You may already be at a key moment

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In the early 1900's the French prime minister, statesman and journalist Georges Clemenceau coined the phrase "War is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory."

His statement seems fitting for those fantasy owners who have already had their draft and selected Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson and back up running back Javon Ringer.

The owner who selected Johnson in the first round (fantasyfootballnerd.com ranking 3) is likely "sweating bullets" right now. News is not good on the "negotiation front" between Johnson and Titans management.

Johnson is likely the most underpaid superstar in the league and is looking for a contract equal to his contributions over the past three seasons. In his first three years he has totaled a stunning 4,598 yards rushing, 1,008 yards receiving and 38 touchdowns. Unfortunately, the deal he signed as the 24th pick in the 2008 draft doesn't come close to compensating him at that level.

At least both sides agree to that.

But Johnson has asked to be one of the top paid players in the league, including quarterbacks, and therein lies the problem. The team seems only willing to make him one of the top paid running backs.

The result is that the two sides are digging in and at this moment it appears that it will be a protracted holdout.

Disaster for Johnson's fantasy owners...unless they had the foresight to handcuff Ringer (ranked No. 219). It's looking more and more likely that Ringer, not Johnson, will be the opening day tailback.

If you took a flier on Ringer late in the draft, the catastrophe which has hit Johnson's fantasy owners is your good fortune. Ringer only has 59 total carries in two years as a professional, but he showed he was a very talented runner in his days at Michigan State. In his senior season he led the nation in rushing attempts (390) and touchdowns (22), while rushing for 1,637 yards.

You now have two choices - install Ringer into your starting lineup or trade him while his value is at its peak.

If you put him into your starting lineup its a gamble that he can produce solid numbers. Ringer doesn't run anything like the super-quick Johnson and predicting the former Spartan's success or failure is difficult. Plus, there is always the possibility that Johnson or the Titans will cave in contract negotiations and he'll return to the field in short order.

The more conservative approach would be to trade Ringer as soon as possible and get the most talent you can in return. That trade partner could be anyone in your league, but you'll likely get the most from Johnson's owner. He's the guy who's in a desperate situation and he's also the guy who wouldn't be restricted by Johnson's return to the field.

So if you have Ringer on your roster, but not Johnson, you are already at a monumental moment in your 2011 battle for the championship. Don't hesitate. Make the call to Johnson's owner before the day is out and secure additional talent which will make your fantasy team a title contender.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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