Skaven Lineman Overview:
Skaven Linemen get a bit of a raw deal during games. They are cheap, though due to their speed, the low price means that they have low armour and average agility isn’t great for lots of dodging. As you don’t want the rest of your team getting beaten up, these guys take the brunt of it from opposing teams. You certainly could do with a few to make sure you have enough fodder to put on the line of scrimmage, as Skaven score a lot, the other team gets a lot of hits on these guys when you kick the ball back to them after a touchdown.
Clearly someone needs to do that job on this team so it is a good idea to skill them to do this job as well as possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t last very long though, lots of blocks and low armour can be hazardous to players. There aren’t really many other jobs for the Skaven Lineman, apart from the standard Kick player that every team should aim to get. The only exceptions may be any that get a stat increase, in which case you may want to single them out for special treatment.
The last job for them is as a fouler, they are cheap so a good trade for fouling better players off the field. Their high movement means you can get to the target easier as well. If they are sent off you don’t really miss them much from a tactical point of view. The low cost of Skaven teams also means you can usually have a fair few reserves which are expendable.
The first Linerat you skill up with a normal skill should be taking Kick, it is a vital skill for Skaven teams and the sooner you get it the better. If you can score twice with one first game then great, otherwise as soon as one gets a MVP get them a completion if they didn’t already have one. After Kick you want to keep him alive, so Block or Dodge, then Fend if you don’t have or can’t take the second of Block or Dodge. Two heads could be a useful second double as well meaning you can dodge him away from other teams that bit easier and makes him a bit more mobile to use as an assist. ST increase helps with keeping him alive and adds some needed muscle to the side, AG will be similar to Two Heads as well as giving you another ball handling option, AV will protect him more or MV lets him scurry away further, the latter two you may skip to keep TV down.
The bread and butter build for Skaven Linemen, Wrestle is great for slowing the other team down and you are fast enough to stand up and still move afterwards. Fend will prevent Piling On, Frenzy, slow down the opposing team and leave you in the open so needing to make less dodges away. Tackle is a useful third skill if you need to defend against dodging players. The rest the same applies as explained for your kicker, or Guard on doubles (though don’t set him up on the LOS) which can help if you need to get an assist in somewhere and could also make blocking a bit harder for the opposition.
This is the last option I’d consider for a Linesman though can be really useful for removing opponents. I’d still go the kicker first but after that it is a toss up how you build your Linemen. There is possibilities to mix up the fouling type and the fodder type, with skills that help both ways. I’d go Block over Wrestle for a fouler, they both keep you alive the same amount, but as Block leaves you on your feet, it is easier to move to the foul target. If you go all out one way or the other though, you may consider a fouler more useful and just use unskilled Linemen for your fodder. They will probably get injured at a higher rate, though hopefully your fouls will counter that somewhat to the other team as well. If your foulers get stat increases it is a bit of a shame as they are probably more useful to you on the field than kicking their heels after getting sent off, especially for +ST or +AG players.
Skaven Lineman Summary:
You need your Linemen to do all the dirty work of getting hit, so make sure you have enough to be doing that. There will be times that you need to mark up dangerous opposition players as well, but better your Linesman dies than your better players or losing the game. If using them to foul weigh up if you need them for the line of scrimmage and if you do, is the foul target worth the risk of removal vs losing your player.