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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fantasy football: With Frank Gore's season likely over, Brian Westbrook is a must-have

Until Monday night, you had no reason to own Brian Westbrook.

The former fantasy stud had all of five carries for 9 yards in his 49ers career. Thanks in part to the Cardinals, along with an injury to Frank Gore, Westbrook rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Then came the postgame news that could change the landscape of the fantasy football postseason: Gore has a fractured right hip, likely ending his season.

If you have Gore on your team, you're obviously in a huge bind as the fantasy football regular season enters its final week in most leagues. Depending on your waiver-wire priority, Westbrook might not be a possible acquisition, since he's a rare find -- a late-season potential standout at running back.

If you have a chance to get Westbrook, you have to, with one caveat: If you're 3-9 or 4-8 and have zero chance to make the postseason in your league, the right thing to do might be to let the contenders have a crack at Westbrook, since the best the back can do is help you win your fourth or fifth game.

Westbrook might not have another game like he did Monday night -- at least until the 49ers play host to the Cardinals in Week 17, which is a week after most of the fantasy championships are played. But he should be a decent No. 2 back in any format, and a potential standout in point-per-reception leagues.

From 2006 to '08, the 31-year-old averaged 1,162 yards per season on the ground. In that span, he had averages of 74 catches for 624 yards per year and scored 37 total touchdowns.

San Francisco's schedule the next four weeks isn't very favorable. It begins with a Week 13 game at Green Bay (No. 18 vs. the run, but only five rushing TDs given up), followed by a home contest against Seattle (No. 22 vs. the run, 11 rushing TDs allowed). In Week 15, the 49ers play at the Chargers (No. 3 vs. the run, eight rushing TDs), then travel to face the Rams (No. 12, five rushing TDs).

The schedule could be better. But you can't be too picky when a potential No. 2 back is available this late in the season.

Brian Westbrook leading you to a fantasy football title. If that happens, you can party like it's 2007.

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