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Fantasy football

Berth day plan is simple

It’s time to grab bruising Buccaneers tailback LeGarrette Blount, who has rushed for 210 yards in his last two games. It’s time to grab bruising Buccaneers tailback LeGarrette Blount, who has rushed for 210 yards in his last two games. (Mike Roemer/Associated Press)
By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / December 2, 2011
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I have a friend who has been out of the fantasy playoff picture for so long that he renamed his team “The Indianapolis Colts.’’

And then there are the rest of us, jockeying for a postseason spot as (in most cases) the regular season concludes this weekend. I’ve simplified the stakes for myself by figuring out that I’ll make the playoffs in both of my leagues by winning. But such a complicated logjam exists in one of these leagues that if I lose, I could miss the playoffs, and if I win, I could earn a first-round bye.

It’s too exhausting to try to dissect. I just need a win. And you need a win. So here’s some advice to make that happen.

Three up:

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay: Blount has recovered from the knee injury he suffered earlier in the season and has rushed for 210 yards in his last two games. On deck is Carolina, which has allowed an average of 21.5 fantasy points per game to starting running backs. Interestingly, Blount will face the Panthers during Week 16, too.

Rex Grossman, QB, Washington: Even if it’s for insurance purposes, Grossman is worth a roster move. After a difficult matchup with the Jets, he faces the Patriots, Giants, and Vikings during the fantasy playoffs. No one is going to mention those defensive backfields and the phrase “shut down’’ in the same sentence.

Tennessee Titans defense: Take the long view with the Titans. If you’re heading to the playoffs and want to play the matchups, you’ve found your defense. In Week 15, Tennessee faces the Colts and in Week 16 it faces the Jaguars.

Three down:

Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland: Back in the starting lineup after missing much of the season with a hamstring injury, Hillis may have something to prove. But it seems like a lost year for the former Arkansas Razorback, and Cleveland’s remaining schedule is loaded with matchups against the rugged AFC North.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh has upcoming games with the Bengals (fifth in rushing defense) and 49ers (first in rushing defense, no rushing touchdowns allowed). Mendenhall is a must-start in the fantasy playoffs but you can’t count on him to produce.

Santonio Holmes, WR, NY Jets: Holmes has caught more than four passes only twice (six both times) and his quarterback struggles to complete 50 percent of his throws.

Ed Ryan can be reached at ed_ryan@globe.com.

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