Cedric Benson Arrest and Potential Fantasy Football Ripple Effect

John ZaktanskyCorrespondent IJune 30, 2010

CINCINNATI - JANUARY 9: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against the New York Jets during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After a morning of playing hide-and-seek with a 51-inch black rat snake in a small wood pile outside my house, I went inside for a quick drink and got the text message.

It simply stated: “Bernard Scott’s value just went ways up.”

Having recently acquired Scott in my dynasty league, the message piqued my interest.

Partially hoping for a season-ending Benson injury (that sounds horrible, doesn’t it?), I was later informed that Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson was arrested on misdemeanor assault charges.

So what does that truly mean for Benson, Scott and thousands of dynasty league fantasy owners who have one or both players?

The short answer is that it is hard to say.

I posted a short note on the fantasy football cafe boards to get some reaction. First response stated that I shouldn’t go and jump the Cedric Benson ship just yet. He mentioned that we only have one side of the story and that Benson isn’t that dumb to just go assault someone without reasonable cause.

Perhaps he’s thinking of a different Cedric Benson than I am.

All I know for sure is that Benson has a history of being a knucklehead in the eyes of the law. The legal system has little pity for repeat offenders. Roger Goodell has even less patience for repeated ignorance.

As reported by numerous reputable sources, the current charges carry a possible one-year prison sentence. Also in the report, Benson allegedly was up front with his team prior to the arrest that he was involved in something.

This tells me two things. The most important is that he’s guilty of something. The other is that he wants to smooth things over with the Bengals as quickly as possible. I’m sure his current contract talks had a lot to do with that.

At this point, it is impossible to tell how much time, if any, Benson will miss from this incident. I’m assuming he’ll be out at least a few weeks. Time will tell.

It is also hard to tell how this affects Bernard Scott’s value directly. On the surface, it would look really good for the young back who filled in admirably for Benson at times last year.

Bengals brass were a little leery going into the season with Scott as their primary backup RB, as reported by Rotoworld.com a month or two ago. They were looking for a solid veteran RB to add. One wonders if guys like Brian Westbrook or Marshawn Lynch are being discussed behind closed doors in Cincy (although who would really want to follow up one headache, Benson, with another in Lynch?).

If and when Benson receives jail time, an NFL suspension or other loss of playing time, there is no guarantee that the Bengals will be OK with Scott filling the starting RB shoes by himself… though most people feel he’s plenty competent to.

What does this all mean? Let’s break it down as simply as possible:

1. Cedric Benson is not an RB you can feel comfortable relying on, something that should have been learned quite some time ago. In dynasty leagues, you may not be able to sell Benson for much at the moment, depending on how others in your league view the arrest news.

2. Regardless of how Scott is seen in the organization, it would not hurt to float some feelers in your dynasty league for a possible trade as a possible buy-low. Just don’t overpay since there are more questions than answers at this point.

However, if/when news breaks that Benson will be suspended any length of time or receive jail time, it is safe to say that Scott’s value will increase. Just keep an eye on how the Bengals attack the remaining free agent running backs, although few of the remaining options pose a huge threat in my opinion.

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