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NFL Today: Christian Ponder Turning Heads

August 18, 2012 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Levi Brown has tore his triceps for the Arizona Cardinals.
Levi Brown’s potentially season-ending injury weakens a shallow position for the Arizona Cardinals.

Around two months ago, we ranked Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder as the 30th-best Fantasy option at the position, but given his play in the preseason so far, is it possible he might exceed our expecations?

The second-year QB sure looked efficient Friday, completing 10-of-13 passes for 136 yards with one TD and no picks in a three-possession appearance against Buffalo.

Ponder seems to have instant chemistry with newcomer Jerome Simpson, hooking up with the athletic, but troubled receiver for a 33-yard gain on the opening drive.

It’s clear that – at least in the early going – the Vikings are seeing the growth in Ponder that they desperately need as this squad looks to rebound from last year’s disaster.

He was making better decisions when his receivers were well covered, and that will help him cut down on all the picks he tossed last season.

Can Ponder emerge as a viable Fantasy backup QB option? You’ve got to figure he’s at least going to be a decent match-up play, but given the promising start to the preseason, this situation bears watching.

With little pushing him in Minny, you know he’s going to start, and besides Simpson, toss in Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph as nice targets for Ponder, and he could be poised for a nice step forward. Once Adrian Peterson (ACL) returns, Ponder should have a greater opportunity to thrive in a more balanced offense, where there will be less weight on his shoulders.

Pigskin Droppings

  • Cardinal fans that have been waiting for Kevin Kolb to seize the Arizona QB job and run with it had to be disheartened to hear the comments of Oakland defensive end Tom Kelly after the Raiders beat the Cards Friday. “He is skittish. He is scared back there,” Kelly said. “Anytime anybody gets close to him he starts looking at the refs. As a defensive lineman you love a quarterback like that. He ain’t even trying to look at the routes no more. He is paying attention to us and you ain’t going to get nothing done like that.” Super! Expect to see plenty of John Skelton again this year in a situation that is again shaping up as a Fantasy wasteland.
  • To make matters worse for the Arizona faithful, starting LT Levi Brown tore his triceps Friday, an injury that will sideline him for at least three months and possibly cost him the entire 2012 campaign. Brown may not be the world’s greatest pass protector, but he’s the best tackle Arizona has, and this injury massively weakens what is hardly a deep position in the desert.
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