This process applies to H2H Points leagues with playoff settings.
This process also applies to all ESPN Fantasy Football leagues as they are all H2H points leagues.
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Quick access links to sub-sections within the article:
- Standard Seeding Tiebreaker Sequence
- Two Teams Tied - Tiebreaker Process
- Multiple (3+) Teams Tied - Tiebreaker Process
- Seeding Tiebreaker Example
- League Manager Leagues
The easiest way to think of how Seeding Tiebreakers work is that it is a sequenced process repeated for each bracket seed. Once a seed is determined, the process starts all over again until the next seed is determined. Then it begins again until all ties are resolved and the playoff brackets are complete.
When a league converts into Playoff Mode the system automatically generates a seed for each team in the league based on the regular season results. The seeds determine where the system places each team in the playoffs. The primary factors used to determine seeds are:
- Division Winner(s)
- Winning Percentage
REMINDER: The Division Winner(s) ALWAYS occupy first seeds of the league/playoffs. League Managers have the ultimate say on each league's specific rules.
In the event that two or more teams have the same winning percentage at the conclusion of the Regular Season, the Tiebreaker processes illustrated below are used.
Standard Seeding Tiebreaker Sequence
- H2H Record (overall) among the tied teams: If these teams have not all played each other an equal amount of times then the H2H tiebreaker is invalid, and we proceed to Points For
- Points For (PF): Most points wins
- IntraDivisional Record: best H2H record within the same division
- Points Against (PA): Most points against wins*
- Coin Flip
* In Fantasy, you have no control over how many points your opponent scores against you. Assuming a comparable schedule, the team with more Points Against played a stronger schedule and thus wins a tie.
Note: Once a team has been seeded, the process starts back at the H2H Record
Tiebreaker Process when Two Teams are Tied
- H2H records between the two teams are compared. (Best record wins)
- If the records are the same, we compare their Points For.
- If tied in Points For, we compare their IntraDivisional Record.
- If the IntraDivisional Record is tied, we compare Points Against. (Most points wins)
- If for some reason the teams remain tied, a virtual coin flip will determine the seed.
Tiebreaker Process when MULTIPLE Teams are Tied
When more than two teams are tied, it is essentially rinse and repeat for each remaining seed.
- Compare the H2H record of all teams that are tied – team with the best H2H record is the top seed
- Out of the remaining teams, once again assess the H2H record.
- If the remaining teams did not play each other an equal amount of times, compare the Points For and the team with the highest Points For is the next seed
- Repeat step 2 until all tied teams are seeded
Seeding Tiebreaker Example
The main things to remember are:
- Teams must have played the same number of head to head games amongst each other
- Tiebreaker process starts over from the beginning after each tie is broken for each bracket seed
All five teams in this example have a season record of 7-5
- Team A: 3rd in division 1 with 825 Points For.
- They beat teams B and E, and lost to teams C and D
- Team B: 2nd in division 1 with 918 Points For.
- They beat team C, lost to teams A and E, and did not play team D
- Team C: 1st in division 2 with 725 Points For.
- They beat team A, and lost to teams B, D, and E
- Team D: 2nd in division 2 with 720 Points For.
- They beat teams A, C, and E, and did not play team B
- Team E: 1st in Division 1 with 920 Points For.
- They beat teams B and C and lost to teams A and D
FIRST, we SEED the division winners
- Teams E and C won their divisions.
- Team E beat Team C in their Head-to-Head matchup
- Team E gets the #1 seed and Team C gets the #2 seed.
NOTE: In some LM leagues, there may be no divisions, in which case, this step is skipped and (barring a tie) the top-ranked team is assigned #1 seed.
Now we have to DETERMINE the #3 seed
We begin this stage by comparing Head-to-Head Records against each other.
- Teams A, B, and D all have 7-5 records
- Team A beat team B and lost to team D, so they are 1-1 head to head
- Team B lost to Team A, and did not play team D, so they are 0-1 head to head
- Team D beat team A, and did not play team B, so they are 1-0 head to head
IMPORTANT NOTE: Since the three teams did not play the same amount of Head-to-Head games, we have to go the the next tiebreaker - "Points For".
Using the "Points For" Tiebreaker
Team B gets the #3 Seed as they have the most Points For of the three remaining teams.
- Team A has 825 Points For
- Team B has 918 Points For
- Team D has 720 Points For
Time to assign the #4 seed
Exactly as before, we start with Overall Record and work our way through the sequence of tiebreakers. Since teams A and D have identical 7-5 records, we look at their Head-to-Head matchup/s.
Since team D beat team A, D would get the 4th and final playoff seed.
- Team A beat Team B and lost to team D
- Team D beat Team A, and did not play team B
League Manager (LM) Leagues
In LM Leagues, the League Manager has the ultimate say on which teams advance to the Playoffs. In LM Leagues only, the default tiebreaker process is used unless your League Manager elected to modify the tiebreaker system using the "Edit Playoffs" page in LM Tools.
If your league uses its own playoff tiebreakers, we highly recommend pre-defining them and posting them prominently on the League Office page.
NOTE: As an exception, "Most Points from Bench" is an option only available for grandfathered Custom Leagues, which used such a tiebreaker rule in past seasons.