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How to play playoff fantasy football

Sad that the fantasy football season is over? Have no fear. Fantasy playoffs are here!

Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers carries the ball against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Ford Field on January 09, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

We just finished up a long and grueling 2021 season with the most games played ever and now it’s time for a few more to tack onto the ledger. If one of the non-No. 1 seeds makes it to the Super Bowl this year, that team will have played 21 NFL games in total this season. It’s a good thing they get hazard pay.

These last four football weekends give us a chance at one last gasp of fantasy fun, as there are plenty of ways to play playoff fantasy football. Playoff fantasy works in the same way as fantasy for the regular season, but there are quite a few tweaks needed.

With a smaller playoff player pool, you will have fewer teams in a league so you can have big enough rosters to accommodate players who are eliminated with losses, but scoring will remain the same as your re-draft leagues. There are many iterations of fantasy playoff games on the internet, but if you are setting up your own, a traditional draft works fine.


A six team league with 14 player rosters is a good starting point. Roster construction can look like 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 4 WRs, 2 TEs, 2 Ks and 2 D/STs, The good thing is that you can tweak to your preference.

The biggest difference in setting up playoff fantasy scoring will be to switch to a total points league with no weekly lineup setting instead of a head-to-head league with weekly lineup changes. With such a short “season,” this way is fairer for all involved. We also don’t want to allow trading or waivers, as that defeats the purpose of drafting players we believe will last throughout the playoffs.


All active players on your team will accumulate points and whichever team has the most fantasy points at the end of the Super Bowl is the winner. That’s where playoff strategy kicks in when setting your draft rankings. Which teams have the best chance to play the most games? That question will drive your rankings, as a player on a one-and-done real-life team becomes dead weight on your fake team.

Picking the winners in the playoffs is critical and the most difficult aspect of playoff fantasy leagues like these. If you are high on the Chiefs winning the big game, which in turn makes you go in on them heavily in the draft, you need them to survive a couple rounds at least.

So the question is, do we draft from a wide array of teams or go all in on just a few? League settings may vary, so be sure to to know how they might impact strategy, but in most of these leagues, I want to focus on just a few teams. To win your playoff league, you’re going to need to get risky.

This season has been unlike your average season, as teams we figured were somewhat infallible, showed plenty of fallibility this year. Plus, these games or win or get bumped, and as we know, it takes just one off game to doom a team to an early exit. It makes picking the right teams even tougher, but just go for it. Shoot your shot on the Steelers if you think they win it all (don’t really do that). Or go all in on the Packers and Titans as the two No. 1 seeds, but do remember they lose one possible game due to their bye.

I like the Chiefs and Packers, as plenty of people will this season. That means I’d go heavy on those two and add in some players I think I can get three games out of without them making the Super Bowl. It’s a simple concept of course, but implementing a winning strategy comes down to making the winning team picks.