If you are reading this, you are a degenerate fantasy football fan, just like the rest of us. You could not get enough fantasy football, that following the regular season, you wish to quench your fantasy thirst with a fantasy football playoff league. Know that you are not alone.
Today, we provide a primer for your playoff fantasy football league that will guide you to a title and some hard-earned cash.
Let’s begin with the basics. If you have never done a playoff fantasy football league, the first question you are likely to have “how are playoff fantasy leagues different than regular season leagues?”
Well, I’m glad you asked.
The difference and the critical aspect to winning your league–you need to pick players on winning teams.
In your regular-season league, you don’t care if your fantasy running back plays for a team that goes 16-0 or a team that goes 0-16. You want the points anyway you can get them.
During the playoffs, NFL teams get eliminated weekly. It stands to reason that your players are likely to score more points if they play more games. Picking the outcomes of the playoff games is critical in the process.
We must complete our fantasy projections for each player on a per-game basis to understand their value in this format. The projecting doesn’t have to be exact, and you can use the 2021 fantasy season as a frame of reference. Here’s what we got:
1) Josh Allen/Bills QB (24 ppg)
2) Tom Brady/Buccaneers QB (23 ppg)
3) Kyler Murray/Cardinals QB (23 ppg)
4) Patrick Mahomes/Chiefs QB (22ppg)
5) Aaron Rodgers/Packers QB (22ppg)
6) Joe Burrow/Bengals QB (21 ppg)
7) Matthew Stafford/Rams QB (21 ppg)
8) Jalen Hurts/Eagles QB (21 ppg)
9) Dak Prescott/Cowboys QB (20 ppg)
10) Ryan Tannehill/Titans QB (16 ppg)
11) Jimmy Garoppolo/49ers QB (16 ppg)
12) Derek Carr/Raiders QB (16 ppg)
13) Mac Jones/Patriots QB (14 ppg)
14) Ben Roethlisberger/Steelers QB (14 ppg)
1) Derrick Henry/Titans (22 ppg)
2) Joe Mixon/Bengals (15 ppg)
3) Najee Harris/Steelers (14 ppg)
4) James Conner/Cardinals (14 ppg)
5) Leonard Fournette/Buccaneers (13 ppg)
6) Damien Harris/Patriots (13 ppg)
7) Elijah Mitchell/49ers (13 ppg)
8) Ezekiel Elliott/Cowboys (12 ppg)
9) Aaron Jones/Packers (12 ppg)
10) Josh Jacobs/Raiders (12 ppg)
11) Sony Michel/Rams (11 ppg)
12) D’Onta Foreman (9 ppg)
13) AJ Dillon/Packers (9 ppg)
14) Rhamondre Stevenson/Patriots (9 ppg)
15) Darrel Williams/Chiefs (9 ppg)
16) Devin Singletary/Bills (8 ppg)
17) Tony Pollard/Cowboys (8 ppg)
18) Darrell Henderson Jr./Rams (8 ppg)
19) Chase Edmonds/Cardinals (8 ppg)
20) Miles Sanders/Eagles (8 ppg)
1) Cooper Kupp/Rams (17 ppg)
2) Deebo Samuel/49ers (16 ppg)
3) Davante Adams/Packers (14 ppg)
4) Ja’Marr Chase/Bengals (14 ppg)
5) Tyreek Hill/Chiefs (12 ppg)
6) Mike Evans/Buccaneers (11 ppg)
7) Diontae Johnson/Steelers (11 ppg)
8) Stefon Diggs/Bills (11 ppg)
9) CeeDee Lamb/Cowboys (10 ppg)
10) Tee Higgins/Bengals (10 ppg)
11) Hunter Renfrow/Raiders (9 ppg)
12) Amari Cooper/Cowboys (9 ppg)
13) A.J. Brown/Titans (9 ppg)
14) Christian Kirk/Cardinals (8 ppg)
15) Kendrick Bourne/Patriots (8 ppg)
16) DeVonta Smith/Eagles (7 ppg)
17) Tyler Boyd/Bengals (7 ppg)
18) Van Jefferson/Rams (7 ppg)
19) Chase Claypool/Steelers (7 ppg)
20) A.J. Green/Cardinals (7 ppg)
21) Jakobi Meyers/Patriots (7 ppg)
22) Brandon Aiyuk/49ers (7 ppg)
23) Odell Beckham Jr./Rams (6 ppg)
24) Allen Lazard/Packers (6 ppg)
25) Zay Jones/Raiders (5 ppg)
1) Travis Kelce/Chiefs (11 ppg)
2) George Kittle/49ers (10 ppg)
3) Rob Gronkowski/Buccaneers (9 ppg)
4) Dawson Knox/Bills (8 ppg)
5) Darren Waller/Raiders (7 ppg)
6) Dalton Schultz/Cowboys (7 ppg)
7) Dallas Goedert/Eagles (7 ppg)
8) Hunter Henry/Patriots (7 ppg)
9) Zach Ertz/Cardinals (6 ppg)
10) Pat Freiermuth/Steelers (6 ppg)
Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner:
We have to walk through the playoffs and predict the outcome of each game. When we have completed the process, we will know how many games each fantasy player will play. Without further adieu, away we go:
AFC Wild Card Round:
Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals’ run defense neutralizes Josh Jacobs and the Raiders’ rushing attack. Joe Burrow does enough in the passing game that the Bengals move on.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills: The Patriots are a dangerous match-up for Buffalo. The Bills will have to play physical football for 60 minutes. Josh Allen does just enough with his arms and legs to secure victory in this one.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs: The Steelers’ magical run ends in Kansas City. The Chiefs have far too much firepower for Pittsburgh.
