Commentary

Scout Team: For the underdogs

Did you sneak into the fantasy playoffs? Follow this strategy and you could win a title.

Updated: December 9, 2009, 12:55 PM ET
By Scott Burton | ESPN The Magazine

Always start your best players.

Sometimes the simplest advice is the best advice. That goes quadruple when it's fantasy playoff time -- there's nothing worse than hosing yourself out of a title because you had a special little feeling that Joe Flacco was going to outperform Kurt Warner or whatever. (Though Fantasy Scout has a few projections you should be aware of below.)

Always start your best players.

But we hereby give permission for one small set of owners to possibly ignore that advice: the extreme underdog. You know who you are. You're the person who finished ninth in your league in points yet third in your division. The person everyone hates. The person everyone hopes gets smoked by 45 points in the first round.

If this is you, you lousy lout, you should still start all of your certifiable studs, assuming you even have one. (Sorry, Kevin Smith doesn't count.) But when it comes to deciding among your options at, say, No. 2 running back, receiver or flex spot, you need to embrace a little magical thinking. Here's the deal: If one of your receiver options happens to play on the same team as your starting QB, start that receiver. But if one of your running back options happens to play on the same team as your QB, bench that running back.


To read how and why this underdog strategy could help you win a championship, plus Fantasy Scout's unbiased advice for Week 14 and beyond, you must be an ESPN Insider.