Tips to weather playoff time in football fantasyland

It’s that time of the year when fantasy football leagues are entering the playoffs.

Playoffs? You want to talk about playoffs?

Yes, I do.

Fantasy owners begin to hyperventilate and stress all week about their match-up in week one of the playoffs.

This is the time when mistakes happen and overthinking gets fantasy owners in trouble. Adding and dropping players each week based on that players weekly matchup. Playing a no-name player that had a great game a week prior. Asking for a fantasy expert’s advice and then listening to it.

These are all mistakes and problems the typical fantasy football player will fall for in the first week of the playoffs. And it only escalates each week — granted they win in week one.

Here are some tips to avoid being the melodramatic owner and keep your eye on the prize:

 

Keep On, Keepin’ On

Fantasy owners like to change their ways for some reason once they make the playoffs.

Whether it is asking others for advice — friends, family or experts — owners don’t stick to what got them there in the first place. As ironic as that last sentence sounded (you’re receiving advice now by reading this) these are simple steps to avoid taking roster advice.

When you ask your friends for advice, more than likely they don’t care to see you win and boast a championship. Plus, unless your friend helped you make the playoffs, it’s pointless. Same thing goes for family. Don’t begin a family argument close to the holidays over fantasy football. Share moments of losing, not blame. Plus, that can effect how great of a gift you might receive — just saying.

On the other hand, experts can be a double-edged sword. At one moment, they seem fairly knowledgeable and for the most part, they are. They know the best matchups and why a player should or shouldn’t be played. The problem is, they don’t know your roster.

At first, you hear advice to play Tony Romo this weekend. What the expert doesn’t know is that you have Tom Brady as well, and that he is the smarter play regardless of whom each team is playing. This is when you watch fantasy owners tweet to these experts, complaining that the advice they were given lost them their first round matchup. That’s when it is the owner’s fault, not the expert’s. He isn’t all-knowing, so don’t expect him to be. Predictability is un-predicting, as ironic as that is.

So, in other words, keep thinking for yourself if that is how you reached the playoffs. More than likely, you got there by doing so.

 

Players will be players

No ladies, this isn’t a section about how men in general are “players” and that “they won’t ever change”.

This is a section dedicated to fantasy owners saying that your players will be who they have been all season, and the players you don’t have, aren’t on your team for a reason.

Playing with the waiver wire and free agency this late in the season is dangerous. Unless one of your starters goes down for the season, don’t make any drastic moves. It will come back to haunt you.

Very rarely do you see a player have a breakout performance this late in the season, who hasn’t already made a name for himself. Most teams are attempting to make a run at the playoffs and have a game plan set for how to do so. That game plan is set up to what works and has been working, and mainly involves the team’s best players.

Many may have thought Pierre Garcon was a risky play against the Baltimore Ravens’ pass defense or Adrian Peterson against the Chicago Bears’ front seven, who didn’t let Peterson score two weeks prior. But, both Garcon and Peterson lived up to their ability as playmakers and made fantasy owners proud that they stuck with them.

Playmakers will continue to be playmakers. These players will do whatever it takes to win football games this close to the playoffs, thus making you a winner in the playoffs. It’s a win-win agreement between you and your players. Accept it.

 

Defense wins championships

In the playoffs, each team is there due to one or two key players that performed week in and week out. Most teams may look identical as the playoffs narrow down, and the scores will stay very close in each match for the most part.

Some games vary depending on the matchups the players on your fantasy team have, but none are as crucial as the defense.

This is what coaches meant by defense wins championships all those years. Having a strong defense in the playoffs could be the difference between losing by 10 and winning by three. At this point in the fantasy season, you should have equipped your team with a reliable defense, and not two defenses which you play depending on the opponent.

Stick with the defense that has been there to save you through thick and thin. This could be the deciding position that allows you to make a push to the championship.

Fantasy owners: Stick to your gut feeling, and to the way you have set up your team the entire season. Have faith in yourself, as you are in the playoffs.

Otherwise, you might as well start making your 2013 cheat sheet.

 

Reach the columnist at msterrel@asu.edu