Understanding fantasy football playoffs

If you are reading this article that means you are likely getting close to the fantasy football playoffs.

This is the most crucial time in the fantasy football season which means you should know exactly what playoffs in fantasy football are all about.

Playoff Formats

The first thing you need to understand about playoffs is the format. This is going to determine how many teams get into the playoffs and whether or not any of those teams have byes.

6 playoff teams with two byes

One of the most common fantasy football playoff formats is to have six teams make the playoffs with the top two teams earning byes.

Generally, when six teams make the playoffs there are going to be twelve members in the fantasy league, though some ten-person fantasy leagues have six teams make the playoffs as well.

In this format, the six top teams in the league are going to make the playoffs. The top teams are determined by the number of wins they have on the season.

Divisions typically do not matter when it comes to making the playoffs as most leagues will take the six teams with the most wins regardless of division.

The byes for the top two teams in the league mean that these teams will not have to play in the first round of the playoffs.

Usually, the byes will be awarded to the top team in each conference. Similar to the NFL if you clinch your conference you completely skip the first round of the fantasy football playoffs.

The remaining four teams in the playoffs will play each other based on seeding.

The #3 seed will play the #6 seed and the #4 seed will play the #5 seed. The winners of these games will then move on to the next round.

The two teams with byes will then be matched up against the winners of the first round. The top team throughout the regular season will be matched up against the lowest seed remaining.

And the #2 seed will match up with the higher seed of the two teams that won in the first round.

The winners of the second round will then advance to the finals which typically take place in week 16.

Teams that have been eliminated or did not make the playoffs will be entered into a consolation bracket.

The consolation bracket will determine the ranking of the fantasy teams that did not make the playoffs. It will also rank the players who were eliminated from the playoffs via a smaller bracket.

For example, fantasy teams eliminated in the semi-finals would then be placed in the third-place game. The winner of this game comes in third place in the league and the loser comes fourth.

4 playoff teams

A four playoff team format is going to be very similar to the six-team. The main difference is that this format does not have byes for the top two seeds.

Since this playoff format features two fewer teams it is usually started a week later into the season. This means the regular season is going to be one week longer.

In a four playoff fantasy league the number #1 seed will face off against the #4 seed and the #2 seed will face the #3 seed.

The winners of these games will go straight to the finals and the third-place game.

The six teams not included in the playoffs will play a consolation bracket in which places 5-10 will be determined. This consolation bracket will follow the same structure as seen above in the six-team playoff format.

Getting in

Getting into the playoffs also is a very important aspect. In fantasy football leagues the playoff teams will be determined by win percentage.

Similar to the real NFL the teams with the highest win percentages throughout the regular season will be included in the playoffs.

Though if multiple teams have the same win percentage going into the fantasy football playoffs tiebreakers will be used to determine who is going to clinch a playoff berth.


Tiebreakers in fantasy football are used to determine playoff seeding when two teams have the same number of wins.

The first tiebreaker in fantasy playoffs is the total number of points scored also known as pf. This allows the team which scored the most fantasy points on the season the attain the higher seed.

If the two teams have the same number of points scored they will then compare head to head matchups throughout the regular season.

Whoever won the majority of the head-to-head matchups will be the higher seed.

If this category still has the teams tied then they will move on to their divisional records. This refers to how each team fared when playing against teams in their division.

A tie in this category would lead to the points against tiebreaker. Whichever team had more points scored against them would be the higher seed.

And finally, if the two teams are still tied after all this a coin will be flipped to determine the higher seed.

If you enjoyed this article on fantasy football playoffs check out more content with our guides to PPR and ADP.

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