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CBSSports.com Playoff Challenge preview

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The regular season might be over, but the Fantasy fun doesn't have to stop. You can still keep those competitive Fantasy juices going in our Playoff Challenge (click here to learn more).

It's a simple game, really, that's fun for everyone, especially if you love Fantasy Football. You get 300 units to set your lineup, which consists of eight players (QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K and DST). You are allowed eight moves throughout the playoffs, and the scoring is standard.

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The goal is to choose players who will play in as many games as possible through the four rounds of the playoffs: Wild Card, Divisional, Conference and Super Bowl. The key is making as few moves as possible to save transactions for the end.

The fun of setting your lineup is trying to figure out who will advance in each round, ultimately choosing a Super Bowl winner. The key to winning in this game is not just being a good Fantasy owner, but you also have to be knowledgeable in picking games. And you have to be a little lucky.

You want to choose teams with the chance to play four games to maximize points, and since 2000 there have been eight different teams -- Giants (2011), Packers (2010), Cardinals (2008), Giants (2007), Colts (2006), Steelers (2005), Panthers (2003) and Ravens (2000) -- to play in the Wild Card round and reach the Super Bowl. Six of those teams actually won it all with the Giants twice, Packers, Colts, Steelers and Ravens.

Last year, for example, if you had Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks you had a pretty good chance of winning as they dominated the postseason. Who will do that this year?

My Wild Card lineup is as follows:

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Packers -- 82 units
Running back: Arian Foster, Texans -- 68 units
Running back: DuJuan Harris, Packers -- 7 units
Wide receiver: Greg Jennings, Packers -- 39 units
Wide receiver: Torrey Smith, Ravens -- 36 units
Tight end: Jermaine Gresham, Bengals -- 17 units
Kicker: Kai Forbath, Redskins -- 17 units
DST: Ravens -- 30 units

The total is 296 units, and I'm counting on Green Bay beating Minnesota, which is why I went with three Packers. Rodgers is a must at quarterback because Green Bay could easily make it to the Super Bowl from the Wild Card round, and he should have plenty of success. He is getting hot at the right time with 11 total touchdowns in his past three games with no interceptions and an average of 333 passing yards over that span.

I went with Jennings as the Packers receiver of choice even though Randall Cobb (44 units), Jordy Nelson (41) and James Jones (40) are within the same range. Jennings, as you know, just scored twice against Minnesota in Week 17. He was also targeted a team-high 12 times and now has seven touchdowns in his past five meetings with the Vikings. Cobb also is dealing with injuries to his ankle and knee.

At running back, Harris is the No. 2 choice for two reasons: cost and effectiveness. He is the best buy at seven units, especially since he has at least eight Fantasy points in three of his past four games, including 14 carries for 70 yards and two catches for 17 yards against the Vikings in Week 17. The Packers don't have a true running back, but he's worth the gamble based on his price.

I also expect the Ravens to beat the Colts, which is why I went with Smith and the Ravens DST. Smith has seven touchdowns at home this year, and No. 1 receivers have done serious damage against the Colts with 12 reaching double digits in Fantasy points. The Colts have also allowed four of the past seven DST options to reach at least 12 Fantasy points, and the Ravens should get linebacker Ray Lewis (triceps) back.

I'm torn on the Bengals-Texans and Seahawks-Redskins. I went with Foster at running back because even in one game he should do well. He scored double digits in Fantasy points in all but one game this year with 17 total touchdowns. Last year against the Bengals in the Wild Card round -- with T.J. Yates at quarterback -- he had 24 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns and three catches for 29 yards. And Gresham, despite his recent struggles, is facing a Texans defense that has allowed five touchdowns to tight ends in the past four games.

Forbath was my kicker because of cost at 17 units, and I took him at home with the chance the Redskins keep their seven-game winning streak alive. He also has at least eight Fantasy points in three of his past four games.

We'll continue to update you on the Playoff Challenge each week and also look players who are improving their Fantasy value for 2013 with strong postseason performances. Like we said, just because the regular season is over doesn't mean the Fantasy fun should stop.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Kyle Orton set to face Jets
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(6:07 pm ET) Bills quarterback Kyle Orton, who was probable with a toe injury, is active as expected for Monday's game against the Jets in Detroit. Orton has thrown just one touchdown pass over his past two games.

