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FANTASY FOOTBALL

Going for some payoffs in the playoffs

Wes Welker (right) is generally a good player to get your hands on, but he hasn’t scored a TD since October.

JIM DAVIS/GLOBE STAFF

Wes Welker (right) is generally a good player to get your hands on, but he hasn’t scored a TD since October.

I’ve noted many times that I’m in two fantasy leagues. I’ve had an impressive run of futility in one, until this year, when I qualified for the playoffs after beating the odds Monday night (I needed Drew Brees to be ordinary, and he complied).

So I had to chuckle when another longtime league member e-mailed me Tuesday morning with this gem: “Congratulations to your editor — he can finally say he has a fantasy writer who qualified for the playoffs.”

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For most of us, the playoffs have indeed arrived. It’s time to look at the matchups and come up with some winning advice.

Three up:

Riley Cooper, WR, Philadelphia: I own Cooper and considered benching him after he produced six catches for 85 yards in his last two games. Then I realized the Eagles were facing Detroit, which allows the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Cooper is a must-start Sunday.

Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore: Yes, this is the “three up” category, and we’re including Flacco. The Ravens face the Vikings, who have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Thirteen weeks into the season, this is no small sample size. Flacco is too inconsistent to be a regular fantasy starter, but if you have issues at this position, you can roll him out (he’s likely available) with confidence.

St. Louis defense: If you’re using team defenses based on matchups, St. Louis is a good play against Arizona. The Cardinals have committed 24 turnovers — tied for fourth-most — and the Rams defense has accumulated 48 fantasy points in its last three games.

Three down:

Wes Welker, WR, Denver: Welker’s last touchdown came in Week 8, and he’s averaging just over 40 receiving yards per game in Denver’s last four. His track record makes it difficult to remove him from your lineup, but if these numbers keep up, he could cost his owners in the postseason.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Oakland: A few things are working against Jennings, who has been one of the top fantasy running backs the last five weeks. The Raiders are facing the Jets, who have the NFL’s stingiest run defense, he’s going through concussion tests, and former starter/fantasy heartbreaker Darren McFadden is healthy again.

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis: Look elsewhere. Luck’s receiving corps is banged up, and playing against the Bengals in Cincinnati is problematic for fantasy quarterbacks.

Ed Ryan can be reached at ed_ryan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @EdzoRyan
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