DeMarco Murray, RB,Cowboys
Entering last week Dallas was 27th in rushing and seeking a replacement for the injured Felix Jones. Search over. Murray, a rookie from Oklahoma, set a franchise record by running for 253 yards, joining Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith as the only Boys to eclipse the 200-yard mark. Granted, the Rams stink, allowing a league worst 183.8 rushing yards per game, but Murray showed speed and strength that will serve him well this week against Philly, which also stinks (23rd) against the run.
Christian Ponder, QB,Vikings
To all those Minnesota fans who spent the first six weeks saying, "Ponder couldn't be any worse," well, you were right. The 12th pick out of Florida State threw for 219 yards, two touchdowns and two picks in his first start. Don't rush to grab him yet, but check out his receivers: Visanthe Shiancoe, Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu. A rising tide lifts all ships.
Marion Barber, RB,Bears
While Matt Forte has become a yards-from-scrimmage stud, the burly Barber has carved out a niche as Chicago's goal line specialist. Despite playing only four games and carrying the rock just 23 times, he has scored three touchdowns. The Bears have a bye this week, but they return to face the porous Eagles. Look for Barber to score again in Week 9.
Jake Ballard, TE,Giants
If you're looking for an under-the-radar type to replace a passcatching TE on a bye, go with someone who has already done it. Ballard has stepped in for Kevin Boss and become a threat in his own right, scoring double-digit PPR-league points in his last three games, while averaging 62 yards. For the year, he's corralled 15 of the 17 balls thrown his way.
PAUL CHILDS/ACTION IMAGES/ZUMAPRESS.COM (BARBER)
BEAR ESSENTIALS Barber, a former Cowboy, has found a home as a short-yardage specialist in Chicago, where he's tied for 11th in touchdowns on just 23 carries.