The Wire Troll: Christian Ponder Gets the Call in Minny
The Vikes hope Christian Ponder can whip their pass attack into shape.
Welcome to the Week Seven edition of the Wire Troll. The trade deadline has come and gone, and some deals went down that could shift the tide of fortune in both the real-life NFL and Fantasy leagues across the land. Last year’s leading receiver was dealt for a pittance, while a forgotten quarterback fetched a king’s ransom to don silver and black. Injuries are again a major story this week, with the Dallas Cowboys searching for a new feature back and the Detroit Lions scrambling to again replace the oft-injured Jahvid Best. There was a (hopefully) permanent changing of the guard in Minnesota, and over in Buffalo, a former IDP stud made his return to the gridiron and Fantasy relevance. The Bills are on a bye this week, so we’ll tell you about him the next time we meet.
Movers, shakers and potential Fantasy difference-makers; they’re all here this week, so sit back and have a glance through this week’s Wire Troll. For all the latest waiver wire-worthy Fantasy news, be sure to follow the Wire Troll on Twitter.
Bye weeks: Buffalo, Cincinnati, New England, New York Giants, Philadelphia, San Francisco.
Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings have officially benched the overrated and over-aged Donovan McNabb, and Ponder will take the reins this week against the tough Green Bay Packers defense. Better he than McNabb, whose lack of mobility led to five sacks against Chicago Sunday night. Ponder will undoubtedly have his ups and downs, but he can’t fare much worse than his veteran predecessor, who has led his team to a 31st-place standing in passing offense this year — despite having one of the game’s most potent backfield distractions in Adrian Peterson. For now, add Ponder in two-quarterback leagues only, but keep an eye on his progress.
Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders: The season-ending injury to Jason Campbell — and the prospect of Kyle Boller as their starting quarterback — prompted the Raiders to throw a first and a conditional second-round pick at the Bengals to prompt them to part with their “retired” signal-caller. That second-rounder will become a first if the Raiders win a playoff game, so the price to bring Palmer back to the west coast was steep indeed. We find it hard to believe that he’ll live up to his hefty price tag, but Palmer should be fine once he beats out Boller — which will probably have happened by the time you read this. Grab Palmer in all formats and stash him for a tasty matchup.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys: With starter Felix Jones on the shelf with a high ankle sprain, the ‘Boys will look to Murray and Tashard Choice to fill the void. Murray rushed for 32 yards on 10 carries Sunday, and the rookie has more upside than his veteran counterpart does. The former Oklahoma Sooner rushed for 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns in his senior year, so he’s no stranger to a heavy workload — or the end zone. Choice may also be worth grabbing, but if you have to make a, ahem, choice, we’d recommend Murray.
Maurice Morris, Detroit Lions: Jahvid Best is dealing with another concussion, and his status for Sunday is in question. Morris — for now at least — is the No. 2 guy, and being Best’s backup is like being LiLo’s bail bondsman: you know the work is coming, it’s just a matter of when. If Best is unable to go, Morris could be in line for plenty of touches this week, but be aware that he could be a one-week wonder; new acquisition Ronnie Brown could at least see some part-time and short-yardage duty once he learns the system.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos: The Broncs dealt Brandon Lloyd for what amounted to a bag of balls and a side of fries, so there is now a gaping hole opposite Eric Decker waiting to be filled. Enter Thomas, who has been sidelined the entire season while recovering from surgery to repair a broken finger. Thomas is big, fast and athletic, with his only limiting factors being his ability to stay healthy and quarterback Tim Tebow’s ability to get him the football. Thomas is best suited to deeper Fantasy leagues for now, but the upside is there for him to be a solid contributor by season’s end.
Greg Little, Cleveland Browns: Yep, Greg Little. The rookie leads the Browns with 20 receptions, and his 203 receiving yards ranks third on the team. Of greater interest are his 12 receptions for 129 yards over the past two games, and he seems to be developing a rapport with Colt McCoy now that he’s cracked the starting lineup. Add Little in deeper Fantasy leagues, and he could become a serviceable weekly flex play if he continues to build on his early success.
Fred Davis, Washington Redskins: We featured Davis on the Troll less than a month ago, but now that Chris Cooley will be sidelined for about six weeks with a broken finger, it’s worth checking your wire to see if Davis was dropped. The debilitated digit will require surgery, and while Cooley’s on ice, Davis should again be a featured player in the ‘Skins offense.
Billy Cundiff, Baltimore Ravens: Cundiff is currently fourth among NFL kickers with 56 points, and his 14 field goals is good for second-best in the league. Despite his success, Cundiff is owned in just 36 per cent of Yahoo! leagues — and his matchup against Jacksonville in Week Seven bodes well for his immediate future. If your regular kicker is on a bye, or just plain under performing (Matt Bryant, I’m looking in your direction) consider grabbing — and possibly hanging onto — the B-More booter.
Dallas Cowboys: The ‘Boys D is ranked No. 1 against the run, and they’ll face the St. Louis Rams in Week Seven, who figure to be without quarterback Sam Bradford (high ankle sprain). Even if Sammie B. somehow makes it onto the field, he’ll face a pass rush that has accounted for 16 sacks, and dropped Tom Brady three times Sunday. Backup A.J. Feeley is, well, A.J. Feeley — so look for a big day from the Dallas defence.
INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
Kam Chancellor, S, Seattle Seahawks: Chancellor has amassed 30 total tackles in four games, while picking off a pair of passes, recovering a fumble and defending four passes. The second-year man appears to have settled in as Seattle’s starting strong safety, and should rack up plenty of field time given the Seahawks’ lethargic offense. Chancellor is a nice bye-week fill-in in all Fantasy leagues, and he could become an every-week starter if he continues to progress.
DeAndre Levy, LB, Detroit Lions: Levy has been a tackling machine over the past three weeks, racking up 35 total stops and ascending to the top 10 among linebackers in that category. He has yet to produce a turnover, but when you’re around the ball as much as Levy, good things are bound to eventually happen. Perhaps this is the year that he finally stays healthy and posts the kind of huge numbers many fans were expecting when he earned the starting gig as a rookie back in ‘09. Ground floor, anyone?