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Time to raise your game for fantasy playoffs

So, you made the playoffs.

Congratulations. Would you like a medal?

Fact is, making the fantasy football postseason is a nice accomplishment, but this is no time to rest on your laurels and pat yourself on the back. There’s more work to be done and tough decisions to make before you can call yourself a champ.

Here’s some advice to help you keep this thing rolling:

Start ’em

n RB Dominic Rhodes vs. Detroit: Sure, Joseph Addai is the Indianapolis Colts’ “starter,” but he’s a bit banged-up, and Rhodes has seen an increased workload the past few weeks. Plus, he’s playing the Lions, who let another “backup,” Chester Taylor, have a nice day last week.

n RB Derrick Ward at Dallas: Brandon Jacobs says he’ll play despite a sore knee, but I could see the New York Giants giving Ward lots of touches to help keep the big guy fresh for the postseason.

n RB Sammy Morris at Oakland: He’s back in the mix as the New England Patriots’ top tailback, so you can assume at least 10 touches and perhaps a score like the past two weeks.

n RB Steve Slaton vs. Tennessee: Don’t let the Titans’ run defense scare you from using a kid who’s rushed for 479 yards and three TDs in his past four games.

Oh, and he had 116 yards and a TD the first time his Houston Texans played the Colts this year.

n QB Tyler Thigpen vs. San Diego: After a so-so effort last week at Denver (187 yards, TD), raise your expectations against a pretty bad Chargers pass defense.

n QB Donovan McNabb vs. Cleveland: He’s elevated his game since his competence and brainpower were called into question a few weeks ago. Expect him to light up a Browns team in disarray.

n WR Reggie Williams vs. Green Bay: The Jacksonville Jaguars receiver is at least a No. 3 receiver this week given Matt Jones’ suspension and the Packers’ general ineptitude the past few weeks.

n WR Devin Hester vs. New Orleans: The Chicago Bears’ most dangerous weapon could break off a few big plays against a Saints D that’s given up 20 receiving TDs.

n WR Brandon Marshall at Carolina: The Broncos are running out of running backs, so they might opt to throw it a lot against a secondary that’s been torched to the tune of 274, 293 and 298 yards the past three weeks.

Sit ’em

n RB Steven Jackson vs. Seattle: I understand starting him if you don’t have a better option, but Jackson should no longer be treated like a No.1 fantasy back. His lack of involvement in the passing game and his so-so rushing totals have been killing teams lately.

n RB Willie Parker at Baltimore: I don’t like the timeshare situation unfolding with Pittsburgh Steelers teammate Mewelde Moore, and I certainly don’t like the matchup.

n RB Larry Johnson vs. San Diego: After a poor effort last week at Denver (11 carries, 36 yards), lower your expectations against a pretty good run-stopping Chargers defense.

n RB Tashard Choice vs. New York Giants: The Dallas Cowboys rookie will be a popular pickup this week after what he did against a tough Pittsburgh Steelers run defense (88 rushing yards, 78 receiving yards).

But if Marion Barber can go and wants to shut Jerry Jones up, Choice returns to relative obscurity.

n QB Matt Schaub vs. Tennessee: Don’t overreact to last week’s air raid on Green Bay. Schaub was terrible against the Titans in Week 3 (188 yards, zero TDs, three interceptions) and isn’t worth the risk this week.

n QB Ben Roethlisberger at Baltimore: If your idea of a good fantasy outing for your QB is about 200 yards and maybe a TD, Big Ben is your guy this week. If you have another QB on your roster who’s capable of more, plant Roethlisberger on your bench for this slugfest.

n WR Laveranues Coles vs. Buffalo: The veteran has combined for three catches and seven yards in his past two games. Do you dare start him this week?

n WR Domenik Hixon at Dallas: Forget about last week’s costly drop, as bad as it looked. It was unfair to expect the guy to just step in and replace Plaxico Burress, and he’s been too inconsistent to warrant a start at this point.

n WR Chris Chambers at Kansas City: He’s been an afterthought in the San Diego Chargers’ offense lately, with just one catch in the past two weeks. Sure, the matchup is good this Sunday, but you can do better.

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