Colts sign Victor Butler, waive Kelcy Quarles
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:04 pm ET) The Colts announced they re-signed linebacker Victor Butler and waived defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles Monday.

After recording three tackles over two games for the Colts this season, Butler was waived Nov. 18. Quarles has played in one game this season and notched one sack.


Injured Bills gain clearance for MNF
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(6:03 pm ET) Several Bills who were on the injury report are active for Monday's game against the Jets in Detroit. The group includes cornerback Ron Brooks (groin), kicker Dan Carpenter (groin), wideout Chris Hogan (hip), defensive end Manny Lawson (ankle) and guard Kraig Urbik (shoulder).

Sammy Watkins ready to roll
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:58 pm ET) Bills rookie receiver Sammy Watkins, who was probable with a groin injury, is active as expected for Monday's game against the Jets in Detroit.

Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson among Jets cleared to play
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:56 pm ET) All the Jets who were probable on the injury report are active for Monday's game against the Bills in Detroit.

The list includes running backs Chris Ivory (shoulder) and Chris Johnson (knee), guard Oday Aboushi (shoulder), linebacker Antwan Barnes (knee), guard Willie Colon (knee), wideout T.J. Graham (neck), linebacker David Harris (shoulder), safety Jaiquawn Jarrett (calf), center Nick Mangold (shoulder), linebacker Trevor Reilly (knee), receiver Greg Salas (wrist), cornerback Darrin Walls (calf) and quarterback Geno Smith (right shoulder).


RB Bilal Powell (illness) among Jets' inactives
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:48 pm ET) The Jets declared running back Bilal Powell (illness), quarterback Matt Simms, offensive tackle Dakota Dozier, receiver Walt Powell, defensive back Josh Thomas, center Wesley Johnson and linebacker IK Enemkpali inactive for the game against the Bills in Detroit. Bilal Powell's absence means the Jets have three running backs active: Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson and John Conner.

Bills announce Week 12 inactives
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:40 pm ET) The Bills declared fullback Frank Summers (neck), tight end MarQueis Gray, linebacker Randell Johnson, offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, wideout Marquise Goodwin (ankle) and defensive ends Jarius Wynn (knee) and Bryan Johnson inactive for Monday's game against the Jets.

Bills RB Fred Jackson active for game against Jets
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:33 pm ET) Bills running back Fred Jackson, who was questionable with a groin injury, is active for the game against the Jets in Detroit. Jackson sat out Week 11 and figures to share backfield duties Monday night with Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon.

Lions RB Reggie Bush listed as limited
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:27 pm ET) Lions running back Reggie Bush, who's missed four of the past six games with an ankle injury, would have been limited had the team practiced Monday. Bush's status remains up in the air for Thursday's game against the Bears.

Chiefs S Eric Berry placed on NFI list with possible lymphoma
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:14 pm ET) Chiefs safety Eric Berry has been placed in the non-football injury list with a mass on the right side of his chest, team trainer Rick Burkholder told reporters on Monday. Burkholder told reporters Berry did not experience discomfort until the Oakland game on Thursday.

The team believes what Berry has right now is lymphoma. He is expected to go to Emory University hospital for further evaluation. According to coach Andy Reid, Berry addressed his teammates before leaving the team.

"Right now, he needs to be a beast. He'll attack this," coach Andy Reid said.

Berry released the following statement: "I am truly thankful for all of the support from family, friends, coaches, teammates and the entire Chiefs kingdom. At first I was in shock with the diagnosis on Saturday and did not even want to miss a game, but I understand that right now I have to concentrate on a new opponent. I have great confidence in the doctors and the plan they are going to put in place for me to win this fight. I believe that I am in God’s hands and I have great peace in that. I know my coaches and teammates will hold things down here the rest of the season and until I am back running out of the tunnel at Arrowhead. I am so thankful and appreciative of being a part of this franchise and playing in front of the best fans in the NFL. I will be back!"


 
 
 
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