NFL Playoff Fantasy Football Strategy: One-and-done formats

There are many different playoff fantasy football formats. What is the optimal strategy for one-and-done NFL playoff fantasy football leagues?

The NFL regular season may be over, but that doesn’t mean fantasy football has to stop. We still have four weeks of postseason action. Playoff fantasy football certainly doesn’t carry the same pizzazz as the regular-season version, but it can be a ton of fun nonetheless. There are several formats you can use. Today, we will discuss the “one-and-done” playoff fantasy football format.

Fantasy Football Draft Kit Splash Ad
Save your draft. Save your team. Win money.

What is one-and-done NFL playoff fantasy football?

My previous NFL playoff fantasy football article focused on the strategy for best ball formats. In those formats, you choose your entire roster before the first game kicks off, and that’s your roster for the entire playoffs.

For this particular format, fantasy managers set a new lineup with a new roster every week. They have the entirety of the player pool available to them each week and can choose any combination of players they want. The caveat, of course, is the “one-and-done” component. Once you use a player, you cannot use that player again.

What is the optimal strategy for one-and-done NFL playoff fantasy football leagues?

In best ball formats, your goal is to select players on teams you believe will advance deep into the playoffs. You need to maximize the number of players you have in your starting lineup for as long as possible.

In one-and-done formats, you’re changing your lineup every week. The players you have to choose from consist of literally the entire playoff roster. In order to maximize scoring on a weekly basis, you need to do a couple of things.

Select the best players on teams you think will lose

This is easily the most challenging part. You want your players to succeed, but you also want their teams to lose. Since you can’t choose a player a second time, it doesn’t benefit you for that player’s team to advance.

Let’s say the Colts play the Bills in the Wild Card round. If you forgo any Bills players and take Jonathan Taylor, but then the Colts pull off the upset, you’ve not only lost the ability to use JT going forward, but you also missed out on being able to use any Bills. It’s not easy to predict the outcome of these games, but you need to try in order to maximize your point potential.

Choosing the right players at the right time

Perhaps the trickiest part of the one-and-done playoff fantasy football strategy is dealing with the elite players. It goes without saying that you’d want to have the best players on the Super Bowl teams available to use in the Super Bowl. However, there’s also something to be said about catching players on their best weeks.

The best fantasy wide receiver heading into this year’s playoff is undoubtedly Cooper Kupp. Let’s say you like the Rams to make the Super Bowl. Does that mean you should automatically save Kupp for the Super Bowl?

Maybe? It’s important to have elite players available for the Super Bowl, which obviously includes Kupp. But what if you save him for the Super Bowl and he posts a 30 spot in the Divisional Round? Is it more valuable to have a weaker Kupp game in the Super Bowl as opposed to his best game earlier on combined with some other receiver in the Super Bowl?

Of course, we can’t answer this question objectively. I merely bring it up to illustrate the complexities of NFL playoff fantasy football strategy. There is no objectively correct approach. Your goal is to do your best to maximize player availability as the playoffs press on while also maximizing point production each week.

How can I win my one-and-done NFL fantasy playoff league?

As is the case with any version of fantasy football, you need good preparation, skill, and a little bit of luck.

Use resources like Vegas odds to help predict the outcome of games and which teams will likely advance deep into the playoffs. Plan out projected matchups and when you might need to use certain players. Figure out how might be able to adjust your strategy if the games don’t go as you expected.

Hopefully, you found this useful in preparing for your playoff league. Reach out to us @PFNFantasy next week if you have questions on specific players to use on Wild Card Weekend. Good luck and enjoy the NFL playoffs!

Jason Katz is a Fantasy Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @jasonkatz13 and find more of his work here.


Every day, get free NFL updates sent straight to your inbox!