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Crisis Management

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The serious injuries to Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger sent shockwaves through the fantasy football community, and this week will be all about the aftermath. First, let’s briefly go over each player’s injury and the dismal prognosis for both of them.

We’ll start with Michael Vick, who had a serious concussion against the Dallas Cowboys. When players have concussions these days, some get categorized as “mild,” others are diagnosed as “serious” and then there’s the “you’re never going to play football again” variety, which Jahvid Best seems to be suffering from.

Vick seems to have suffered, in the words of coach Andy Reid, “a pretty significant concussion.” There’s already talk that the Philadelphia Eagles are going to sit Vick for the rest of the season and give Nick Foles a chance to run the offense and possibly save Reid’s job. None of this is confirmed, though. We only know that Vick has a serious concussion and won’t be back this week and probably not the following week.

For Roethlisberger, his sternoclavicular strain on his shoulder already has him as “doubtful” for this week, and many within the Pittsburgh Steelers organization are fearful it might sideline him for a few weeks. This is a serious injury, and while Roethlisberger is known for being one of the toughest players in the game, among other things, the injury was to his throwing shoulder, which could seriously hinder his ability to make plays.

There’s only three weeks left in the regular season for most fantasy football leagues. A multi-week injury at this point is basically a death sentence for that player. The injured player might as well be out for the season. We can all hope that Roethlisberger or Vick returns for Week 12 or 13, but it’s a longshot and fool’s gold for owners to count on this.

So, what to do now?  Owners have two options: waiver wire or make a trade. Both options have negatives and positives connected to them. Let’s focus first on making a trade. We mentioned in the intro how sharks are sensing blood in the water.

Earlier in the season, I wrote an article about how owners should react to the Fred Jackson injury, and the philosophy is similar here. For every owner lucky to not have Roethlisberger or Vick, this is the perfect time to submit obscene and offensive trade offers to the desperate owners of those signal-callers. If you own Vick and Roethlisberger, get ready to have your inbox flooded with trade offers that even your grandmother might be appalled by, and she doesn’t even watch football and she definitely doesn’t know what fantasy football is. That’s how bad it’s going to be.

If you are one of those unlucky owners and you are choosing the trade option, you absolutely have to find a trading partner whose down in the dumps, suffering on a bye week and desperately needs a win this week. I’ve said elsewhere that these are the best kind of trading partners regardless, but especially in this situation. You might still get a questionable deal, but at least it’s something you can live with. The last thing you want is to have a trade partner whose just a vulture and wants you to give up your whole team for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The key thing you have to focus on in this kind of trade is the mathematics of it all. For example, let’s say I had Vick and I need a quarterback desperately for Week 11. If I give up a stud wide receiver and get in return a QB2 and WR2/3, I’ve probably made my team worse off. We’re talking maybe about a WR1, who averages 30-plus points a week versus a QB2 and WR2, who combined might give me 25-35 points a week.

This is a bad move to make. You’ll actually be scoring less points each week, and these are the kind of mathematical equations you’re going to have to do when considering these trades. Save your studs, if you can. These are the players, who have been the backbone of your team all season long.

If you are receiving nothing but horrid offers and you can’t find anything better, I would recommend instead going to the waiver wire and seeing what quarterbacks are available. You’ll probably find mediocre guys like Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill and John Skelton. You might get lucky and find a guy with a great matchup in Week 11. Or you might need to get a couple mediocre quarterbacks and use them the way some owners use defenses, just playing the weekly match-up game.

For my money, the best solution is both solutions. You have to go to the waiver wire first. This is the most important move you can make. You can’t rely on the strategy that you’ll somehow make an amazing trade at the last minute. This is an easy way to get taken advantage of in a last-minute desperation trade. Once you’ve acquired your waiver wire quarterbacks, you can then start looking to upgrade by making a trade.

The goal is to be patient and make thoughtful decisions. You’re already desperate. You don’t need to put it on a shining billboard for the entire league to see. You don’t need to print out newsletters to telegraph to other owners how desperate you are. The more blood in the water other owners see, the worse trade offers you’ll get. Be smart, and you might still be in the running when the fantasy football playoffs start next month.

Good Hunting!

Ed Bonfanti

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