Fantasy football playoff leagues are the greatest test of your fantasy skill. We want our members to CRUSH these leagues. That’s why we did an article already on general strategy. That can be found here. Now we are giving you an article with some specific strategy tips for the most popular format - the FFPC Playoff Challenge.
The full rules to the FFPC Playoff Challenge can be found here but here is the gist. You have to field a team of 12 players (QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, FLX, FLX, FLX, FLX, K, DST). It’s full PPR with tight end premium (1.5 for TE receptions). Points in the Super Bowl count double. The real kicker? You can only use ONE player from each team.
In terms of the general strategy and how to approach crafting a lineup, you should really check out that article linked above. With that knowledge you can look at the breakdown below and put together your team that wins the half a million dollar grand prize. Here are our opinions on both the odds of team success and which players you should go with.
1 Seed: Tennessee Titans - The Titans are in an interesting spot for this tournament for a couple reasons. One is that they have the bye which isn’t necessarily a good thing for this - it’s one less game they get to play which obviously hurts you. The other is that they oddly aren’t even the favorites in the AFC despite the bye. The Chiefs (+175) actually have better AFC championship odds than the Titans (+350) and the Bills are also sitting at (+350). Since they don’t really have a dominant fantasy QB to go with, you might not want to lean too heavily into Tennessee.
- Derrick Henry - Will be a more popular pick than you might think and highly risky.
- AJ Brown - Obvious upside to put up explosive numbers even in a game they might not win. That makes him a good pick but also a popular one.
- Ryan Tannehill - You make this play only if you believe the Titans make it to the Super Bowl
- D’Onta Foreman - Mike Vrabel said it’s not a guarantee Henry can play and they need to see him in practice first. That opens the door for a BIG contrarian move if it turns out he can’t play and the Titans win a couple games. We have to remember that Leonard Fournette was only rostered in 1% of leagues last year. Foreman has played well.
2 Seed: Kansas City Chiefs - This team you are going to obviously have a lot of people targeting the studs and picking one of the big three.
- Patrick Mahomes - Again, when you pick a QB, that will likely be based on your Super Bowl prediction
- Travis Kelce - With Mark Andrews and the Ravens eliminated this is going to be an incredibly popular pick
- Tyreek Hill - This is a pick you make if you actually DON’T believe the Chiefs make it to the big game. One to three games from Tyreek could be incredibly valuable, especially if they make it to the AFC championship game but lose.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire - Most contrarian picks from this team would require an injury but picking a banged up CEH could be interesting if the shoulder doesn’t hold him back much.
3 Seed: Buffalo Bills - Another popular team as they have better Super Bowl odds than the Titans but would play FOUR games rather than three is they do make it. Very similar situation to the Chiefs.
- Josh Allen - You become a huge Bills fan if you make this pick
- Stefon Diggs - Will be popular for obvious reasons but wouldn’t kill you if the Bills don’t make the Super Bowl
- Devin Singletary - Some folks might not realize that this isn’t a split backfield anymore. It’s Singletary’s.
- Dawson Knox - He’s been a fairly touchdown dependent player which isn’t great in TE premium but you have to go somewhere if you don’t take Kelce.
- Other WRs - Unlike the other pass catchers on the Chiefs, these guys have all shown they can flash for one or two games at a time. This is a play I’d consider if I thought the Bills only had one or two games in them.
4 Seed: Bengals - The script flips as we get into the middle/lower seeds. Now all of a sudden it becomes the contrarian play to take the QB. The Bengals currently sit at +650 odds to win the AFC and +1700 to win the Super bowl
- Ja’Marr Chase - Don’t even really need to explain why this will be popular
- Joe Mixon - With multiple flex spots, the running back always becomes an interesting play for teams you think win a couple but might not win it all
- Tee Higgins - The existence of Ja’Marr Chase makes him a contrarian play but perhaps folks will be thinking the same way
- Tyler Boyd - Even deeper along those lines
5 Seed: Raiders - They might be the 5 seed but the Patriots as the 6th seed have much better odds of winning the AFC (+900 vs. +2000). We are now into the realm where I wouldn’t be opposed to picking a kicker or defense.
- Darren Waller - Despite it being TE premium, folks will be looking for a way to not pick Travis Kelce and Waller is likely to be an attractive option
- Josh Jacobs - If you like this team to make some noise, can’t go wrong with the RB.
- Derek Carr - This is a bold play
- Hunter Renfrow - He’s shown flashes but he doesn’t have the appeal of Waller or Jacobs so may be low owned.
6 Seed: Patriots - This is a really unique situation because, if the Patriots beat the Bills, they will almost certainly play the Titans which isn’t a terrible matchup for them. That explains why their odds are better than the Raiders despite the lower seed.
- Damien Harris - This is the player I expect to be the most popular from this team and for good reason - they want to run
- Nick Folk or Patriots Defense - If you like the Bills, this might be a time to go kicker
- Mac Jones - He hasn’t really demonstrated much upside so this one is out there.
- Rhamondre Stevenson/Brandon Bolden - if you like the Bills to win, this could be a sneaky move. The difference between your lineup and someone else’s could boil down to Harris vs. one of these other options and we’ve seen a different RB score the most points multiple times this year.
