clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fantasy Basketball Playoff Strategy

Some tips/tricks to take home the championship this year...

Channel the spirit of Popovich during your playoff run...
Channel the spirit of Popovich during your playoff run...
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

After a year of covering Fantasy Basketball for you, it's almost time to say goodbye...


But I'm still here for you the last couple weeks of the season.

For many of you, the playoffs have begun. (For others, you start next week in H2H.)

Some analysts think you should plan the endgame right from the initial draft - counting the number of games marquee players play during the Fantasy Basketball playoffs.

I don't agree with that - as injuries/breakouts/resting players inevitably alters the landscape during the course of the year.

I prefer to view a long season as a series of short-term strategies.

But there are no hard and fast rules, per se.

With that said, here are some hard and fast rules.

Some playoff strategies that have worked for me:


This should be rather obvious, but you'd be surprised how many playoff managers hesitate during the most important week of the year - which is to say, every week in the playoffs!

No point holding that injured, day-to-day stud if it means you're gonna be sent home...

I try to be judicious about it, but there simply isn't time for dead weight in the playoffs. (In dynasty leagues, this dilemma becomes more pronounced.)

My strategy is aggressive, but has worked for me almost every time: IF A PLAYER ISN'T GETTING YOU STATS DURING THE PLAYOFFS, CUT HIM.

This is not to say that if LeBron James has a bad day, you should cut him. But if you are rostering, say Jimmy Butler in a 1-year league, get rid of him immediately. Or any player with a lingering injury. Or a great player that has been cold for 2/3 weeks.

Obviously a dynasty league (where you keep everyone) will not make these strategies as prudent, but I still personally think people roster way too many young players in dynasty leagues. Like I always say: Better to win this year than plan for next year.

So play to win.


Most leagues have weekly add limits. Make sure you're counting/monitoring your enemy's moves (and your own!)

Ideally, you don't want to be the first one to blink.

If she adds a player before you do, I consider this a victory. (Unless of course, she gets the week's hottest FA add.)

But generally speaking, you want your opponent to be in a position where you have more flexibility than he does for the rest of the week - even if there are only 3 days remaining in your week.

If you have more moves available than your opponent, you always have the option to switch up your punting strategy midweek (we'll talk about this more later).

So do your best to exercise patience. You could pull out a win on the final day of the week - which I do ALL THE TIME.


Most managers play the game with blinders on.

I really believe most guys are just trying to find the 'best players' they can find without really adopting a cohesive strategy.

These are the players you can destroy.

A simple punt strategy - giving up a cat or 2 to dominate the rest - can beat most ordinary managers.


Beasts like me will analyze your cats, performances every week, punt strategy, etc.

But this is when I give you my greatest tip: CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY COMPLETELY IN THE PLAYOFFS.

It's not always prudent, and sometimes the limitations of your roster will preclude this option from materializing. But generally speaking, you can always make a modification or 2 in the playoffs that is completely unexpected. Once your opponent figures out you're now punting blocks instead of free throw %, it might be too late for him/her to adjust accordingly...

It should also be noted that you could even change your punt strategy MIDWEEK. It's harder - and requires ruthless monitoring of your add limits - but it's a viable option.

Basically, don't be predictable.

In the playoffs, it's war. And anything goes.

Don't be the manager that loses the week because you're afraid of taking a risk.

As for my credentials, I'm currently holding 2nd place in the Yahoo Friends and Family league. It's looking likely that I'll be securing a first round bye in my rookie season of playing with the best Fantasy Basketball writers in the world.

No big deal.

And I might still have a couple undisclosed tricks up my sleeve...

Gotta love the playoffs.