Winning in the Fantasy Football Playoffs

     Ryan Dowell

The regular season fantasy football playoffs are right around the corner. Thanksgiving week is always a turning point in the NFL as well as fantasy. It's a time where owners comfortable with their place in the standings can begin to make moves looking ahead. It is a time where those on the bubble break out all the stops to just get into the playoffs. Just like real life football, all it takes to win a title is getting in and getting hot.

The Returnees

Every year, there are random dudes who swing fantasy postseasons. Often, these are guys no one had ever heard of weeks before who suddenly fell into playing time through injury or what have you. In 2016, the story is vastly different. Instead of no-names getting huge opportunities, we will have the biggest of big-name stars returning right before or during the fantasy playoffs.

It's possible some devoted owners held onto these guys throughout the weeks, but most likely, these stars are or were recently on the waiver wire. The last couple could be hitting waivers too as desperate owners clamber to clear roster space.


Adrian Peterson - out since September with a knee injury. Peterson is hoping to return by mid-December. The benefits of having Peterson in your lineup are obvious. He is one of the best backs in the league with little competition for carries upon his return.

Sammy Watkins - coming off IR from a foot injury. He is eligible to return this week but may not find himself ready until Week 13. Watkins is immediately the number-one receiving option on a good Bills squad.

Thomas Rawls - Rawls returned to the lineup last week after spending weeks on the sidelines. He is reportedly banged up, but Seattle is so thin at running back, Rawls is the last man standing at this point.

Alshon Jeffery - suspended four weeks for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Jeffery is eligible to return around fantasy championship time. He would be a risky hold.

A.J. Green - Green is the most up-in-the-air. Some suspect he will not play again this season. Others think he could be back in two weeks. Holding and waiting on him is a high-risk, high-reward proposition.


The First-Round Questions

If your first-round pick flamed out, you likely aren't vying for a playoff spot. It is hard to overcome a first-round bust. However, some of these guys never got hurt; they are simply continually underachieving. It makes benching them nearly impossible (because of the upside) but starting them incredibly aggravating. These are Todd Gurley, DeAndre Hopkins-types. The roster decision to start or sit them could be the difference between surviving and elimination.


Not all late-season schedules are created equal. Look for teams playing cupcakes in Weeks 15 and 16, when championships are decided. Atlanta and Oakland are a pair of teams with favorable games as the season wraps.

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