NFC Wild Card Round:
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The story of this game will be whether the vaunted Buccaneer’s run defense can stop the Eagles NFL-best rushing attack. I believe Philadelphia keeps this game close, but Tom Brady and Tampa Bay have too much in their arsenal, and the defending champions move on.
San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys: The Dallas Cowboys will have to win this game with their passing game. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys receivers will have to play the role of heroes. The San Francisco 49ers have the better running game, the better run defense, and the better pass defense. Jimmy Garoppolo can take care of the football–the 49ers are the better team and pull off the upset.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams: The Cardinals/Rams game is the toughest one to call. I can’t quit this feeling that Kyler Murray will do something heroic to secure the victory. The problem is the Cardinals have been flat-out bad down the stretch. The Cardinals have lost four out of their last five, while the Rams have won five of six. I’ll take the home team with the momentum, and I’ll side with the Rams.
AFC Divisional Round:
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans: At home, the Tennessee Titans are too tough on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The Titans control the game with their rushing attack with the returning Derrick Henry.
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs: The Kansas City Chiefs have been flirting with disaster all season long. The Chiefs’ offense has been limited, and in this match-up, they would face the top pass defense in the NFL. The Bills have enough firepower to get it done on the road and upset the defending AFC champion Chiefs.
NFC Divisional Round:
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers: These two teams played a thriller way back in week three, and this rematch could mirror the first one in several ways. The 49ers will be a tough out, and it would not shock me if they upset the Packers. I will give the slight edge to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ passing attack to hold off the 49ers.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: We get another week three rematch as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams were the better team at the beginning of the season as they thrashed the Buccaneers’ secondary. The Rams have the winning recipe, but the Buccaneers have Tom Brady and a healthier defense this time around. Brady gets it done in the clutch one more time, and the Buccaneers move on.
Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans: The Tennessee Titans will try to control the clock and the game, but Josh Allen is a man on a mission as he leads the Buffalo Bills to the Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers: We get a rematch of the 2021 NFC title game as the Green Bay Packers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aaron Rodgers will not be denied this time around and leads the Packers over the Brady-led Bucs, knocking off the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Green Bay Packers vs. Buffalo Bills: The Green Bay Packers write the storybook ending as Aaron Rodgers returns to Green Bay after an off-season of turmoil and leads the Packers to a Super Bowl title.
Marrying Projections with Predictions:
We have arrived at the final piece of the puzzle. Now that we have laid out our projections and calculated our predictions, we multiply our projections by the number of games each player will play, and we have our draft board.
1) Josh Allen/QB Bills (24 ppg X 4 games)= 96 points
2) Tom Brady/QB Buccaneers (23 ppg X 3 games)= 69 points
3) Aaron Rodgers/QB Packers (22 ppg X 3 games) =66 points
4) Patrick Mahomes/QB Chiefs (22 ppg X 2 games)= 44 points
5) Derrick Henry RB Titans (22 ppg X 2 games)= 44 points
6) Stefon Diggs WR Bills (11 ppg X 4 games)= 44 points
7) Joe Burrow/QB Bengals (21 ppg X 2 games)= 42 points
8) Matthew Stafford/QB Rams (21 ppg X 2 games)= 42 points
9) Davante Adams WR Rams (14 ppg X 3 games)= 42 points
10) Leonard Fournette RB Buccaneers (13 ppg X 3 games)= 39 points
