Did your fantasy football season end before you were ready to hang up the helmet and pads? Well, NFL.com has the perfect solution for your fantasy blues.
The NFL.com Playoff Challenge takes all of the thrills and excitement of the postseason and wraps it into a fantasy football package that could take you all the way to Super Bowl XLV in North Texas! I don't know about you, but I'd love to win a trip to the "Big Spaceship" in Arlington to watch the world's greatest sporting event live!
Once you sign up (and let's be honest, why wouldn't you?), it's time to take a quick overview of the rules and scoring system.
The rules for this competition are simple. There are four postseason rounds: Wild Card, Divisional, Conference and Super Bowl. You'll be required to select a team that consists of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one defense/special teams unit from the postseason rosters for each of the rounds.
If your player's team wins in the Wild Card round, you have the option or keeping that player into the Divisional Round or dropping him for another player. If you keep the player, however, you'll receive double points in his Divisional Round game.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to select the players who will advance the furthest into the postseason. If you pick Palmer in the Wild Card round, the Bengals make it to the Super Bowl and you've retained him as your quarterback, he will be eligible to receive double points in the Divisional Round, triple points in the Conference Championship Round and quadruple fantasy points for his performance in the ultimate sports championship.
Should a player you've selected in the Wild Card round be knocked out, you can replace him with a player who's team is still alive. So throughout each round, you should be able to field close to (if not) a complete roster. You might be starting someone like Saints TE David Thomas in the late rounds, but it's better to have someone than no one!
The NFL.com Playoff Challenge rewards four points for passing touchdowns and six points for all other touchdowns, one point for each 25 passing yards and 10 rushing and receiving yards. It also rewards two points for all two-point conversions, three points for all field goals regardless of length and one point for all extra points.
On the defensive side of the football, points will be rewarded for punt, kick-off and fumble-returned touchdowns. Other categories include interceptions, fumble recoveries and blocked punts.
Points will also be handed out for shutouts and holding opponents to 17 or fewer points. If your defense allowed 22 or more points, it will be penalized points (up to 10 points if it surrenders 46-plus points in a game). In a new twist, players will also be rewarded five points if their team wins the game on the field.
The most difficult task in this competition is how to select a team that can land you a trip to Super Bowl XLV. That means it's all about your prowess and skills as a fantasy football general manager, not to mention your abilities as a pro football prognosticator. And we all know, picking games in the NFL can be tough these days.
The players with the best chance to reach the Super Bowl, such as Manning, Saints QB Drew Brees and Vikings QB Brett Favre, will of course be highly regarded. But to find ultimate success, chances are you'll need to at least one or two players whose teams last three of even four rounds. That means picking a Wild Card team that has a chance to make it all the way to the Conference Championship Round, or even better, reach Super Bowl XLIV. And in recent years, that hasn't been completely out of the question.
Since 1970, a total of nine Wild Card teams have reached the Super Bowl. Four of those teams won it all. However, Wild Card teams reaching the Super Bowl have been more abundant in recent seasons. In fact, the 2007 New York Giants were the fifth Wild Card team to reach a Super Bowl since 1997. We all know how that ended.
Warner and his crew rolled up a ton of fantasy points in wins over the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles en route to Super Bowl XLIII. Fitzgerald was especially productive between the white lines, posting 100-yard performances in the first two rounds and a 152-yard, three-touchdown explosion in the NFC Championship.
He went on to catch seven passes for 127 yards with two more touchdowns in the Super Bowl, albeit in a losing effort, against the eventual champion Steelers. But if you put Fitzgerald's numbers together with the bonuses you'd receive for keeping him for straight four rounds, well, he'd have been the MVP of your playoff fantasy football team.
So the challenge has been placed before you. It's your mission to find this season's Warner and Fitzgerald en route to your ultimate goal -- Super Bowl XLV!