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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Taking Risks Against a Juggernaut
Joe Levit
December 12, 2007

Playoff time – Time for you to go out, go out into your league’s limelight.
Playoff time – Put your best guys in, or you won’t have a chance in sight.
Playoff time – Don’t forget to check out the last-minute injury report.
Playoff time – To mask potential shame, come up with a sarcastic retort.

I know what trophy I want to win.
I know what trophy I want to win.
I know what trophy I want to win.
I want to win.

Playoff time – Time for you to go back to the successes you found before.
Playoff time – Pick the right players, and watch your team truly roar.
Playoff time – One last chance to kick some ass, and put your archrival down.
Playoff time – Vindication in your grasp, time to be the big man in town.

I know what jackpot I want to win.
I know what jackpot I want to win.
I know what jackpot I want to win.
I want to win.

Thought some alternate Semi sonic lyrics might get us jacked up for the postseason. I want to talk playoff strategies this week since most leagues begin them now. If you are cruising along, blowing people out and chalking up the wins, then you just need to keep dancing with the girl you brought – No wait, that’s not quite right. I mean, selecting the guys you always start. You are the juggernaut, or as dictionary.com puts it “any large, overpowering, destructive force or object, as war, a giant battleship, or a powerful football team.” All you need to do is insert a ‘fantasy’ before the football to have the analogy ring true.

If you are not the bully in your league, then you need to give yourself the best chance to beat him or her. Resident ESPN Page 2 writer Bill Simmons has been slotting NFL teams in his Power Rankings all season. He has had the New England Patriots alone at the top in a category called, of course, “Juggernaut.” Teams this year have had to pull out all the stops, take every kind of risk if they wanted to have any chance to beat the Patriots. No one in the NFL has done it yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t beat the juggernaut you are facing. Here are a few strategies to employ during your fantasy football playoffs. When you have the chance, employ these techniques, or you might as well down your last bee. It will be closing time.

Risk big when facing a juggernaut – In this case it is already likely you will lose the contest, so what do you really have to lose by taking a surprising shot? Your only hope, like the teams playing the Patriots, is to take some risks when selecting starting players. There are guys on every team who can blow up for a big day at any time, but who are very inconsistent. Guys like David Patten, or Joe Jurevicius, or Warrick Dunn. In this case, it is smarter to start one or more of this type over safer options. If you hit on one or more of these players, you might win. Remember, the goal is to take the title, not lose close contests.

Go with a Punch – One tactic at playoff time is to start a quarterback or receiver that counters what your opponent does. If he starts a star receiver and you have that receiver’s quarterback, consider benching another QB and putting the quarterback in question into your lineup. You will get points every time his guys scores, mitigating the impact. If your quarterback throws to other personnel, you have just swung a large set of points in your favor.

Say no to Zero – Sometimes during the fantasy season an owner can be less stringent with injury designations. “Probable” and “Questionable” might seem okay then. Come playoff time, this is not good enough. You just cannot afford to lose potential points because you took a chance on a player with nagging injury. Play things safe here and you will get points in every category.

Play the Hot Hand – Some players just get on nice streaks. They are more valuable right now than guys who normally would seem to rank above them. A good example would be Reggie Williams of the Jaguars. He doesn’t garner respect in most fantasy circles, but the guy has been playing very well recently with David Garrard. Williams has been good for about a touchdown a week recently. Find other such streaking stars and slot a few for production.

Stay the course with Studs – None of the aforementioned reasons gives you any right to bench bonafide stars. Stars “find a way.” to win nearly every time out. If you get cute and avoid them, you increase your chance of failure. Don’t be dumb.

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