11) Aaron Jones RB Packers (12 ppg X 3 games)= 36 points
12) Cooper Kupp WR Rams (17 ppg X 2 games)= 34 points
13) Mike Evans WR Buccaneers (11 ppg X 3 games)= 33 points
14) Ryan Tannehill/QB Titans (16 ppg X 2 games)= 32 points
15) Jimmy Garoppolo/QB 49ers (16 ppg X 2 games)= 32 points
16) Deebo Samuel WR 49ers (16 ppg X 2 games)= 32 points
17) Devin Singletary RB Bills (8 ppg X 4 games)= 32 points
18) Dawson Knox TE Bills (8 ppg X 4 games)= 32 points
19) Joe Mixon RB Bengals (15 ppg X 2 games)= 30 points
20) Ja’Marr Chase WR Bengals (14 ppg X 2 games)= 28 points
21) A.J. Dillon RB Packers (9 ppg X 3 games)= 27 points
22) Rob Gronkowski TE Buccaneers (9 ppg X 3 games)= 27 points
23) Elijah Mitchell RB 49ers (13 ppg X 2 games)= 26 points
24) Tyreek Hill WR Chiefs (12 ppg X 2 games)= 24 points
25) Kyler Murray/QB Cardinals (23 ppg X 1 game)= 23 points
26) Sony Michel/RB Rams (11 ppg X 2 games)= 22 points
27) Travis Kelce TE Chiefs (11 ppg X 2 games)= 22 points
28) Jalen Hurts/QB Eagles (21 ppg X 1 game)= 21 points
29) Dak Prescott/QB Cowboys (20 ppg X 1 game)= 20 points
30) Tee Higgins WR Bengals (10 ppg X 2 games)= 20 points
31) George Kittle TE 49ers (10 ppg X 2 games)= 20 points
32) D’Onta Foreman/RB Titans (9 ppg X 2 games)= 18 points
33) Darrel Williams RB Chiefs (9 ppg X 2 games)= 18 points
34) A.J. Brown WR Titans (9 ppg X 2 games)= 18 points
35) Allen Lazard WR Packers (6 ppg X 3 games)= 18 points
36) Derek Carr/QB Raiders (16 ppg X 1 game)= 16 points
37) Darrel Henderson Jr. RB Rams (8 ppg X 2 games)= 16 points
38) Mac Jones/QB Patriots (14 ppg X 1 game)= 14 points
39) Ben Roethlisberger/QB Steelers (14 ppg X 1 game)= 14 points
40) Najee Harris RB Steelers (14 ppg X 1 game)= 14 points
41) James Conner RB Cardinals (14 ppg X 1 game)= 14 points
42) Tyler Boyd WR Bengals (7 ppg X 2 games)= 14 points
43) Van Jefferson WR Rams (7 ppg X 2 games)= 14 points
44) Brandon Aiyuk WR 49ers (7 ppg X 2 games)= 14 points
45) Damien Harris RB Patriots (13 ppg X 1 game)= 13 points
46) Ezekiel Elliott RB Cowboys (12 ppg X 1 game)= 12 points
47) Josh Jacobs RB Raiders (12 ppg X 1 game)= 12 points
48) Odell Beckham Jr. WR Rams (6 ppg X 2 games)= 12 points
49) Diontae Johnson WR Steelers (11 ppg X 1 game)= 11 points
50) CeeDee Lamb WR Cowboys (10 ppg X 1 game)= 10 points
51) Rhamondre Stevenson RB Patriots (9 ppg X 1 game)= 9 points
52) Amari Cooper WR Cowboys (9 points X 1 game)= 9 points
53) Hunter Renfrow WR Raiders (9 points X 1 game)= 9 points
54) Tony Pollard RB Cowboys (8 ppg X 1 game)= 8 points
55) Chase Edmonds RB Cardinals (8 ppg X 1 game)= 8 points
56) Miles Sanders RB Eagles (8 ppg X 1 game)= 8 points
57) Kendrick Bourne WR Patriots (8 ppg X 1 game)= 8 points
58) DeVonta Smith WR Eagles (8 ppg X 1 game)= 8 points
59) Christian Kirk WR Cardinals (8 ppg X 1 game)= 8 points
60) Chase Claypool WR Steelers (7 ppg X 1 game)= 7 points
61) A.J. Green WR Cardinals (7 ppg X 1 game)= 7 points
62) Jakobi Meyers WR Patriots (7 ppg X 1 game)= 7 points
63) Darren Waller TE Raiders (7 ppg X 1 game)= 7 points
64) Dalton Schultz TE Cowboys (7 ppg X 1 game)= 7 points
65) Dallas Goedert TE Eagles (7 ppg X 1 game)= 7 points
66) Hunter Henry TE Patriots (7 ppg X 1 game)= 7 points
67) Zach Ertz TE Cardinals (6 ppg X 1 game)= 6 points
68) Pat Freiermuth TE Steelers (6 ppg X 1 game)= 6 points
69) Zay Jones WR Raiders (5 ppg X 1 game)= 5 points
Big Board Takeaways:
*) If the Buffalo Bills do play four games this postseason, Josh Allen would be a tier to himself. You could say this for almost any other quarterback, but especially Allen.
*) Speaking of quarterbacks, you’ll probably see the big four of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady come off in the top five picks of most drafts.
*) One strategy that I deploy is if your league has ‘defenses’ or ‘kickers’ you want to prioritize those positions much more than you would in a regular-season league. Having defense or kicker that plays three or four games versus one or two is a big deal.
In regular-season leagues, you want the best players, who score the most points. In playoff leagues, it is valuable to have good players, but it is most valuable to have players, who go the distance. Use this system and pick the winners, best of luck.