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Fantasy football

Posted by Ed Ryan November 27, 2008 05:54 AM

For the second time this season, Ronnie Brown’s matchup with the Patriots left me filled with anxiety.

Flashback to Week 3: Brown, the Dolphins’ talented running back, shredded New England’s defense for four rushing touchdowns, including a 62-yarder. He also threw a touchdown pass and finished with 48 fantasy points — an unheard-of amount.

This should have been great news for me, since I selected Brown in the fourth round of my draft, but it was a devastating development. I left Brown on my bench that day and had the immortal Selvin Young starting in his place. Young proved useless, giving me only six points, and I lost that weekend — but would have won easily if Brown had been in my lineup.

He’s been there ever since and has provided me a nice one-two punch with 49ers running back Frank Gore, my first-round pick. But a few weeks ago, with both Brown and Gore approaching their bye weeks and with little running back depth on my bench, I swung a trade that bolstered my bench in the short term and will likely help my chan-ces as the regular season winds down and the playoffs approach.

The trade was simple: I sold high on Dolphins receiver Ted Ginn, who had a career day in Week 8 (175 yards receiving), and sent him to a friend’s team that needed receiver help in exchange for Panthers back DeAngelo Williams. It’s been the type of trade that has helped both of us; Williams was helpful for me in a couple of spot starts, and Ginn — who was not going to crack my lineup, anyway — has been solid.

Lately, though, Williams has established himself as Carolina’s top back with some tremendous performances. Brown has been steady but has only three 100-yard rushing games this season and continues to split work with Ricky Williams. Leading up to last weekend, I figured it was time to swap in DeAngelo Williams (368 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the three games prior to last weekend) for Brown, but then I noticed what team Brown was matched up with last weekend.

The Patriots.

Was Brown going to crank out five more touchdowns against New England? No. But did Brown and Miami have the Pats’ number? I wasn’t sure. Throughout the week, I kept flip-flopping and changing my decision, but on Sunday morning I kept Williams on my bench and left Brown in as the starter because I didn’t want to run the risk of lightning striking again and getting burned twice.

You can probably guess what happened if you don’t already know. Brown carried just 10 times for 37 yards, while Williams cranked out another stellar day — 101 rushing yards and a touchdown. But there’s good news: The move didn’t cost me a victory. I won and clinched a playoff spot, and I no longer have a decision to make when it comes to my running backs.
DeAngelo Williams is in, and Ronnie Brown is out.

Ed Ryan writes about fantasy sports and betting for OT and can be reached at ed_ryan@globe.com

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