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Fantasy Football Playoffs: How To Optimize Your Roster, Bench Spaces Heading Into Fantasy Playoff Matchups

Fantasy Football Playoffs: How To Optimize Your Roster, Bench Spaces Heading Into Fantasy Playoff Matchups article feature image
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Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: The Seahawks defense celebrates. Seattle’s DST has one of the easiest strength of schedules through fantasy football playoffs

Chris Raybon was the most-accurate fantasy football ranker of Week 13 and the 11th-most accurate ranker of the 2020 season overall, as tracked by FantasyPros. He is also the co-host of The Action Network Podcast.


We talk a lot about fantasy football “weapons,” usually discussing someone on the field. When it comes to your role as a manager, though, the often-forgotten weapons you should always keep top of mind are the ones you stash on your bench. Here are my top fantasy football bench management tips as the fantasy playoffs get underway, including what you can do to optimize every roster spot as you make a run for the championship.

Use Your Bench To Plan Ahead

Hopefully you listened to my fantasy playoff advice earlier this season and already weaponized your bench spots by stashing potential trade assets or high-upside fliers who have already turned you a profit. Now with the playoffs upon us, your depth becomes less important, and instead you need to use your bench to plan for specific matchups.

For example, positions like QB, TE, K and DST are heavily matchup-dependent. So if a player or defense on the waiver wire has a more favorable matchup the next week or the week after that than whoever is already on your roster, don’t be afraid to stash that player or defense on your bench, even if it means dropping a more valuable player at a surplus position who you’re less likely to use (such as a WR3/4).

Use the Waiver Wire To Block Opponent Acquisitions

Another way to weaponize your bench is to look at the roster of your upcoming opponent, or your potential opponent for the next week, and note any weaknesses that could be filled by a player currently on the waiver wire.

Let’s say you’re already set at QB, but you notice that next week’s opponent will have a hole to fill at QB. It may still be worthwhile to pick up next week’s top projected QB streamer to block your opponent from doing so, punishing them for not following my earlier tip and planning multiple weeks ahead.

This tactic works best when there’s a clear top option; if there were two or three similar DST options in the previous example, it would give you minimal edge and isn’t worth the real estate. However, what you can do is evaluate all of your opponent’s single-starter positions (QB, TE, K, DST) and see if a player clearly in a tier above the rest is available on the waiver wire.

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