Week 11 line moves as injuries pile up 

November, 16, 2012

Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Michael Vick, Alex Smith. Pierre Garcon, Darren McFadden, Joe Haden. I could go on, and if I were trolling for hits by listing high-profile NFL players, I would. But all I'm doing is copying the injury list. And this week's happens to be a little more high-profile than usual.

As you know, here at the blog we have spent the season trying to educate people about how to value individual players against the point spread. In fact, we rank them according to a metric called Point Spread Value Above Replacement (PSVAR), which indicates how much a line should move if that player is out. Quarterbacks are, naturally, the most valued in this list, which I have dubbed The Millman Rankings.

This week, as if we had planned it, we have a perfect storm of quarterback injuries that help us illustrate what we have been talking about all year long. It's like that scene at the end of a movie when the subtle message someone has been preaching, usually the guy played by Judd Hirsch, comes to fruition in a huge aha moment.

This is the message. This is the moment. I am Judd Hirsch.

Take our friend Roethlisberger. He has a shoulder issue as well as a dislocated rib that doctors are afraid may puncture his aorta. That is the kind of injury you sustain in high-impact car accidents ... and in the -- all together now -- National Football League. He is not going to play this week. And he won't play next week. It's possible it will be a month before he gets back on the field, if at all. This has a significant impact on the Steelers' chances; they have won more than 70 percent of their games since Big Ben became a starter. And it has an even more significant impact on the Steelers' chances to cover.