The NFL takes a break from the byes for week 10 so all fantasy rosters will be at full strength. However, be aware that the dreaded byes make their triumphant return for one last time in week 11 when Drew Brees, Big Ben, Matt Schaub and Curtis Painter will be competing in beer pong tournaments while the rest of the league are on the field (my money is on the Steelers QB taking home the pong title).
This week we profile a few signal callers that are likely sitting on your waiver wire and could very well make for solid injury / BYE week replacements.
The trade for Carson Palmer signals that the silver and black are taking a Win Now approach as they paid a hefty price (1st round in 2012 and 2nd round in 2013) to acquire the 31 year old Bengal with questionable arm strength. The loss of Jason Campbell (broken collarbone) was a major blow to their postseason hopes (especially with retread Kyle Boller as a backup). Palmer has been a turnover machine in his first two games tossing 6 INTs in less than six quarters of action. On the plus side, he completed 19-of-35 passes for 332 yards with three touchdowns in the week 9 loss to Denver.
Palmer struggled with arm injuries in 2008/2009 and failed to average more than 200 YPG in either season. In 2010 he had a bit of a bounce back performance averaging 248 YPG with 26 TDs and 20 INTs. With talented cast of youngsters split out wide (Ford, DHB, and Denaryius Moore) - Palmer is primed to be a high end QB2 over the remainder of the 2011 season – provided your league doesn’t penalize heavily for INTs.
Mark Sanchez - (NE, @DEN, BUF, @WAS) - In his first two NFL seasons, the Sanchize has been nothing more than a solid game manager as the Jets are one of the more run focused offenses in the NFL. Sanchez averaged 180 YPG and amassed 29 TDs and 33 INTs in 2009/2010. In his 3rd NFL season, the former Trojan is averaging 221 YPG with 13 TDs and 7 INTs through eight games. With Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Dustin Keller and LT at his disposal - Sanchez should continue to post QB2 numbers especially with a very favorable schedule over the next few weeks. This Sunday night, the Jets welcome New England and their league worst pass defense (314 YPG). In week 11, the Jets face Denver’s 23rd rank pass defense (258 YPG).
San Bradford - (@CLE, SEA, ARZ, @SF) – In week 9, Bradford returned from a high ankle sprain that kept him out 2 weeks and completed 23-of-36 passes for 255 yards and an interception against a very weak Arizona pass defense.
Through six games he’s averaging a respectable 238 YPG but only has three TDs. The recent addition of WR Brandon Lloyd and potential return of Mark Clayton could bring Bradford back to fantasy relevance before the end of the 2011 season.
We talked up Sam Bradford in the preseason based on the Josh McDaniels effect but a difficult first month schedule (BAL, PHI, NYG, WAS) and anemic WR corps likely catapulted last year’s #1 pick onto a few waiver wires in 10-12 team leagues. We still expect Bradford to be a solid BYE week fill in as he gets a better feel for the McDaniel’s system and the schedule softens with numerous matchups against NFC West opponents (ARI, SEA) on the horizon.
Matt Moore – (WAS, BUF, @DAL, OAK) – Over four starts this season, the 27 year old Oregon St Beaver alum is averaging 203 YPG with 4 TDs and 3 INTs. After three abysmal performances, Moore rebounded in week 9 (@ KC) and led the Dolphins to their first win (potentially cost them a chance at Andrew Luck). Moore completed 17-of-23 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns against KC in a 31-3 blowout victory.
In 3 seasons in Carolina, Moore failed to average more than 140 YPG and compiled a pedestrian TD:INT ratio (16:17). With Brandon Marshall , Davone Bess, and Reggie Bush at his disposal – Moore could be a decent desperation play when the matchup is favorable but his track record has us less than enthused. For those looking for a week 11 bye week filler, Moore has a plus matchup against Buffalo’s 25th ranked pass defense (260 YPG).
As a starter, Ponder is averaging 227 YPG with three TDs and two INTs. The 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft could very well prove to be the QB of the future for a team that has relied on the veteran retread philosophy since the Culpepper era ended in 2005 (Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Gus Frerotte and good ol Penis Pics Favre to name a few). We profiled Ponder’s fantasy prospects in detail previously and based on his mobility and accuracy he could make for a decent BYE week option with some favorable matchups on the horizon. Like all rookies he’ll have his growing pains and the Viking WRs corps (Harvin, Jenkins, Aromashadu) won’t strike fear in opposing defense so temper your expectations. As the Vikings look to get AP more involved in the passing game (led team with 5 catches for 76 yards in week 8) - Ponder’s stats are destined to improve. Minnesota is on Bye in week 9 but those looking for a Bye week filler for Drew Brees or Big Ben in week 11 could do worse than the Vikings signal caller who will face Oakland’s 25th ranked pass defense (266 YPG). Ponder also has a favorable matchup this week on Monday night against Green Bay’s 31st ranked pass defense (300 YPG).
John Skelton - (@PHI, @SF, @STL, DAL) – Kevin Kolb (turf toe) is likely to sit out his return trip to Philly this weekend and the Eagles proved on Monday night that their high priced secondary is not exactly earning their money. In week 9, Skelton completed 20-of-35 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown and led the team in rushing with 38 yards (thanks to Beanie looking like a cripple). The 2010 5th round pick from Fordham appeared in five games in his rookie season and averaged a less than impressive 132 YPG with only 2 TDs and 2 INTs. He represents a last ditch option for those in deep leagues against Philly’s 9th ranked pass defense (211 YPG). The Eagles have yielded 14 passing TDs giving Skelton moderate appeal for those in very deep leagues.