First, I want to apologize for not posting a “Setting Your Lineup,” or a “Coming Clean” for the past week. I’m not going to make any excuses, so I’ll just move along to what you’ve been waiting for all season — the Fantasy Playoffs. Now, if you’re still alive in your fantasy league (like I am in four of my seven leagues) then you have a great chance to win the whole thing. But in order to do that you likely have to get through three rounds, which means three matchups with teams you may or may not have played against in the regular fantasy season. Odds are they’re teams you remember well from either a win or a loss this season. First things first. Forget about what happened before. This is a whole other ballgame.
Here are some rules to consider when setting your team for the Fantasy Playoffs…
- Dance with the one who brought you. Simply put, if your team was paced by Jeremy Maclin don’t look at the matchup with the Seahawks and freak out, benching him for, say, Michael Crabtree. Odds are that Crabtree will continue doing much of nothing like he has been (yes, even against Oakland), and Maclin could have two big plays in him against a Seattle secondary that hasn’t been as punishing as last year. The point is that Maclin has done enough this season to warrant your faith, and Crabtree hasn’t.
- Don’t sweat the technique. You’ve gone the whole season relying on a way to do things, to set your lineup, to decide who to choose from the waiver wire, and just overall maintenance of your team. Now is not the time to get cute and try to mix some things up just because it’s the playoffs. Don’t go chasing points, like going after DeAndre Hopkins on waivers trying to catch lightning in a bottle. Odds are that the monster game was just that, a one-off thing, and he will return to earth this week. Do you really want him costing your team a fantasy playoff win? I know I don’t.
- Learn how to play the matchup game. Look at those real life matchups, like a runner facing a good running defense, or a tight end playing against a team that defends the position well, and if those players aren’t your studs follow these two steps. A) Look on your bench for a player who has a MUCH better matchup. If you can’t find someone who definitely has upside, why make the switch? B) Scour the waiver wire for a player who has a MUCH better matchup, but keep in mind the real life team that player is on. For instance, if you’re thinking about playing Doug Martin because he’s matched up against a poor run defense, don’t forget he plays for Tampa Bay who does struggle to score points. That affects his fantasy value, and you should leave him on waivers.
- Never, ever make last second decisions. It’s ten minutes to one o’clock on Sunday and you’re sweating bullets, wondering if you made the right choice going with Ben Roethlisberger instead of Joe Flacco, and both are playing at one o’clock. Your hand hovers above the mouse… BUT if you did your due diligence leading up to the games, meaning studying your matchups, looking at the stat lines, and judging opponents’ defenses against quarterbacks you should already have your answer that Flacco is the better option. So don’t switch at the last second thinking that maybe Pittsburgh will get into a shootout and have to throw it. Odds are that doesn’t happen and you’ve screwed yourself by putting Flacco on your bench. Trust yourself.
- When in doubt, play the percentages. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times. If you’ve done all your legwork leading up to the big game and you still have a tough decision of two to make in your lineup the best thing you can do is play the percentages. That means if you’re deciding between Rashad Jennings and Alfred Morris and you honestly can’t figure out which one should have the better day on Sunday then go with the one with the higher season average for fantasy points per game. This may take some real work because of the missed time from Jennings but it can be done. When you see that Morris has had more points per contest then start him with confidence and don’t second guess.
Then just sit back and let the games decide what happens, secure in the knowledge that you built the best team you could for the playoffs, and hopeful that your team comes out ahead. And trust me on Flacco.
The Fantasy Ace