Playoffs require research, guts

Congratulations. If you’re reading this, you must still be playing fantasy football.

With the playoffs under way, now comes the time to show your league how you got there in the first place. And although the strategy in fantasy doesn’t consume as many hours as putting together an NFL game plan in real life, there are still some healthy tips that should be followed during your run for the coveted five-inch desk trophy.

First off, you should know by now that there’s no such thing as players being “hot” — at least not in fantasy. The same applies when it comes to players who have been so cold that they’re “due” for a good game.

As you may already know, players’ stats tend to ebb and flow during the course of the season. And peaks and valleys exist in the vast majority of the players. Only if you’re LaDainian Tomlinson or Peyton Manning do these facts not matter. But for everyone else, the same strategy applies — research, research, research. For example, Kansas City receiver Dwayne Bowe is averaging 4.5 receptions for 65.5 yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game. This week, he’s going up against Denver cornerback Champ Bailey, one of the best in the business. The last time he faced the Broncos, Bowe caught nine passes for 105 yards. So, is he hot or is he due? It would be tough for Bowe to duplicate those numbers against someone as good as Bailey. But if you were to ask me, I say take a chance.

STONE-COLD LOCK: Matt Hasselbeck vs. Cardinals: You almost have to start any quarterback who goes against the Cardinals these days. Stats aside, one thing’s for certain: Arizona’s going to air it out. And with a tepid running game, the Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback will have to match Kurt Warner touchdown pass for touchdown pass.

Start ’em

» QB: Kurt Warner, Cardinals

» RB: Rudi Johnson, Bengals

» WR: Bobby Engram, Seahawks

» TE: Leonard Pope, Cardinals

» K: Nick Folk, Cowboys

Sit ’em

» QB: Eli Manning, Giants

» RB: Ron Dayne, Texans

» WR: Roy Williams, Lions

» TE: Zach Miller, Raiders

» K: John Carney, Chiefs

Pick ’em up

» QB: Luke McCown, Buccaneers

» QB: Chris Redman, Falcons

» RB: Lorenzo Booker, Dolphins

» RB: Fred Jackson, Bills

» WR: Bryant Johnson, Cardinals

Cut ’em

» RB: Derrick Ward, Giants

» RB: Anthony Thomas, Bills

» WR: D.J. Hackett, Seahawks

» WR: Jerricho Cotchery, Jets

» WR: Andre Davis, Texans

cnavalta@examiner.com

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