Before I get started on Ben Roethlisberger, I want to give a quick disclaimer. I have received some interesting feedback recently on my recommendations. Be sure to understand that I am not just giving you rhetoric to make me sound smart on these injuries; my goal is to give sharp and specific information that can literally help you win money. With this approach, I may be wrong here and there, as I do not give wide range explanations that allow me to be right no matter what the outcome is. In many cases I trap myself in a position in which I am either right or I am wrong. Sharp bettors and fantasy players can appreciate this as this type of approach has much more value than a long dissertation of facts and intelligent rhetoric that that never really gives a specific answer. For those who are not good managers of risk, for when these expert recommendations miss by a bit; you are not likely playing the fantasy game correctly. I tend to lean-to the DFS side of things, and I know that the information that I have provided has won money this season, because I am winning it. So in short, if you can’t handle not getting a “sure thing” explanation, you can stop reading now. For those who want to get real expert opinion that is capped with a specific answer that is much more likely to be right rather than wrong, I am your man.

Sorry for the rant; let’s get back to Big Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger has been diagnosed with a meniscus tear to his knee and is scheduled to have surgery on Monday. As I outlined with the Adrian Peterson case, a meniscus injury can be tricky as the outer part has good blood supply while the inner part does not. This plays a big role when it comes to healing, as areas that are rich in blood supply heal faster, while those with little or no blood supply heal slower.

Based on the reports that describe the procedure that Roethlisberger will undergo on Monday to be a “clean-up”, we can assume the injury to be the blood rich outer part of the meniscus which should be good news for Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

This will be an arthroscopic surgery which is literally one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures and Roethlisberger should be able to transition quickly to Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy will initially focus on reducing the swelling and pain in his knee and once these issues are stabilized, Roehtlisberger should transition to therapeutic exercises focused on stabilizing his knee before finally returning to football activity.

On the short end, Roethlisberger could be ready by week eight, but being that this will be the Pittsburgh Steelers bye-week, the earliest we should expect is week nine return versus the Baltimore Ravens. I would expect Roethlisberger to return by then, but at the very latest we should see him in week ten.

As with any other injury, or anything in life, this is not a “sure thing”; however it is a “more likely than not” thing. Orthopedic surgeons do hundreds of thousands of these procedures per year, and Physical Therapist like myself rehabilitate hundreds of thousands of these conditions per year. The text-book answer will support a two to four-week return as I have mentioned, but in real life I know that some recover even quicker and some take longer. We will have to listen out for how surgery goes and look for signs of how Ben Roethlisberger is moving around during the bye week. Don’t be surprised to see Roethlisberger walking with an assistive device in the week leading up to the New England Patriots, but if you are still catching glimpses of a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger as week nine approaches, that would be a sign that something is not right. 

I will update as needed on Twitter @DrPettyIRD, but otherwise hold tight to Roethlisberger if he is your fantasy quarterback for season long, and DFS players should take advantage of the doubters in week nine or ten, as when he returns he should be at full strength.

Good Luck!


The Teddy Bridgewater domino effect has finally produced some actionable fantasy football strategy. I know that knee jerkers everywhere will believe that Adrian Peterson’s value went up because he lost his quarterback, but I believe at best his value stays exactly the same. I downgraded Stefon Diggs a bit and decreased my investment in him with daily fantasy, but overall there really was no big shift that would affect anything I planned to do in week one.

That was until the news broke that if healthy, Carson Wentz would start for the Philadelphia Eagles in week one. I don’t expect many to target Wentz as a season long quarterback, but with the daily game being my fantasy setting of choice, this  news is big. I won’t go too deep into strategy, as injuries are more what I am here to talk about, but take a look at the Cleveland Browns defense and then at the salary for Wentz and you be the judge.

If you come to the same conclusion as me, the only thing stopping you from locking Wentz into a bunch of lineups is the hairline rib fracture that he suffered on August 13th. I am here to tell you that you have nothing to worry about on the injury front, as Injury Science virtually guarantees that Carson Wentz will be ready for week one.

