Fantasy Playoff Tie Games

It happens to some leagues every year.  Your fantasy league playoffs have arrived.  Excitement is at a fever pitch for the teams involved.  Then the unthinkable happens.  After the clock hits zero and the final scores are in, a fantasy playoff game ends in a tie!  Now what?  Well, hopefully your league constitution has a provision for tie games in the playoffs.  But if not, then you are in a bind and it will boil down to a tough call by the commissioner of the league.  That’s why they pay the commissioner the big bucks, right!?  Yeah, right.  In all honestly, about the only “fair” option you have for a situation like this is to use a coin toss to decide the winner.  Then be sure to add some rules to your constitution to handle this situation in the future.

Here is some more discussion to potentially help your league think through it all in case it helps…

We’ve had some leagues contact us and ask if it is possible to have both teams advance and have a 3-way playoff game the next week.  While it is certainly possible, it really is not fair at all to the team that was supposed to play the winner if you decide to handle it this way.   Now that third team has to beat two teams in Week #16 instead of just the winner of the Week #15 game.  What if one of those tied teams scores twice as much as the other in Week #16, and the third team scores somewhere in the middle?  Think about it.  That team would have won if the tie-breaker fell one way the previous week, and would have lost if the tie-breaker fell the other way. But now he loses no matter what.  Not ideal.

If you want to get a feel for what some other leagues do to resolve tie games in the playoffs, read on for some ideas that are used in various leagues at…

  • Some leagues break the tie by awarding the win to the higher seeded team, or the team with more total points during the regular season, or something along those lines.  Basically, in the case of a tie, they go back to the performance during the regular season to reward the team that did better all season long.
  • Some leagues give a fantasy “home point advantage” of 1 or 1.5 points to the team with the “home” game, which is generally the team with the higher seed going into the playoffs.
  • Some leagues use bench points, or the highest scoring starter, or the highest scoring non-kicker, etc.  Basically, they break the tie by various means within each team’s roster to help reward the team with the better depth or the better top performer.

There are lots of ideas, but the key of course is to make this decision before it happens.  So after you make a tough decision about this year’s unforeseen situation, be sure to hammer out the details of your tie-breakers for next year!


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