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From the Bench with BK

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Nicole Robinson

With this weekend marking the halfway point in the 2005-06 NFL regular season, (depressing, I know), I figured it was time to put on my thinking cap and offer all the information I can summon for those out there with struggling fantasy football teams.

I know what it feels like to have a dreadful fantasy team at this point in the season. I wouldn’t wish that sort of pain on my worst enemy.

So, for those of you who are dwelling in the bottom of the league, listen up. I might be able to help you out and, at the very least, take some of the pain away.

This year has been the year of the running backs. Edgerrin James, Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Thomlinson, Steven Davis – there’s no shortage of stud running backs in the league. It’s essential to have at least one horse at running back that you can count on for decent points every week. If you don’t have one, I would have an auction with wide receivers and quarterbacks to try to attain a consistent back – that is if your trade deadline hasn’t passed. Even if the deadline has passed, as long as you’re not in a 12-team league, there’s always guys like Ricky Williams or Michael Bennett out there who might come on in the second half.

A couple other running backs who I would take a look at if you’re in need are Antowain Smith, Larry Johnson (if he’s still out there) and maybe Duce Staley for a couple weeks while the other Pittsburgh backs get healthy.

The reason I say worry about a running back first is that wide receivers are a dime a dozen. Even in a 12-team league, there always are guys out there who can put up points.

Of course, some teams were decimated by the Terrell Owens debacle, but if you were smart, you’d realize in Philadelphia it’s illegal to run the ball, and any one of the top three receivers on the Eagles will have an opportunity to make a play.

Some wide receivers I would recommend picking up if available would be Reggie Brown, Jerry Porter, Brian Finneran or Eric Moulds.

One position that hasn’t really come up big this year is the quarterback – even Peyton Manning isn’t putting up real big statistics.

If you have a decent quarterback, my advice is to use him as trade bait. There are a ton of quarterbacks out there who will, at the very least, give you a touchdown or two and keep you in the game. There hasn’t been any real huge games by quarterbacks this year, so this is one position you can get away with having a below-average player.

If your team is too far gone to even think about competing for the playoffs, don’t get the noose out just yet. Although I’m not involved in one, many people are involved in “keeper” leagues, in which you can keep one or a number of players and carry them over to next year’s roster. Start picking up guys like Terrell Owens and Priest Holmes. Build for next season instead of sulking about this year’s team.

The only way to have a truly terrible fantasy football team is to do nothing.

I have no pity for the teams at the bottom of the league, because they’ve obviously done something to put themselves in that position, but I love nothing better than a comeback story. I’ve been a part of one myself so heed my advice, watch “SportsCenter” daily, pray and you too could head up one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the world.

Knickerbocker is a senior print journalism major and columnist for The Spectator.

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The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.
From the Bench with BK