Enjoy the Real Playoffs
Posted Jan. 04 at 08:50 AM
Playoff fantasy football is a fun way to end the year. You'll have a chance to earn a little cash and either bounce back from a tough season or continue the positive momentum you've built all season. But please don't treat the games the same way you do during the regular season.
Our game has changed the way we watch their game. I know many people who don't want to attend a game live because they'd prefer to be somewhere with a computer and Internet connection. Others sit in the stands but pay more attention to their phones than the field. The stories (and the final score) take a backseat to the stats. Enjoying a game means watching your players perform well; the rest is sometimes background noise.
But the NFL playoffs should be different. As a football fan, these games should matter whether you're playing a fantasy game or not. There are compelling stories, favorites, underdogs and desperate coaches and players. Remember how you wanted these guys to play a few weeks ago? Well, those were your playoffs; this is theirs. You'll see the difference on the field over the next few weekends.
I know there's been a lot of talk about how mediocre teams (Seattle) have made the playoffs while good teams (Tampa Bay) are staying home. So what? The very best teams are in the tournament. The marginal clubs that are still playing aren't guaranteed anything but a locker room and a spot on the field. If they advance, they'll earn it by defeating a (supposedly-superior) opponent. And if that happens, you'll want to focus on the big plays, not the jersey number of the guy who made them.
Don't get me wrong; I know what it's like to focus only on the stats. Remember when Isaac Bruce was #80 and Torry Holt was #88? You had to analyze a blurry flash from a bad camera angle to figure out if you should be cheering or jeering. And this was before high-definition, so getting them mixed up was easy. And while you can't always see a running back's jersey number from a TV perspective, many fantasy owners can tell who is in the backfield by their stance. Ray Rice looks one way; Willis McGahee another. They can distinguish Bradshaw from Jacobs, and some can even tell you if it's Barber, Jones or Choice about to get a carry in Dallas. But none of that matters in the playoffs (especially the part about Dallas and New York). Try to focus on a great run, or some excellent defense to thwart it. If you're rooting for a specific player, don't let it interfere with your enjoyment of the game. During the regular season, NFL outcomes often take a backseat to fantasy results. During the playoffs, it should be the opposite.
I'm not saying that the playoffs always represent the 12 best teams in the league. They don't. Some teams that didn't qualify could have made things very interesting. But the top eight teams are there, and if one of the lesser teams beats a few of them on the road to Dallas, they deserve to represent their conference. You'll see the league's best and a few wildcards (literally) who could upset the favorites. That's an entertaining combination, even without fantasy football.
I'm not saying you shouldn't play. I will. And I'm not saying you shouldn't root for your players. I'll do that, too. But also make a point to enjoy the games without really focusing who I have going in them. The preseason is a farce and the Pro Bowl is even worse, so this is the only time of the year I can watch quality NFL football without calculating stats as I'm cheering. I just enjoy the games for the drama they create on their own without focusing on anything else. I used to do that many years ago, and it's nice to revisit that at the end of each year. I hope my playoff fantasy players do well, but I really hope we get some entertaining games and a great Super Bowl matchup. Right now they're the only guaranteed contests we'll see in 2011 (again, the Pro Bowl doesn't count). Let's enjoy them while we can.
How do you approach the fantasy playoffs? Share your insight below.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Jan. 04 at 10:10 AM
I play in public online playoff leagues so the odds of winning are not good. You have to pick the two Super Bowl teams correctly and also pick the most productive players on those teams. Not easy. I consider the NFL playoffs the second best three week period on the sports calendar (the Super Bowl is often anticlimactic), so it's all about being able to watch great football for me. I usually have players in every game, but their performance is secondary. If I ever am lucky enough to win one of thsee leagues/contests, that would just be icing on the cake.
Posted by Jack Vallee | Jan. 04 at 01:59 PM
in our regular head to head leagues you root for your guys and against your opponent's. In the playoffs we don't play head to head so there are too many guys to root against. Also if you load up on players from one or two teams you are MUCH more invested in that team actually winning than in the regular season when a win or a loss doesn't really matter to the fantasy player.
Posted by BEN HOGEVOLL | Jan. 04 at 02:40 PM
we all play and start all our regular season players that make it to the playoffs through the superbowl.our yearly waive money is the new purse $500 and waives are allowed up to this week.no trades.We are a keeper league so as you can imagine waives get dicey.do i drop cris johnson to pick up shon green? Loads of fun!
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