DeMarco Murray's playing status remains clouded, after missing his fourth straight game on Sunday due to a nagging foot injury.
Despite that ongoing uncertainty, fantasy owners shouldn't trade the dynamic Dallas Cowboys running back.
It's an option many owners have probably considered as the trade deadlines for most leagues approach. They had to invest a high draft pick to select him and it's safe to say he hasn't come anywhere close to their expectations.
That said, it would be tough to get anywhere close to fair value for him, because other owners are only going to view him as a buy-low candidate, not the No. 1 running back he was likely selected to be on draft day.
That's a huge gap.
Murray also sounded pretty confident he'll be prepared to return in Week 11 in a quote passed along by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas, which would obviously be an ideal scenario for fantasy teams battling for playoff positions.
Smiling DeMarco Murray to 3rd-string RB Lance Dunbar: "Enjoy it now, 25, because I'm back next week."— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 12, 2012
While that's far from a guarantee he'll be back on the field when the Cowboys take on the Cleveland Browns next weekend, it's at the very least a sign he's closing in on his return.
Owners who have waited this long for him can afford to wait a little longer.
When healthy, he gained 448 total yards and scored a touchdown in five games. He averaged just over nine fantasy points per game during that span. Although that's not elite production, he was consistent enough to be in lineups every week.
Finding a suitable replacement for him on the trade market will be nearly impossible, because there are very few reliable running backs throughout the NFL this season, and those that own even the mid-range ones probably won't deal them for a banged-up Murray.
So the best option for owners is sticking with the Cowboys back in the hope that he returns next Sunday, or the following week at the absolute latest. It's a risk given his slow progress, but not nearly as risky as trading him at a greatly reduced price.
Given Dallas' struggles on the ground without him, Murray should return to his workhorse role once given medical clearance to return, which should provide a major boost to fantasy teams.
It all comes down to having the patience to wait a little longer.
All told, he should return to his usual must-start status shortly. Even though the idea of a trade might seem like it will relieve a lot of frustration, the upside just isn't there.
Wise owners understand that they are best off sticking with Murray at this point and hoping for the best moving forward, in terms of him getting and then staying healthy.