NFL

Playoff Fantasy League Formats

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If you are out of your league(s) already, you can still live on with these playoff fantasy league formats! After months of uncertainty, protocol implementations and numerous rescheduled games, the 2020 regular season is less than 3 weeks away from ending. 3 weeks! We haven’t missed a single game so far (knock on wood we don’t at all); for a season that was never meant to happen, or that was meant to end prematurely, that’s pretty impressive.

Play some DFS?

With the regular season close to an end, that too means the fantasy football season is drawing to a close. Boo!! Fantasy football isn’t over though! Daily Fantasy Sport (or DFS) has been picking up a lot of coverage over the past few seasons and it runs all the way through the playoffs. If you’re looking for DFS content, fortunately for you, Liam (yes, another Liam, not me) – @DolphinAbroad on Twitter – does great work. He also writes here at King Fantasy Sports so be sure to keep your eyes out for his articles!

No? Playoff Fantasy League Formats!

If DFS isn’t for you, or you love both DFS and normal fantasy, this is the article you need to read. I’ll be taking you through 4 different formats of playoff leagues you can run. If there is enough interest, I may even host a few leagues for the Twitterverse – so make sure to get in touch, my handle is @FantasySportAd1

While other sites will most likely have playoff leagues, all of the formats I will cover will be based on MyFantasyLeague (MFL) functionality. Best of all, playoff leagues on MFL are free to set up!

Before I get into the league formats, I want to quickly cover a few things:

  1. None of these league formats are purpose-built for a specific scoring system. If you want to use standard scoring, go ahead. Equally, if you prefer some variation of Points Per Reception (PPR), go for that!
  2. For each format, I will recommend a matchup style. 
    • Head-to-Head (H2H) – Each week, you are matched up against one other team. This requires an even amount of teams in your league.
    • League-wide – No matchups, you face everyone each week. 
  3. Any of the formats or lineups are not set in stone. Remember, you are playing in these leagues, or even creating them. Make sure you tailor these leagues to what you and your league will enjoy. 

Set & Forget

Recommended League Size: 4+

Recommended Matchup Style: League-wide

Lineup: (per conference)

  • QB x 1,
  • RB x 2
  • WR x 2
  • TE x 1
  • D/ST x 1

Set & Forget is what it says on the tin. You set and submit a lineup before the first playoff game’s kickoff, then never touch it again. You can select one player from each playoff team. Once a playoff team has been eliminated, the player you chose from that team will not score any more points (as there will be no more games for them) and no replacement can be selected. Any players on a bye will not score points during that week, however, will score in subsequent games they play in.

This is great for larger leagues. I recommend using a league-wide matchup style rather than head to head. League-wide is a lot easier to track and does not require an even number of teams. Each team’s score accumulates each week.

For ease, this is how I select my lineups (see below). I make sure I have no duplicates in the “Team” column – this table just helps me visualise that. The worst thing you can do is have two players from the same team in your lineup and not notice, voiding your team. I use one side for each conference to split them up.

PositionPlayer NameTeamPositionPlayer NameTeam
QBQB
RBRB
RBRB
WRWR
WRWR
TETE
D/STD/ST

Advice

In this format, I like to take players from the teams I think will play the most, at the positions with most variance. Take the Chiefs, for example, you have three top options: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce at their positions. The difference between Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen may not be as big as Travis Kelce and the next best TE.

I also normally use the D/ST position as a filler, selecting a team who I believe will be eliminated in the wildcard round. Remember defensive teams may score low, or even negative points so try not to select the worst D/ST either.

Finding a balance and not having any players stink out in any given week is key.

One n’ Done

Recommended League Size: 4+

Recommended Matchup Style: League-wide

Lineup:

  • QB x 1
  • RB x 1
  • WR x 1
  • TE x 1
  • Flex x 1
  • Superflex x 1

The name of this format sounds very similar to the previous one, right? It does, however, differ quite a bit. In this format, you are required to set a weekly lineup. Yes, you guessed it, there’s a catch. Once you use a player, you cannot reuse them in later weeks. You will need to drop your lineup and pick up new players each week.

While the Superflex spot is not necessary, I like the added complexity and flexibility; this allows for those making smarter decisions to score more points whilst also allowing those who have used all their QB options by the Superbowl to pick a 2nd or even 3rd option at any position to hope for the best. 

This is another great format for larger leagues. Points should be accumulated throughout the playoffs. Although H2H can work for this, I believe the league-wide matchup style will work the best.

Advice

In this format, selecting the positional 1st options for the Superbowl teams early on will make your last matchup extremely difficult, so save those top options for the last week and hope you’re right. Always look at the games to see who has an easier matchup too.

Drafts are still a thing?

Recommended League Size: 4-14

Recommended Matchup Style: Head-to-Head

Lineup:

  • QB x 1
  • RB x 1
  • WR x 1
  • TE x 1
  • Flex x 2
  • Superflex x 1
  • Bench spots optional

A draft, at this point in the season? No, you’re crazy! This format is a more typical fantasy league. I won’t go into this one much as I’m sure you’re aware how a draft league is run. I recommend using 1 copy of each player for each multiple of 7 teams in your league, at the very minimum, always rounding up (1 copy for 7 teams or less, 2 copies for 8-14, etc.). You could even run a waiver system to replace those players with deeper options at their position. 

You can amend the lineup to however you prefer to play in the regular season, 1QB, Superflex, TE Premium, etc. I would try not to add more than 1 positional need, but instead add flex spots, especially if you are using 1 or 2 copies. 

H2H works for smaller leagues in this format, however the bigger the league, the more you should think about changing to league-wide matchups. If you go ahead with H2H with a bigger league, make sure you know how many teams you want eliminated after each week.

Advice

The more games a player plays, the more points that player should score. There are always exceptions to this rule, however, in the vast majority of circumstances this is how fantasy works. If you think a team who does not have a bye will play through to the Superbowl, targeting those players early may be worthwhile. Be aware, leaning heavily on this strategy will cause your ship to sink very quickly should that team be eliminated early on. In this format, spreading your players between all playoff teams, or between a few that you think will play the most, is maybe the best option.

If you are still in your playoffs, congratulations! These leagues are still great fun! Remember, you can always reach out to us on social media with any questions we are on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. And don’t forget to check out our weekly rankings!

Image Credit: Jay Biggerstaff – USA TODAY Sports