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fantasy football question / probability theory

I have a math/probability question that I can’t figure out, and I need your help. Not only can I not figure it out, I can’t even think sensibly about it.

I am in a fantasy football league where the top four teams make the playoffs, based on head-to-head matchups over the first 15 weeks of the regular season.

Before the last week of the our regular season, the top three spots were already locked up. Tall Ball was in first; Max Fish — my team — was in second; and Jer was in third, with Team Napoli and theduck on the cusp, fighting it out for fourth place. Jer threw his matchup with Team Napoli, which was a weaker team than theduck, saying he wanted to ensure he had the best chance of winning.

So the season ended like this:

1. Tall Ball 10-5-0 total points scored 1698.88
2. max fish 10-5-0, 1573.82
3. Jer 9-6-0, 1621.94
4. Team Napoli’s, 9-6-0, 1391.66
5. theduck, 8-7-0, 1570.36

So even though theduck was the stronger team, he missed out on the playoffs based on bad luck during his head-to-head matchups. So … wise move by Jer?

But Jer won’t be playing Team Napoli in the first round of the playoffs this week; Jer will play me (Max Fish) and Tall Ball will play Team Napoli. The championship will be played next week, with the winner of these two matchups squaring off.

Now, my question is: Did Jer’s strategy make sense, strategically thinking? Tall Ball is the best team in the league, and one could argue that Jer’s best chance would be hoping that another team got lucky and beat Tall Ball in the playoffs so he didn’t have to face him. Theduck had a better chance of beating Tall Ball, so did Jer shoot himself in the foot?

But of course even Team Napoli does have a shot of beating Tall Ball, and that would absolutely be the easiest matchup in the championship round.

This is essentially a math problem. Something about probabilities and statistics and all that. But I can’t make heads or tails of it. Arrgh. Can anyone help??

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