Highlighting a sluggish rookie campaign in 2011, Vikings QB Christian Ponder (1,853 yards passing, 13 TDs) produced five consecutive games of at least one touchdown pass (Weeks 11-15).
Today's installment of "Choose Your Quarterback" pits Christian Ponder against Sam Bradford—the No. 26 and No. 29 passers in my rankings of the 32 presumed starting quarterbacks.
*That countdown will remain fluid throughout training camp and preseason play.*
Here's a week-by-week fantasy breakdown of Bradford vs. Ponder...just in case you're torn over which quarterback offers better value in Rounds 12-14:
Week 1—Ponder (vs. Jacksonville) over Bradford (@ Detroit)
Week 2—Ponder (@ Indianapolis) over Bradford (vs. Washington)
Week 3—Bradford (@ Chicago) over Ponder (vs. San Francisco)
Week 4—Bradford (vs. Seattle) over Ponder (@ Detroit)
Week 5—Ponder (vs. Tennessee) over Bradford (vs. Arizona)
Week 6—Bradford (@ Miami) over Ponder (@ Washington)
Week 7—Bradford (vs. Green Bay) over Ponder (vs. Arizona)
Week 8—Ponder (vs. Tampa Bay) over Bradford (vs. New England in London)
Week 9—Ponder (@ Seattle) over Bradford (BYE)
Week 10—Ponder (vs. Detroit) over Bradford (@ San Francisco)
Week 11—Bradford (vs. N.Y. Jets) over Ponder (BYE)
Week 12—Bradford (@ Arizona) over Ponder (@ Chicago)
Week 13—Ponder (@ Green Bay) over Bradford (vs. San Francisco)
Week 14—Ponder (vs. Chicago) over Bradford (@ Buffalo)
Week 15—Bradford over Ponder (HEAD-TO-HEAD in St. Louis)
Week 16—Bradford (@ Tampa Bay) over Ponder (@ Houston)
Week 17—Ponder (vs. Green Bay) over Bradford (@ Seattle)
Ponder edges Bradford, 9-8
- We're splitting hairs with the matchups from Weeks 3, 4, 5, 7, 15 and 16, which reiterates just how close Ponder (1,853 yards passing, 13 TDs last year) and Bradford (2,164 yards passing, 6 TDs) could be in the August drafts.
- From the above board, I obviously hold the San Francisco and Washington pass defenses in the highest regard. And in the Lions' case, it's just the luck of the weekly draw.
- Ponder exhibited some flashes of real-world and fantasy goodness in his first go-round against NFL defenses. Five consecutive games of at least one touchdown pass (Weeks 11-15). One outing of 395 total yards and three touchdowns (vs. Denver), and not one four-interception clunker on the resume.
Is that enough for Ponder to warrant the No. 26 ranking? Eh, maybe not. But I have faith in Minnesota's Fine Five of Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Toby Gerhart, Jerome Simpson and tight end Kyle Rudolph. I also have late-round faith in receiver Greg Childs, one of the more notable steals from April's draft.
- Bradford might possess top-15 fantasy talent on a team with more stability at receiver, but the Rams are currently stuck in cluster-mode, trying to find separation (or elimination) among their eight wideouts (Danny Amendola, Danario Alexander, Brandon Gibson, Brian Quick, Greg Salas, Austin Pettis, Chris Givens and the other Steve Smith).
Fake betting line: The over/under for Bradford crossing the weekly star threshold of 275 total yards and/or three TDs is 4.5 games.
- On Mock Draft Central, Bradford currently stands as the No. 24 QB or 208th overall pick (members only). Surprisingly, Ponder does not rank among the top 27 quarterbacks, ADP-wise, an omission unbecoming of a high-upside talent with Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson in his huddle.
- Good/bad news for both quarterbacks: Neither one has a distinct advantage for the fantasy-playoff period of Weeks 13-16...although Ponder and Bradford are essentially 50-50 propositions for their head-to-head clash on Dec. 16 (Week 15).
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.