Here are a few reasons that I am so sure:

  1. Wentz was injured on August 13th. A CT scan on August 29th suggested he was 60 percent healed. At this rate of healing, his rib would mathematically be 108 percent healed by opening day.
  2. Rib injuries are mostly about pain tolerance. Because the ribs are not weight-bearing bones, the risk for re-injury is less than other bones which must bear weight. The issue with rib injuries is that pain during movement may disrupt rhythm or the chance that a direct hit may cause intolerable pain. There is always a chance to suffer a more severe fracture if the player returns too soon, but in the case of Carson Wentz this will not be a concern after 4 weeks of healing time.
  3. If you pay attention to Carson Wentz’s personality, there is no way that he will choose to sit out in week one with the chance to take the starting job. I fully expect the medical team to clear him and the only remaining variable will be his willingness to play through any lingering pain symptoms.

I often talk about using the injury angle to your advantage and this will prove to be a perfect example. Those who play daily should build line-ups around Wentz, and those who don’t have a good quarterback or a good matchup in week one for season long should consider starting Wentz. I can almost guarantee that the obscurity of Carson Wentz combined with the questionable tag will make Wentz one of the lowest owned quarterbacks in week one.

I am not promising that Wentz will outscore the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton type players, but considering the low price he will cost across the board, and the defense he will face, I am sure he will prove to be a great investment.



Ben Roethlisberger should play this week!

October 23, 2015


I know all you hear and see is that Ben Roethlisberger (SEP Reliability Rating – 98) is not likely to play this week and truthfully there is no way to know who to believe.  There is a chance that Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers fully expect him to play but would rather catch the Kansas City Chiefs a little off guard, or all the reports could be honest and accurate.  The only thing we can do is look at the facts.  Ben was diagnosed with a Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) sprain and a bone bruise that occurred on September 27th.  I know you heard 4-6 weeks, but frankly I would put it at more like 3-5 weeks for the grade 2 sprain that he suffered. When you add in the fact that this is the NFL, where everything moves faster; I flat-out expected him to miss 3 games and then return.

I have talked about the MCL in the past and generally speaking I don’t worry about a player that has this injury trying to get back on the field right on time or even a little early.  I find the knee to be one of the easiest joints to provide extra support for with bracing or taping.  Ben Roethlisberger is a mobile quarterback in the pocket but he does not have to make signficant cuts at high speeds that would put his MCL at risk for re-injury.  The MCL’s primary function is to stop the knee from caving to the inside (toward your other leg); and Ben suffered his injury to his left leg which is his plant leg during throws.  This may seem like it would be significant and depending on his launch point and how he sets up for a throw the forces may vary; but generally speaking the MCL is not stressed during the throwing process as most of the force is going forward and put on sturdy muscles like the quads and the glutes.  His biggest risk would be getting hit in the knee again which would likely aggravate his pain, but not likely to aggravate the actual structural integrity of the ligament unless he was hit just right for a second time (see image below for the force that puts MCL at most risk).  For the limited mobility that Ben needs, I would definitely be bracing that knee to protect and support the MCL and simply live with having Ben at 80-90% rather than Michael “I still can’t make a 3, 5, or 7 step drop and pass” Vick or Landry Jones.


Well if my initial prediction was right, Ben Roethlisberger will be on the field this Sunday to face the Chiefs.  Obviously there are other factors to consider like the fact that although the Chiefs are losing, they have one of the best pass rushing defenses in the league which may not be the ideal return spot for Roethlisberger as the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals are up next week.

In the end remember that this is generally a 3 week injury for most NFL players and regardless of whether the politics and planning puts Ben in or out of the game, I am pretty sure he could play this week.  You can use some of this same rationale with Marcus Mariota (SEP Reliability Rating – 93) and Antonio Gates (SEP Reliability Rating – 73) who also suffered recent MCL sprains, however keep in mind that Gates must do a bunch more cutting based on position and Mariota is more mobility dependent at this stage of his career as compared to Ben Roethlisberger so the assessment would need to be tweaked a little for both.  I don’t believe a grade for either of their sprains has been publicized, but we can assume a grade 1 or 2 as a grade 3 is a full tear and would be announced as significant time would be missed.

So for those out there waiting to make your weekly fantasy line ups, I say save room for Antonio Brown as he is definitely in play if Big Ben hits the field and fire up Ladarius Green because even if Antonio Gates  plays he will not be himself with less than a week to heal.  As for Zach Mettenberger.……no comment.