Fantasy Football Playoffs
It’s still quite a bit early for us to serve you up fantasy football playoff advice, but like most die-hard fantasy lovers, we like to think ahead.
The truth is, it’s never too early to start preparing for your fantasy football draft, and even further on that line of thinking; it’s never too early to think fantasy playoffs!
That’s right, even before you draft and go to battle for a long fantasy football season, it’s important to have your eyes on the prize.
We’ll come back and touch base with how to handle the approaching playoffs in the middle of the 2010 fantasy season, but until that times comes, here are some thoughts on what you can do before your team is even assembled, and some suggestions for in-season playoff preparation:
Before You Draft…
Take a good look at NFL schedules, and keep in mind which teams are likely to be playoff bound. It’s not always easy to predict, but if you judge based off of notoriously weak divisions or how teams have fared in the past, you can make rough assessments that could pay huge dividends down the road.
For example, it’s nearly a widely accepted notion that Peyton Manning and the rest of the Indianapolis Colts starters won’t be playing too much in the final 2-3 weeks of the NFL season. Does that mean not to draft Manning if he’s miraculously sitting, ripe for the taking in the second round? No, of course not. But it does mean that loading up on Colts studs may not be the best idea.
While predicting playoff teams and who might be sitting out games and resting near the end of the 2010 season may be a difficult task, taking a close look at team’s and player’s schedules isn’t.
Just like you should be paying attention to every player’s bye week for the fantasy season, you should also take note of the final 3-4 games each player will be playing. Who is the opponent? What is their run and pass defense ranked? Are the games on the road, in domes, or in potentially cold/bad weather?
The small nuancies could develop into playoff-killers if you let them slip by.
After You Draft…
So, now you’re planning for in-season strategy. You’re either coasting to the playoffs or you’re fighting for a final spot. Either way, you’re quickly finding out that leaning on playoff-bound fantasy studs such as Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, and Reggie Wayne is suddenly about to backfire.
How do you prevent a fantasy roster implosion? By rewinding 6-7 weeks and planning ahead. That, or starting right now, before or during your fantasy league’s draft, and preparing for the eventual chaotic mess that is your league’s playoff race and playoff tournament.
Remember at the end of the 2009 season when Peyton Manning and Drew Brees were either resting or hardly playing in games? Who was one of the better fantasy quarterback options? If you guess Jay Cutler, you get an internet high-five.
Yes, while two of fantasy football’s best quarterbacks were resting for the real playoffs, Cutler, who had spent the first 14 games of the season throwing 26 interceptions and 19 touchdowns, ended his first year in Chicago with eight touchdowns and zero picks in the final two weeks of the regular season.
In other words, playing Jay Cutler over Peyton Manning and Drew Brees meant likely fantasy success in your playoffs in 2009.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in for a repeat in 2010, but the very same could occur at a different position.
While it’s great to know all of this after the fact, the real test of your fantasy football knowledge and skills comes during the season, when you must take advantage of sleeper and waiver wire advice to find the best available back-ups for your eventual playoff destroyers.
Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have all the tools to help get you to your fantasy playoffs, but knowing guys like Cutler are the ones who may have to carry you through the playoffs helps you gain a step ahead of the competition.
Know every player’s schedule for the final 3-4 games of the season, monitor all players on the waiver wire, and prepare accordingly.