Goodell may reduce Big Ben’s suspension to four games — how would this impact his fantasy value?

31 July 2010 - Latrobe, Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER ( ) signs autographs and jokes with fans during the first practice of the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp held at Saint Vincent College. Photo Credit: Jason L Nelson/AdMedia

Per the USA Today:

The only sure thing is that Roethlisberger will sit out at least the four games. However, the commish likes the way the quarterback has reacted to the suspension. (Click here for Steelers’ schedule)

“He is doing great,” Goodell said. “… I’ve been encouraged by what I have seen. He’s understanding the seriousness of the issue. I think that’s a very positive development.”

For those fantasy owners who made it through my rather extensive QBBC article (or at least read the parts printed in bold), Roethlisberger is an interesting middle- to late-round pick this year. He’s usually underrated because the Steelers are still perceived to be a running team when in recent years they have been far more willing to throw the ball. And now this suspension has depressed his value even further.

But it looks like the commissioner may reduce his suspension from six games to four, and if he does, it would only serve to enhance Roethlisberger’s already appealing fantasy value.

As outlined in the aforementioned QBBC article, Roethlisberger forms a nice platoon with both Eli Manning and Matt Ryan (and, by the way, Joe Flacco). If Goodell reduces his suspension to four games, it means that he would return in Week 6 after the Steelers’ bye. That matchup is against the Browns, and it’s a tasty matchup indeed. In fact, it’s better than any of the matchups of the other QBs in play. The question is, would you want to start him in his first start of the season? Wouldn’t he be rusty?

That’s your call, but I wouldn’t be afraid to start him, not if he’s facing the Browns after he’s had two weeks to take all the snaps in practice. It wouldn’t be that much different than the first game of the season.

The downside of the lowered suspension is that his average draft position is probably going to rise. Still, only the savvy owners are going to jump on a guy that is going to miss four games; In recent years, Brandon Marshall and Steve Smith both went about two rounds later than they should have because they were facing suspensions. Generally speaking, Big Ben is an undervalued 7th or 8th round QB, which means he’ll likely go in the 9th or the 10th.

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