This is my favorite time of the year. At least its my favorite time of the year for playing along with contests in Huddle. Games are big and boosts are bigger, and it leads to a ton of new players entering the fold. As we progress towards the Super Bowl, things will get nuts, and I wanted to make sure I lend whatever experience I have to people who are just starting their contest play for the first time.
For the 2017 playoffs, Huddle has three contest types, and ill offer a strategy for each of the three. Be aware that trying to build a team that works for all three types is going to be ultra time consuming, and potentially very expensive. In light of that, Ill try to offer some advice to lower cost players.
Huddle Unlimited Style
Skill Level: Expert
Boosts Needed: 2x-15x
Best positions to focus on: WR, RB, LB
Switches available: Unlimited
This type of contest is where Huddle began, and I wish it were the one that carried the best prizes. It requires the most skill, and even if you dont have the big gold boosts, its a contest you can still do very well in. The reason being is that people dont understand how to do this contest. They rarely study the points algorithm, and therefore they play the wrong cards. If you go to the news feed, and select “Tips” from the top drop down, there is an article for how to score. That is your bible, and should be taken very seriously.
Here is what I mean. The tendency on a big TD is to play all the QB cards, because the NFL is a QB league. This is wrong, unless it is a short yardage score. The reason being is that WR get almost double the points per yard, and 100 more points for a score. If you play a 10x QB, you can actually score more by playing a 2x WR, which is kind of crazy. The more yardage involved in any pass play, the more WR boosts you should play. Trust me on this.
Another aspect that many dont consider, is that with no lag this year, points are accumulated in your total the second the play becomes official at the start of the next play. Having the ability to just dump one player into a lineup is much easier than trying to search out the best cards for multiple guys. Play the WR and 85% of the time, you will be golden. For low cost players, 2x-5x boosts are available all over the place, so stock up on the right guys!
Defense is also a huge game changer, as so few people recognize how important it is to play defensive players when the offensive scoring player wont get many points for the result. Tackles and Pass Breakups have HUGE point bonuses, as much as a Sack in some cases. Play the defender and get ahead of the game. This isnt as much of a secret anymore, but if you are stuck in the 100s, this can be the ticket into the prizes. Again, low cost players should target LBs and DBs across the board, because they arent the flashy players everyone chases.
Bottom line, I have labeled this as expert level because you need to understand strategy to win. Hands down. If you have amazing cards but play the wrong strategy, you will not score in the top of the rankings. That’s a fact.
Huddle Fantasy Style
Skill Level: Beginner
Boosts Needed: As big as you can get
Best positions to focus on: QB, LB, RB
Switches available: 3
Ah yes, my old nemesis. Fantasy style contests and I go way back, and we have had a love hate relationship. Because of the limited switches to your lineup, this almost becomes set it and forget it.
Because of this situation, the research has to be done on the front end, and you can basically listen to any of the talking heads in the media for suggestions on who to play.
I usually let past performance according to Huddle stats choose my lineup. I sort my available players by boost level in the filter options. Flip over the card sheet so it displays the points they got over the the last few games.
Typically, this is where QBs and LBs shine. Both may not generate the most points on any given play, but from a total perspective, they generate the most points overall in any given game. That’s where the Huddle community is completely lost. They see Tom Brady get 25000 points on his gold boost, and think its the best card in the playoff set. It might be, but only in very certain circumstances. Fantasy contests are one of those circumstances.
You want to play cards that will generate the most points for a whole game, and QBs tend to be the best cards to do this. Unfortunately, there is no skill involved in this contest, outside of picking the right guys. For some reason, Huddle thinks this contest should have the good prizes, but I dont agree at all. This is the type of contest that should generate prize tickets.
Pick the best boosts you have, stick to the formula and try to understand that luck is as big a part of winning this contest as anything.
Huddle Limited Switch
Skill Level: Medium
Boosts Needed: As big as you can get
Best positions to focus on: Biggest point scorers per team
Switches available: 50
Okay, this one is a combination of the top two contests, and might be the hardest one to manage. This contest will have four phases in the divisional and two phases the week after that. You will need to switch your line up AT LEAST FOUR times, which means you will need 33 plays of the 50 to make it work (you get 11 free to set your lineup)
The strategy is very much like Fantasy. Find the best point scorers for each game and have at it. Start with the 11 biggest point players from the first game, switch them out for the second game, so on and so forth.
You do have 17 plays to toy with, but be VERY careful. That means if some crazy 90 yard TD happens, you can switch out PART of your lineup. Remember, it will cost DOUBLE the plays you need, so dont switch all 11 at once, or you will be short 5 plays in the last game. This is because for every player you switch out, you will need another play to reset to the original lineup. It will take 22 plays to get a full lineup switch, and that is more than the 17 grace plays you get.
Its important to use all your plays too, so dont get to the end of the fourth game with any left on the board. You will not have hit full potential at that point.
This contest generated the best looking cards in the Wild Card round, so it might be the one most people are going to try to win. That means more competition and higher boosts. If you are a low cost player, find the budget beasts and add them to your stash.
Rising Boost Levels
Although the top boost available right now is 15x in the playoff base, there will be more cards that exceed that. If there are ways to obtain those cards through normal means, lots of people will be chasing them. This means a huge trade market.
If you arent looking to add to your collection, this might be an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. Acquire the card and claim an above market trade value before the major players all get the amount they need.
This will be especially true when the Super Bowl base set hits, as well as higher boost inserts that are surely coming.
Remember, without strategy, a 25x card is only as good as the person who is using it. Grabbing a few 15x cards to fill holes in your lineup, is very much worthwhile. If you are a collector, it might be different, but that is a different blog post all together.
The One and Done Factor
Any given Sunday, any team can beat any team. That means there is a shot Tennessee knocks off the Patriots. However, investing in Titans boosts over Patriots boosts likely isnt the best strategy. Based on prospects for continuing in the playoffs, here is how I rank all 8 teams.
I would easily come up with your own rankings and find out what you can do to get the boosts that you need. Its likely going to be a Patriots vs Steelers AFC title game, and that could be as much of a toss up as ever. Falcons are likely going to beat the Eagles without Wentz, and the Vikings/Saints is another toss up.
Keep that in mind as you invest, especially for low cost players. If you invest wisely, you wont be stuck with playoff boosts that have no value past the end of the game.
Play to Win
Im going to close by saying its important to play along with every game, and stay on top of the injury reports and stuff like that. Make strategic calls in your game outline, and have a plan.
Most importantly, have some fun. This is going to be a fun few weeks, and I am so pumped to get back to the Super Bowl when Huddle really unleashes the fun stuff.
Enjoy the games everyone!