Fantasy Outlook: Christian Ponder
By Paul Howell
Let’s start things off by saying that obviously you’re not drafting Ponder to anchor your team or to start all 16 games for you. Everyone needs a backup/emergency quarterback and Ponder has a very good chance to be that guy. With the addition of Matt Kalil the Viking offensive line has upgraded from awful to below average. Harvin is already a top-ten fantasy receiver and Kyle Rudolph has shown promise as a rookie and will continue to improve. Add in the additions of explosive rookies Jarius Wright (a quick, but short, slot receiver) and Greg Childs (a tall playmaker with durability issues) and the Viking’s passing game is already twice as explosive as it was last year. A healthy Adrian Peterson will no doubt help open up the passing game and I fully expect him to be the same Peterson we’ve come to know for the majority of this season.
With that said the biggest reason to like Ponder this year is without a doubt the schedule. Ponder will get to play GB and DET twice each, the AFC South (we will ignore HOU in this case due to obvious reasons) and the NFC West (ignoring SF due to their defense). There is no reason to think that Ponder can’t average 230 yards passing and 2 TD a game during those ten games (He will still probably average a turnover a game but can gain those points back with his rushing yards). If Ryan Fitzpatrick can be the 12th best fantasy QB last year averaging around 13 fantasy points, Ponder has the chance to do it this year.
Again, I’m not saying you should start Ponder every single week but if the quarterback you usually start has a tough match-up Ponder could be a good play. Take into account the bye week or a benching late in the season due to your quarterback having already clinched a playoff spot and that’s another couple games Ponder could be of value. I expect Ponder to probably get drafted in only about 10-20 percent of leagues so unless you have another Viking fan in your league you could pass him up and wait to pick him up off waivers after a couple of weeks. Injuries are a definite possibility with Ponder but since you’re not investing much into him it’s not much of a problem. Overall Ponder is a low risk-average reward for those who draft him. He’s not going to win you your league but he can be used as a fill-in quarterback under a few choice situations.
Best case: A top half back-up quarterback (Fitzpatrick last year)
Worst case: A start for no reason quarterback (Colt McCoy last year)
Have any questions or comments? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach me on twitter at https://twitter.com/PHowell02