They say time flies, but doesn’t it feel like your Labor Day draft & BBQ was just last week?!? Now that we’ve set the clocks back, 10 weeks are in the books, you’ve persevered through a season-ending injury to your second round draft pick, and most byes are over, it’s time to take stock of your team. Are you gonna make the playoffs? If the answer starts with the word “yes” and not the word “if” I’m here to tell you how to get ahead of the curve. Here are the three most important things you need to do prepare for the Fantasy Football playoffs.
1. Streamline your roster
I know you love being able to say you grabbed Alex Collins or Paul Richardson and he helped you win a week last month. In the playoffs, however, the most important thing is to have an impressive group of starters who can pop and lead you to victory in Weeks 14-16. The problem with guys like Collins and Richardson is that a true championship contender shouldn’t need to start them in the playoffs when there are no byes. Now is the time to streamline your roster.
What does that mean? It means sacrificing that second TE or WR5 for players you will hopefully never need, but if you do they are ready…Handcuffs. If you have Le’Veon Bell, you must own James Conner. If you have Carlos Hyde, go grab Matt Breida. If you have Melvin Gordon, you need Austin Ekeler.
If you are lucky enough to have a “Bell Cow” at RB, the team will still operate that way if the main guy goes down so you need the Next Man Up. Keep 4 WRs, not 5. Keep 1 TE, not 2. When making these moves think to yourself, is this a guy I would start in the playoffsâ€? If the answer isn’t a resounding yes then he cannot be part of the playoff streamlining process.
2. Find your best Matchups
Throughout the season there are plenty of guys you start regardless of the matchup. In the playoffs, it’s more like DFS, when the matchup becomes a dominant consideration. Let’s say your two QBs are Russell Wilson (who faces Jacksonville Week 14) and Jared Goff (who faces Houston that week). You should actually value Goff higher on your team starting right now because he’s the guy you’ll need in your one-week, Win-Or-Go-Home matchup. Don’t get me wrong, I love Russ this year but he may serve you better on the trade market before the deadline passes. Jordan Howard and Lamar Miller both see SF in the fantasy playoffs, so acquire either before the deadline in a deal that looks better for your trade partner on its face.
Side note: The Saints and Falcons play each other Weeks 14 & 16 in games that will be indoors with totals sure to be 50+. I’m just sayin…
3. Defense can actually win Fantasy Championships
If you’re making the playoffs you can do something else most people would laugh at earlier in the season – carry a second defense. Get rid of that RB4, WR5, or second TE who you won’t use again and target offenses that are haven’t produced all year, or even offenses of teams that have mailed it in and may start to play some of their younger talent. Here’s some defenses that don’t profile as top-tier but have some great matchups when you need them most. It’s not even crazy to get one for Weeks 14 AND 15 now!
Bears home vs 49ers
Titans home vs Texans
SPEEDZ Pick – Chargers home vs Browns
Packers @ Browns
Cowboys @ Giants
Patriots @ Dolphins
Titans @ Cardinals
SPEEDZ Pick – Bills home vs Colts
Lions home vs Bears
Washington home vs Cardinals
Titans vs 49ers – Pick a side
SPEEDZ Pick – Saints home vs Jets
Browns vs Bears – Pick a side
Giants vs Cardinals – Pick a side
SPEEDZ Pick – Chiefs home vs Dolphins
You can hear more from Dane Martinez, aka SPEEDZ, on FNTSY Radio weeknights on Fantasy Freestyle 7-8p EST as well as Lineup Lock Live 6-7p weeknights and 9am to kickoff Sundays during football season.