Dose: McGloin Gets Nod Again

Nick Mensio
Nick Mensio checks in on Matt McGloin, Christian Ponder, Darren Sproles, Wes Welker and plenty of others in Thursday's Dose

Terrelle Pryor was forced from Oakland’s Week 9 loss to the Eagles with a knee injury. It was initially characterized as a minor issue. He made the start against the Giants in Week 10 but definitely looked gimpy in the process. After that loss, Pryor admitted he was dealing with a sprained MCL. He was ruled out for Week 11 against the Texans. Enter undrafted rookie Matt McGloin.

McGloin was a walk-on at Penn State who ended up starting three years for the Nittany Lions. He stands an unimposing 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds. McGloin also didn’t show a big arm in college. However, he’s a smart guy who stays composed under pressure. On Sunday against Houston, McGloin opened eyes with arm strength most didn’t know he had in him, making numerous “NFL throws.” He managed the game well and didn’t turn the ball over, leading the Raiders to a victory.

On Wednesday, Pryor returned to practice but McGloin took the first-team reps while Pryor worked with the backups. After practice, coach Dennis Allen announced that McGloin will make another start this week against the Titans at home. Allen says McGloin “earned” another start, though he wouldn’t commit to him past Week 12. “This is a production business,” Allen continued.

McGloin tossed three touchdowns against the Texans last week. We wouldn’t expect him to go out and have quite the same level of success now that NFL coaching staffs have gotten some tape on him. The Titans bring to town a quality pass defense, anchored by corners Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty of the outside. McGloin will be a back-end QB2 at best and is really only an option in deeper two-quarterback fantasy leagues. As for the guys around him, Rod Streater was McGloin’s favorite target last week. Streater saw a team-high eight targets and turned them into six catches for 84 yards and one touchdown. He suits McGloin’s playing style well, but is still nothing more than a WR4.

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News Nugget #2

Christian Ponder has started the past four games for the Vikings. It’s been a mixed bag of results, which is what we’ve grown accustomed to expect from the third-year quarterback. He played extremely well against the Redskins on Thursday Night Football in Week 10, completing 81 percent of his passes and tossing two touchdowns. Last week in Seattle, though, Ponder was a mess. He completed just 4-of-9 passes for 15 yards and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, in the second half and was benched in favor of Matt Cassel. Most figured Josh Freeman would get the nod next.

Coach Leslie Frazier announced Wednesday that Ponder gives the team the best chance to win and will be back under center for Sunday’s game against the Packers. Why in the world the Vikings are paying Freeman $3 million to wear sweatshirts on the sideline every weekend, we’ll never know. Ponder started the Week 8 matchup against Green Bay and threw for just 145 yards. He’s on his last leg in Minnesota, and so is the coaching staff. Ponder won’t even be on the QB2 radar against a defense that is severely banged up in the defensive backfield.

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News Nugget #3

Darren Sproles (ankle, knee) was limited in Monday’s practice for the Saints before sitting out altogether on Tuesday and Wednesday. The ankle is the main issue. He’s listed as questionable for Thursday night’s game against the Falcons. Beat writers don’t have much of a clue as to what Sproles’ status will be. The Saints could either decide to hold him out on a short week, or they gave him the past two days off simply because it was a short week. Fantasy owners need to pay attention to the inactives list.

After not practicing at all Monday and Tuesday, Tony Gonzalez (toe) got in a limited session Wednesday and is listed as questionable for Thursday night’s tilt with the Saints. All indications are that Gonzalez is going to play. He’s safe to plug in lineups as a mid-range TE1.

Adrian Peterson admitted following last Sunday’s loss to the Vikings that his groin was “bothering” him “a lot.” All Day didn’t practice Wednesday, though he did say he’s feeling much better and anticipates playing this week against the Packers. Ride Peterson as a top-five RB1.

Julius Thomas (knee) did not practice Wednesday, and neither did his teammate Wes Welker (concussion). Thomas has been called “day-to-day” with a knee sprain. The Broncos have yet to provide any further updates. Welker is expected to do all that he can to play against his former Patriots teammates on Sunday night. We’d expect fantasy’s No. 10 overall receiver to be out there. Fantasy owners need to keep tabs on these two as the week progresses.

Dennis Pitta (hip, short-term I.R.) resumed practicing Wednesday for the first time since he underwent July surgery. The Ravens have three weeks to make a decision on whether to activate Pitta to the 53-man roster. It’d be quite a shock if he played ahead of Week 14. Pitta is a decent stash for fantasy owners looking for a low-risk, high-upside tight end for the fantasy playoffs. There’s no guarantee that the impending free agent will play in a game this season.

Quarterback/Running Back Slants

Peyton Manning (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, as expected. He’ll be fine for Sunday. … Ben Tate (ribs, toe, ankle) was limited Wednesday. He’s in no danger of missing Week 12. … Darren McFadden (hamstring) remained sidelined Wednesday but is getting closer to a return. … Joique Bell (Achilles’) did not practice Wednesday.

Wide Receiver/Tight End Slants

The Sacramento Bee guesses Michael Crabtree (Achilles’) could make his season debut in Week 13, playing a dozen snaps or so. … Dez Bryant (back) and Miles Austin (hamstring) are both practicing in full this week. … Emmanuel Sanders (foot) is practicing in full. … Danny Amendola (groin) was limited Wednesday after being full last week. He’s fine. … Leonard Hankerson needs LCL surgery and is done for the season. … Calvin Johnson took his normal day off Wednesday. … Vincent Brown (shoulder) was limited on Wednesday. He’s a WR5 at best. Keenan Allen (knee) practiced. … Marlon Brown (knee) is practicing in full. … Nate Burleson practiced with the first-team offense Wednesday. … Mike Brown (shoulder) did not practice. Cecil Shorts (groin) was limited. … Greg Jennings (Achilles’) did not practice. … Denarius Moore (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday and will likely have to deal with soreness the rest of the season. … Hakeem Nicks (groin) did not practice, though it’s not expected to be serious. … Brandon Pettigrew tweaked his knee last Sunday and was limited on Wednesday. … Jimmy Graham (foot, elbow) is listed as probable for Thursday night. … Jordan Reed (concussion) did not practice Wednesday. Fred Davis expects to be active for Monday Night Football.