Everybody knows that, in sports, you never look past your next opponent. Michigan could be accused of doing just that in their game against Illinois (the week before they played Ohio State) and it nearly cost them. If you have one eye on the future, you aren't focused on what's happening in the present.

And that's true. But that applies to sports. This is fantasy football, which is totally different. I encourage you to look past several opponents and start planning for the postseason right now.

I understand it's a strange request, considering you might not have punched your ticket yet. Even if you have a good record, it might be another week or so before you're guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. But that doesn't matter. Go ahead and assume you'll be there and make moves that could help you in those specific weeks. Jettison some depth you're confident you won't use and pick up a dome kicker or defense with a fantastic matchup.

Why, you ask? Because nobody else is doing it. Why wait until multiple managers are all looking at the same players and positions? You might get your first choice now, and that can add a few points to your total later, and thatcan be the difference between winning and losing. That's why.

There are risks, of course. You have to drop somebody to get somebody, and that somebody you're dropping could be valuable. I'm not saying to drop Alexander Mattison, especially if you have Dalvin Cook on your team. But if you have a player that's kind of sitting there without much production or potential, go ahead and get rid of them. You don't have to automatically drop your existing kicker or defense, either. Their matchups might be better, and you still have to actually win some games and make the postseason. And contrary to what people might say, it's not fantasy sacrilege to carry two kickers or defenses. It's not usually the best use of a bench spot, but there are times when it makes sense. I think this could be one of those times.

Aside from the value of who you're dropping, there's no downside to this strategy. If you don't make the playoffs, who cares who's on your bench? You were prepared if you made it, but you didn't. So what? No harm, no foul. If anything, you took away a good option from a manager who did make the playoffs, and that's always fun. The position is rotting away on your bench and they end up wishing they had acted sooner, like you did.

I'm talking mostly about kickers and defenses, but it could apply to other positions. If you just want to pick up a rookie that might get more playing time, or a receiver that has a better rapport with a new quarterback, that's fine, too. It's risky to rely on those guys, but it's also good to have options. I'm just saying that you should be looking at your playoff weeks now, instead of a couple weeks from now. You don't want to be worrying about your waiver position to determine if you'll have the players you want. Get them now and don't worry about it.

You don't even need to use them in the playoffs, of course. In a few weeks, a great defensive matchup might look less appealing, and what seemed to be a tough one might look better. A kicker who looks to face bad weather might have clear skies on gameday. Or maybe a potent kicker might fall victim to a quarterback switch, making him less reliable. You never know. But why give yourself fewer options, when you could easily have more?

I just think you should operate with the assumption that you're making the playoffs, and act accordingly this week. The real teams shouldn't do it, and athletes shouldn't do it. But we're just playing a game, so you can afford to look past your current opponent. If you make the postseason and have some good options thanks to pickups you made this week, you're in a better position that other teams. And if you miss the playoffs, oh well. Not every plan gets executed. But at least you had a plan. Check the matchups, check the weather, and put the odds in your favor at the end of the year. Good luck this week.

Are you looking to pick up any players ahead of the playoffs? Do you plan in advance, or do you wait until you're definitely in? Who looks like they might be available and have potential to make a difference late in the year? Share your thoughts below.