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Fantasy football: Strategies for the playoff weeks

Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons catches a

Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons catches a pass during an NFL game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevin C. Cox

The fantasy playoffs are about to begin, and this is the time of year when it can become tempting to get creative in order to increase your title chances. While taking risks is often necessary in fantasy football, it is also important to remember that if you made it to the playoffs, it was for a reason. This is not the time to abandon the players that helped you get there in favor of mediocre talents with strong matchups or recent flashes in the pan.

For example, it would have been easy to look for other options to replace Julio Jones (WR, Falcons) heading into a tough matchup against Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals last week. But, those who got fancy and kept Jones out of their lineup had to watch him record 10 catches, 189 yards and a touchdown from their bench.

What Julio Jones helps remind us is that some players are simply too talented to ever be put on your bench. And while every now and then a stud like Jimmy Graham (TE, Saints) will inexplicably score 0 points for no good reason, those events are quite rare. If you get into the habit of trying to predict the decline of elite players, you are fighting a losing battle.

Never put a top QB on your bench. Don't worry about Josh Gordon (WR, Browns) being rusty after a long suspension. Keep in mind that very few can match the explosiveness of Jamaal Charles (RB, Chiefs), who remains a playmaking threat against any opponent. And, remember that while matchups and other factors are important when looking for a flex option or plugging a hole caused by injury, you are often best off relying on your studs no matter what.


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