- Hunter Henry - If you want to branch out a tight end, he’s top 5 in red zone and end zone targets for tight ends this year. If they have any success, he will be involved.
7 Seed: Steelers - The Chiefs are 13 point favorites in this game so they are the biggest longshot running. That said, if part of your strategy is betting against the Chiefs, you may want to hedge with these guys. All these guys are honestly contrarian plays as most folks won’t pick anyone from this team. If I was going to, it would be Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, a kicker, or a defense.
1 Seed: Green Bay Packers - This is the overall Super Bowl champion favorite. Having the bye hurts slightly but we have to remember that Super Bowl points are worth double. So picking the key players in that game is still incredibly important.
- Aaron Rodgers - The likely back-to-back MVP will be a big favorite
- Davante Adams - If you like an AFC QB, this is probably the pick here
- Either RB - Honestly, the split is going to have both of them with low rostership numbers and either one could be the better fantasy back through playoffs.
2 Seed: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs have same odds of making the big game as the Titans and Bills at +350. Which means they are going to be favorites
- Tom Brady - Goes without saying really.
- Leonard Fournette - He returns this Sunday and folks who played last year will remember how good playoff Lenny was.
- Mike Evans - With no Antonio Brown or Chris Godwin, this is a fairly “safe” play.
- Rob Gronkowski - This play might be popular but a lot of people will likely realize that contract incentives played a big part in his heavy usage in Week 18.
- Le’Veon Bell - Last year, Fournette came out of nowhere to produce in the playoffs. It’s a highly risky bet but, if Fournette isn’t healthy, there is an outside chance Bell does that to him.
3 Seed: Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys are the three seed but the Rams actually have better odds of winning the NFC (+450 vs. +600). In this range you really need to believe these teams will make it to the Super Bowl if you want to take the quarterbacks. If you do that then you can fill your lineup with chalk plays elsewhere.
- CeeDee Lamb/Amari Cooper - Players seem to all think the same way with these teams - “I’m picking my QB elsewhere so I’ll go RB or WR here”
- Ezekiel Elliott - See above.
- Dak Prescott - That’s your big bet if you make it - Cowboys to the Super Bowl. You could also bet $100 to win $600 instead.
- Dalton Schultz - If the Chiefs somehow go down early, it gets pretty wide open at tight end. If you think the Cowboys win one or two games but come up short, there are crazier picks
4 Seed: Los Angeles Rams - This is an interesting spot because, much like the Bills, they get a division rival and we can all picture the possibility of them losing this game. They are still the favorites but -4 is not that heavy. If they do win they very likely get the Packers or Bucs so a pretty tough road.
- Cooper Kupp - This will be an insanely popular pick for obvious reasons
- Matthew Stafford - Same realm that you are in with Dak above. You are making your bed right away with this one.
- Odell Beckham Jr. - This is a play you make if you don’t have the Rams going far.
- Rams running backs - Sony Michel got the full workload here but Cam Akers is back so it’s a scary proposition. But that type of situation leads to low ownership and potential for leverage.
5 Seed: Arizona Cardinals - The NFC is a bloodbath so you really need to plant your flag somewhere and stick with it. Most gamers won’t be planting their flag on a team that has +1200 odds of winning the NFC which makes the QB by nature a contrarian play.
- Zach Ertz - Folks are going to be looking for a way to not start Kelce and I think a lot of them are going to land right here on the Cardinals tight end. If they lose it’s not the end of the world but, if they advance, it’s a nice surprise.
- James Conner - This play will be especially popular if Chase Edmonds is out.
- Kicker/Defense - Prater is solid and the defense can be disruptive. Have to pick one somewhere.
- Kyler Murray - Probably the most low floor, high upside play out there. Picking the mobile QB on the underdog team.
- Cardinals WRs - The ball is a little too spread out for this to be a popular pick (DeAndre Hopkins would have been). The one that sticks out to me here is Christian Kirk.
6 Seed: San Francisco 49ers - Like the six seed Patriots in the AFC, the 49ers (+1000) actually have better odds to win the NFC than the five seed Cardinals (+1200). Those odds still aren’t good though.
- Deebo Samuel - Will likely be as popular as Cooper Kupp, if not more so.
- George Kittle - Again, unless it’s Kelce, fantasy gamers aren’t likely to pick a tight end from a team they have going deep. So expect a lot of Kittle.
- Elijah Mitchell - Focal point player.
- Kicker/Defense - Again, have to pick on somewhere.
- Jimmy Garoppolo - Probably don’t need to explain why this one is bold
- Brandon Aiyuk - This is one of those plays where you just zig where everyone else is zagging. He plays a full snap share.
7 Seed: Philadelphia Eagles - This is going to be a tough pick but it’s actually not as bad as the Steelers. The Eagles only opened as seven points dogs whereas the Steelers are -13. That said, you pick two teams that you select no players from so this one will be up there. They also have the worst odds to win the Super Bowl itself at +5000 so not a good bet to go deep. By the nature of that, all players are contrarian options. I’d consider Dallas Goedert at tight end or DeVonta Smith at a flex. Beyond that only kicker and defense are truly viable unless you want to make the BIG bet and go Jalen Hurts at QB.