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Why you shouldn't be concerned with playoff seeding in fantasy football

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Clay's Week 12 fantasy takeaways (1:31)

Mike Clay explains why fantasy managers should sit Tom Brady, start Josh Adams and add Austin Ekeler if he's available. (1:31)

Repeat after me: "I have no actual control over whether or not my fantasy team wins or loses."

Now, this is not to say that playing fantasy football is completely a luck-based enterprise. Deciding that this is the week to start C.J. Ham instead of Saquon Barkley because you "have a hunch" -- or perhaps simply because you had yet to eat lunch when setting your lineup and you were influenced subliminally by your hunger -- is almost assuredly going to come back to bite you.

That said, having Equanimeous St. Brown on your roster and "ready to go" when it was confirmed that Randall Cobb was going to be inactive for Week 12 certainly would be a smart decision on your part, which had nothing to do with "luck." The fact that St. Brown ended up outscoring the likes of DeSean Jackson, Allen Robinson and Golden Tate is a well-earned reward for your fantasy foresight.

Yet, at the end of the day, you had no actual control over this result. Green Bay still had to call plays for St. Brown. Aaron Rodgers still had to decide not to audible and throw the ball in his direction. The line had to provide pass protection. The throws had to be on target, the coverage less than perfect, the catches made ... and on and on. From the comfort of your couch, you did what exactly to assist in the effort?

My point in all this is not to belittle your enthusiasm in rooting for your team. Nor is it to scold you for taking credit for making, shall we say, "unorthodox" decisions when setting your lineup that turned out to be the moves that won you the game. If you pulled off the upset because you started Kenyan Drake and Nick Chubb instead of Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram II, by all means, crow about it for the next decade. That's what fantasy football is all about.

That said, I've been asked more than a few times what my stance is about attempting to throw a game in order to try to manipulate who makes the playoffs, or to push the seedings into a more favorable situation. The veteran move in these situations is to let the chips fall where they may.

Say you've already clinched the No. 1 seed and in Week 13 you're playing a team that gets into the playoffs with a win -- despite being the lowest-scoring side in your league -- while simultaneously eliminating a team with Andrew Luck and Christian McCaffrey that you'd rather not face down the line. Why wouldn't you simply start the weakest lineup possible in order to achieve this goal? Once again, in case you haven't heard, the reason you don't do this is because you have no actual control over whether or not your fantasy team wins or loses.

Let's say you had tried to throw Week 12's game by going with a subpar lineup of Josh Allen, Austin Ekeler, Kapri Bibbs, David Moore, Ryan Switzer, Leonte Carroo and Dan Arnold. There's no way those guys are going to beat any team trying to win, right? More than 125 fantasy points later, you've likely ended up securing victory in a game you might not have had you stuck with your usual starters.

Now, this particular lineup of lesser options was cherry-picked after the fact to prove a point. Still, even if your tanking effort worked out perfectly, be careful what you wish for. When it comes time to face off against that "weaker team" you wanted in the playoffs, it's not as if "your players" actually match up well against "their players" that particular week.

You're going to be kicking yourself when that's the week when Luck throws four picks and McCaffrey gains just 8 yards before tweaking an ankle and sitting out the rest of the game. Meanwhile, your "preferred opponent" decides to throw caution to the wind and starts a gaggle of Carroo types who all happen to find the end zone.

The goal of fantasy football is to have fun with the game. Sure, if making certain that one particular buddy of yours is left on the outside looking in for the postseason by trying your best to lose in Week 13 is going to be a great source of entertainment in your circle of friends, then be my guest. It still doesn't make doing so the better move in terms of bringing you a fantasy crown. In fact, it might be the very decision that causes you to fail in your quest.

You know why.