I wasn’t able to get my usual waiver wire column in by Monday because I cover Syracuse basketball for CBS Sports. You may have heard there is kind of a big story going on in Central New York, so I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.
So instead, this week I thought I would look at five guys who could help you in a pinch come fantasy playoffs. With most leagues seeing their trade deadlines pass and the waiver wires pretty well picked over at this point, owners with strong teams could be a couple of injuries away from being in a pickle. I have LeSean McCoy, and that sprained toe could be a big problem two weeks down the road.
So the following aren’t guys most owners start every week but if you find yourself in trouble with your fantasy life on the line, there players could save you.
Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota – I put Ponder on the list for those of you who play like I do. I have Drew Brees as my starting quarterback. That means at this point in the season I’m carrying one quarterback and stockpiling depth at running back and receiver.
So what if Brees gets hurt? Well, let’s hope that doesn’t happen, but if it did I looked on my waiver wire to see what quarterbacks are available. It’s the usual crop of mediocrity that includes Alex Smith, Colt McCoy, Tarvaris Jackson, etc. So the guy I would go after in a desperate situation is Ponder.
I really like what I’ve seen out of Ponder so far. Sure, he still looks like a rookie, but Ponder has made some very nice throws since becoming the starter and can also make plays with his feet. In my scoring system Ponder has put up 19, 16, 7, 21 and 14 fantasy points in his five starts. That’s not bad. I can certainly live with numbers like that if Brees went down.
Ponder plays the Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears in his last four games. While that’s not the easiest schedule in the world, he gets the Saints and Redskins during the meat of fantasy playoffs. I think Ponder can do some damage against those two defenses. If you roll the dice and carry only one quarterback, take a look at Ponder should something happen to your starter.
Ronnie Brown, RB, Philadelphia – I said above that I’m concerned about McCoy’s toe. I’ll explain further. Remember last year when Adrian Peterson killed fantasy owners by not playing that Monday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles?
Well, the reason Peterson didn’t play is because the Vikings were out of the playoff hunt. He probably could have played, but why would Minnesota risk further injury to its best player when the game is meaningless to them?
I think we need to be weary of the same thing happening with McCoy. In my opinion, McCoy is the best non-quarterback in fantasy football. He’s also the main cog in the Eagles’ offense. Let’s say his sprained toe gets worse over the next couple of games. Tell me why the Eagles would risk playing McCoy when they can’t make the playoffs. The answer is they would be crazy to do that considering how important McCoy is to the team.
So McCoy owners better go out and grab Brown if they haven’t already done so. Remember, Brown’s best attribute is catching the ball out of the backfield. He won’t put up the rushing numbers like McCoy but his receptions will make Brown a solid start in points-per-reception leagues.
My guess is McCoy doesn’t start every game for the rest of the year. I hope I’m wrong, but I grabbed Brown just in case I’m not.