If you play daily fantasy hoops, or baseball, or hockey, you’re used to it. Some nights there are a bunch of teams in action, and other nights just a couple. It affects everything – it affects the prices of specific players, the likely winning scores in 50/50s, or triple ups, or tournaments, the amount of money you might be willing to leave on the table. Everything.

But if all you play is daily fantasy football, you’re not used to it. At all. You remember back in weeks 4, 9, and 10 when there were six teams on bye? Of course you do. It was… noticeable. The choices seemed limited, and difficult. It was awkward. And these next couple of weeks will be even worse, so you have to be prepared…

A little leeway?

The scores are likely to be lower. The key word there, if the italics didn’t make it clear enough, is likely. They could be just as high as always, but the odds are against it. This is strictly a product of the restricted player pool, or more specifically, the restricted amount of total yards and touchdowns being scored on a weekend with only four games. Simply put, there just might not be four WRs with 30+ fantasy points at the end of the weekend. No matter how well you chose, it just might not have been possible.

And when there are so many fewer players scoring big points, yeah, you’re more likely to miss at least once. And so are your opponents. You can take this fact, however, and go a couple of different ways with it…

Overlap? 

An obvious side effect of fewer players to choose from is more overlap. You might react to this by saying that you need to select at least one or two low-ownership players in order to differentiate yourself. And in certain circumstances, that makes a lot of sense. Those circumstances in particular being that you’re playing multiple lineups, because in that instance, with this low selection pool, “choose low-usage players” is just another way of saying “diversify your lineups,” because there are only so many studs to choose from. And diversifying is always nice when you can afford it, because it gives you more chances to be right.

If you are only playing one lineup, you’re probably still worried about overlap, and you might justify choosing a couple of those low-ownership (re: high risk/reward) players by saying that in a week like this, you can be wrong once and still survive. You just better be right everywhere else.

Safety in Numbers?

And by numbers, I mean any numbers at all that aren’t zero (or all that close to it). Because the easiest way to be right is still to choose the players you know you can trust. Even if that means choosing players who everyone else will be considering too. If you choose Antonio Brown and he goes off, it’s not going to hurt you, even if he’s 40% owned. If you don’t choose him and he goes off, it will hurt you, because he’s 40% owned… and because you likely don’t have other options that will give you the same production, like you do in other weeks with 32 teams in action.

And, in a week like this, if your “misses” still get you even 10 or 15 points, and your Antonio Browns go off, that might be enough to keep you in contention even in the biggest contests.  When you’re playing a single lineup in a big contest, you just have to be right. You don’t have to get fancy. And this strategy only makes more sense if you’re a smaller, single-lineup player who likes to concentrate on 50/50s or other smaller tournaments – a couple of guys under 20 points aren’t going to hurt you this week the way they do in others, but a zero is still going to be hard to overcome.

But despite all the differences, that are going to take some getting used to, it’s fantasy football – in the playoffs. Good luck.