy can be a difference-maker with quarterbacks
A large segment of longevity league owners will choose Manning, Brady or Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. It should be a no-brainer move in this crapshoot-like process of building a playoff fantasy roster.
However, there is one concern: With everyone riding Manning, Brady and Rodgers during the playoffs, the potential to break free of the pack in overall QB points could be nonexistent early on (first-round byes).
As a counter move, it might be beneficial to pursue passers like Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford or Joe Flacco, while taking the chance that Carolina, Detroit or Baltimore will advance to a conference championship (and beyond) … and that Denver, New England or Green Bay gets upended in the divisional playoffs.
The upshot: Few GMs would have Newton, Stafford or Flacco playing three or even four games.
The obvious downside: The potential of missing out on Manning, Brady, Rodgers or Wilson points — for three games — could be your club’s ultimate failure.
3. Always factor in the elements before securing lineups
At the risk of sounding like a broken record from the regular season, weather should always play a role in starting picks.
All things being equal, I’d rather have a QB performing in a warm, comfy dome over one struggling in the wind, cold, rain and snow. But with the exception of Indianapolis (indoor facility) and Dallas, there aren’t any guarantees of ideal-weather outings throughout the playoffs.
Bottom line: Check the NFL Weather Map before signing off on strategies involving cold-weather quarterbacks, receivers or kickers.
‘Longevity’ Dream Team
Rationale: Aim for assets who’ll likely appear in three or even four playoff games.
Or, if you think this round shall be Ben Roethlisberger’s seasonal swan song, then by all means, play him over Tony Romo — and save the latter for another day.
In other words, don’t be stuck with Jimmy Garoppolo (Patriots) or Tarvaris Jackson (Seahawks) as the only QB options for Super Sunday. Budget your assets in this crucial slot.
‘SURVIVOR’ DREAM TEAM — WILD CARD WEEKEND
Jay Clemons, the 2008 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year (Fantasy Sports Writers Association), can be reached via Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.