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How to play 2023 playoff fantasy football

Sad that the fantasy football season is over? Have no fear. Fantasy playoffs are here!

Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills warms up wearing a Damar Hamlin shirt prior to the game against the New England Patriots at Highmark Stadium on January 08, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The 2022 regular season has been wrapped up and it is time for some NFL playoff football. Playoff fantasy works in the same way as fantasy for the regular season, but there are quite a few tweaks needed.

With a smaller playoff player pool, you will have fewer teams in a league so you can have big enough rosters to accommodate players who are eliminated with losses, but scoring will remain the same as your re-draft leagues. There are many iterations of fantasy playoff games on the internet, but if you are setting up your own, a traditional draft works fine.

Rules

A six team league with 14 player rosters is a good starting point. Roster construction can look like 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 4 WRs, 2 TEs, 2 Ks and 2 D/STs. This of course can be tweaked to fit your needs.

You will want to switch to a total points league with no weekly lineup setting instead of a head-to-head league with weekly lineup changes. With the playoffs being a short “season,” this way it’s fairer for all involved. There’s also no need to allow trading or waivers, as that defeats the purpose of drafting players we believe will last throughout the playoffs, which is the true skill needed for this endeavor.

Strategy

All active players on your team will accumulate points and whichever team has the most fantasy points at the end of the Super Bowl is the winner. Which teams have the best chance to play the most games? That question will drive your draft strategy, as a player on a one-and-done real-life team becomes dead weight on your fake team.

Do we draft from a wide array of teams or go all in on just a few? League settings may vary, so be sure to to know how they might impact strategy, but in most of these leagues, I want to focus on just a few teams. It’s riskier, but for similar reasons to why people stack QB/WR in DFS, we want to concentrate our picks on teams that we think will play the most games. That may have your team out of contention with a couple of upsets though.

This season it’s pretty easy to like the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals as they appear to be ahead of the pack this season. I will mostly be choosing from these teams. Yes, there will be upsets, but we can usually count on the cream rising to the top.

So, do you draft Austin Ekeler early if you think the Chargers end up losing their first game agains the Jaguars? No, you don’t. But, you get that upside and a chance for more than one game, so you don’t completely refuse to draft great players if they fall in the draft.

You can also check out my overall playoff rankings here.