Play the NFL Playoff Challenge!

Did your fantasy football season end before you were ready to hang up the helmet and pads? Whether Tom Brady's stale performance in Week 15 or a season full of injured running backs cost you a chance at a title, has the perfect solution for your fantasy blues.

The Playoff Challenge takes all of the thrills and excitement of the postseason and wraps it into a fantasy football package that could take you to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa!

The rules for this competition are simple. There are four postseason rounds: Wild Card, Divisional, Conference and Super Bowl. Before the Wild Card and Divisional rounds, each owner is required to select a team that consists of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one defense and special teams unit from the postseason rosters.

You can "spend" a maximum of 300 units to build your team, and you can't exceed that amount when setting your lineup.

Before the Conference round, you will be allowed to change four players from the previous week's lineup in an effort to replace players whose teams were knocked out of the postseason. Four other players will be carried over. You will only be allowed to change two players before the Super Bowl round, with six players being carried over from the previous week's lineup.

The ultimate goal in the Playoff Challenge is to select the players who will advance the furthest into the postseason.

The Playoff Challenge utilizes a standard scoring system that rewards six points for all touchdowns, one point for each 25 passing yards and 10 rushing and receiving yards. It also rewards bonuses for longer field goals, defensive yards allowed and defensive points allowed.

The most difficult task in this excitement-filled competition is of course, how to select a team that can land you a trip to Tampa and Super Bowl XLIII. Well, it's all about your prowess and skills as a fantasy football general manager, not to mention your abilities as a pro football prognosticator.

The players with the best chance to reach the Super Bowl, i.e. Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Terrell Owens, will of course cost the most. But in a season where New England is on pace to be undefeated, it makes sense to add at least one or two members of the Patriots. Even if it's someone like Jabar Gaffney, who isn't a starter but could be a nice value.

If you feel Romo and the Dallas Cowboys have an easier ride in a weaker NFC, however, then the decision to add a few Polks is evident.

The real key to the Playoff Challenge is to get the most points from the players your think can be bargains based on their unit value.

A perfect example of this came in 2005 with members of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers had to play three road games on their way to Super Bowl XL, and many of their players (Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker, Hines Ward, etc.) didn't cost nearly as much as the players from the favored teams that season like Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James or Shaun Alexander.

Owners who took a chance on one or more Steelers that season had a great chance to put together a solid lineup and win the challenge.

While the NFL (much like fantasy football) can be unpredictable, the surprise team that could make a three-round run is the Jacksonville Jaguars.

One of the hottest teams in the league headed into the postseason, the Jaguars have the sort of team that could make some noise. What's more, most of their top players, i.e. David Garrard, Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, won't cost as much as the favorites from Dallas and New England.

While the Patriots are the clear-cut favorites to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy at season's end, the Indianapolis Colts could stand in their path. Players such as Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark could be better bargains than members of the powerful Pats, so that's important to remember.

The final challenge is to avoid any and all players that will cost a high number of units to own and could be knocked out in the Wild Card round. A perfect example of that is LaDainian Tomlinson.

San Diego has been on fire in recent weeks, but this team has Chargers have been an enigma for much of the season. What's more, the Bolts field a head coach in Norv Turner that has never found success in the postseason.

Now that you know the rules and a little about strategies on how to win the Playoff Challenge, there's just one thing left to do.

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