Christian Ponder is still my quarterback. But Ben Roethlisberger is my starting one.

That’s right. Just one day after thinking the fantasy world was over, I landed the big-domed Roethlisberger in a lackluster deal.

I gave:

Jonathan Dwyer, Alex Smith, Kendall Wright

I received:

Ben Roethlisberger

My lineup in the 16-team league is now:

QB – Ben Roethlisberger, Christian Ponder
RB – Darren McFadden, Stevan Ridley, Mark Ingram, Evan Royster, Taiwan Jones
WR – Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Titus Young
TE – Jimmy Graham

While Ponderpocalypse, a term coined by C.D. Carter on Twitter, ended quickly, there are plenty of things to learn from the experience:

1. You should always draft for value

Value is to be had at the running back and wide receiver positions. Always. And it’s because you start two or three more of them than you do at the quarterback position.

Think of it this way: You’re at the grocery store, and it’s super busy. You need to get fruit. Your wife really wants pineapple, and there are only a handful left. Your lady also wants some apples. Not to worry, though, because there are tons of apples at the store.

But you decide to grab the apples first. You figure “What the heck, I’m sure the pineapples will still be there when I get to that section of the store.” You’re out of luck. The pineapples are gone, and your wife files for divorce.

2. The late-round quarterback doesn’t have to be the right one

I had no intention of drafting either Christian Ponder or Alex Smith. But it didn’t matter. People need to realize that, even though that drafted quarterback is your starter, you’re still spending a late-round draft pick on him. He’s expendable.

3. It’s more important to trade for other teams’ needs than your own

This is easily the number one thing people get wrong when they trade. People are more willing to accept a trade if you’re fulfilling their needs, not yours. Do you know why that other team gave me Roethlisberger for three guys riding my bench? Because Kendall Wright will be a legitimate starter on that guy’s team (yes, it’s that bad). He was a WR4 on mine. Jonathan Baldwin was his starter. I noticed it, approached him kindly via text message, and filled his need.

4. Reaching for a position, not a player, isn’t worthwhile

If you really like a player, I’ll rarely blame you for drafting him (unless it’s an early-round quarterback). I think it’s always important to be cognizant of ADP, though.

I mention this all the time, but when you draft a player solely based on his position, well above his ADP, you devalue that player. Who cares if there’s a draft run? Get players with value. That’s exactly what I did with backs and receivers, and I gave up a set of mediocre ones for a decent (I say decent because I’m not necessarily sold on Roethlisberger) starting quarterback.

5. Owners will always value non-quarterbacks more post-draft

Quarterbacks are like new cars. They’re awesome when you first get them, but the instant you take them off the lot, they depreciate immensely in value.

The reason is simple: When teams reach for quarterbacks, sacrificing the running back and wide receiver positions, they fail to realize that the turnover with the running back and receiver positions are greater throughout the season. And, because you start more backs and wideouts in your lineup, the demand for them is higher. This is exactly what I talked about in point number one.

Once teams are drafted, the owners realize they have a void – especially in deeper leagues. That’s what happened in my trade for Big Ben. Kendall Wright is nearly worthless to me, but he’s a starter for this guy.

An Early Ponderpocalypse Conclusion

Am I satisfied with Ben Roethlisberger? No, not at all. I’ve never owned him in a fantasy league. I know better being a Steeler fan. He can’t stay on the field.

But I like him much better than Alex Smith. And I like him even that much more than Christian Ponder. I didn’t have to sacrifice a single starter to get him, and he’s a bigger name that becomes trade-worthy.

Once the season starts, I know there will be players in this deep 16-team league that become viable waiver wire pickups. For now, I’m riding this team to the finals.

Christian Ponder may win a championship after all.