PONDER GETS A SHOT AT REDEMPTION

Charlie DiSturco, Junior Fantasy Analyst October 26, 2013

In Week 7, the Denver Broncos lost their first game of the season to the Indianapolis Colts. The Kansas City Chiefs are the sole undefeated team, as they defeated the Houston Texans 17-16.

The New York Giants finally won their first game of the season, as they spoiled Josh Freeman’s debut with the Minnesota Vikings. Only two winless teams remain, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jacksonville Jaguars have not won a game in 2013.

There were three players that had great games that contributed to their team’s success.

The first was running back Roy Helu, who had a surprising game against the Chicago Bears. Helu amassed 11 carries for 41 yards but ended up with an outstanding three touchdowns. The halfback out of Nebraska tied several players for the most touchdowns in Week 7 – Matt Forte, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and six other quarterbacks all had three TDs. In standard Fantasy leagues, Helu had a 22 Fantasy point performance, the second best among running backs. Helu played a big factor into the 45-41 Washington Redskins win, scoring three of the teams six touchdowns.

The next player, also on the Redskins, was tight end Jordan Reed. The rookie out of Florida has been a solid receiver for the Redskins, but in Week 7 he had a spectacular game. Reed caught all nine targets from Robert Griffin III, accumulating 134 receiving yards and one touchdown. In standard leagues Reed had 19 Fantasy points, but in points-per-reception leagues he had a 28-point performance.

The third outstanding performance last Sunday was wide receiver, Jarrett Boykin. The Green Bay Packer stepped up in a clutch performance against the Cleveland Browns, as both Randall Cobb and James Jones were held out due to injuries. Boykin had eight receptions on 10 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown. He had 16 Fantasy points in standard leagues and 24 in PPR formats.

Now, without further ado, I present my Week 8 sleepers.

Christian Ponder given second chance with Josh Freeman out due to a concussion. Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck

Christian Ponder gets a second chance with Josh Freeman out due to a concussion. Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck

Christian Ponder – Minnesota Vikings – QB – GB – After being replaced by Josh Freeman in Week 7, Christian Ponder is out for revenge. Freeman is out with a concussion, so Ponder will get a second chance. Ponder struggled in Week 1, but bounced back the next two weeks. However, after being held out the next three weeks due to injury, Ponder lost his starting job, sitting on the sidelines in Week 7. This week, Ponder will have an opportunity to show his value against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are the 23rd ranked defense against quarterbacks, giving up an average of 17.8 Fantasy points per game to the position. If Adrian Peterson can have a big day, more opportunities will open for Ponder, giving him a great shot at winning back his coach’s confidence.

Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – RB – ATL – After a weak performance against the Seattle Seahawks, Andre Ellington will look to rebound against a weak Atlanta Falcons defense. Ellington is a dual threat, as he can run the ball and also catch passes out of the backfield. In his rookie season, Ellington has rushed for 179 yards on 28 carries for an average of 6.4 yards per rush. He also has scored a rushing touchdown. In the receiving game, Ellington has 20 receptions for 190 yards and a receiving touchdown as well. This week, Ellington will look to have a big game against the Falcons. The Arizona Cardinals starting running back, Rashard Mendenhall, is listed as doubtful heading into Sunday’s game, which leaves Ellington with the start. With an injured Mendenhall, Ellington should be an every down back, which should provide him with plenty of opportunities to score.

Riley Cooper – Philadelphia Eagles – WR – NYG – After experiencing off-the-field troubles before the season, Riley Cooper was determined to focus on football and have a big season. In Week 6, Cooper broke out, amassing four receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. Last week, Cooper had six receptions for 88 yards. This week, Cooper will go up against the New York Giants, who are ranked 22nd against opposing wide receivers, giving up an average of 22.4 Fantasy points to wide outs, above the NFL average of 20.9. There is a possibility that Cooper’s success is due to Nick Foles being the starting quarterback, but even with Michael Vick under center, Cooper should be a threat.

Andrew Quarless – Green Bay Packers – TE – @MIN – With the injury to starting tight end Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless is the new starting TE for Green Bay. Quarless has mostly been a non-factor during his four-year career, but he’ll finally get a chance to prove his worth in Week 8. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers can turn any player into a receiving threat and Quarless will now be another one of his weapons. The injury plagued Packers will face the Minnesota Vikings, who have had an awful start to the 2013 season. The Vikings have not played well against opposing tight ends, as they allow an average of 10 Fantasy points per game to the position, making them the 28th ranked defense against tight ends.

New Orleans Saints Defense / Special Teams – BUF – Not only have the New Orleans Saints been dominant on offense, they have a solid defense too, shutting down teams and allowing an average of just 17 points per game – 12 points per game if you subtract the blunder against the New England Patriots. The Saints have 20 sacks, eight interceptions, and four fumble recoveries on the season. They have shut down opposing quarterbacks, allowing just 12 Fantasy points per game. This week, the defense will play against Thad Lewis and the Buffalo Bills. If the Saints play like they have against most opposing teams, this should be an easy win and a solid Fantasy performance for the defense.

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