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The fantasy football season is nearing the halfway mark and here are my moves you should make in the second half to help make a run to the championship.
Players to Buy
Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks struggled to find an identity early in the year after Doug Baldwin went down with a knee injury, going 0-2 to start the season. The following three games they relied heavily on the running game with three straight 100 yard rushers while Wilson failed to reach 200 yards in each game. The Seahawks now find themselves coming out of the bye with a healthy Doug Baldwin, after receiving 8 targets and 91 yards in week 6, and a Detroit Lions team whose defense has the third worst touchdown rate in the NFL. They follow that up with 5 games against teams in the bottom half of the NFL in passing yards against, including back-to-back mouth-watering matchups against the 49ers and Chiefs in weeks 15 and 16. Russell Wilson is known for having a strong second half and now has his go-to receiver Doug Baldwin back in the fold. Both players are buy-low candidates.
As we near the midway point in the season Joe Flacco finds himself 5th in the NFL in passing yards and is on pace to set a career high in yards and TD’s while playing against a relatively tough first-half fantasy schedule, yet he finds himself owned in less than 40% of ESPN and Yahoo leagues. Flacco now goes into the second half of the year with the easiest remaining schedule of any fantasy QB, facing Oakland, Atlanta, Kansas City and Tampa Bay in four straight weeks. If you’re in a deeper league or are desperate for a QB I highly recommend you ride the matchup wave to help you get to the championship round.
Keenan Allen had a breakout game to start the season, catching 8 targets for 108 yards and a TD, but in the six weeks since he has failed to do either, scoring less than 20 fantasy points each and every week. That’s not what you hope for when paying a second round pick for a player, but this is actually very similar to how Allen started last year. In 2017 he had two 100 yard games and 1 TD through the first 10 weeks of the season. He followed that up with three straight 10+ catch games and broke the century mark five times while reeling in five TD’s. He now finds himself on a bye in week 8 and you may be able to get him at a discounted price from a disgruntled owner desperate to get wins now.
After missing the first three games of the season due to a shoulder injury, Alshon Jeffery has come out of the gates running scoring 20+ fantasy points in 3 of the last 4 games (PPR Leagues) and now has a TD in 15 of his last 22 games. Now in week 8, Jeffery will have to fly to London to play the Jaguars who give up the least amount of fantasy points to WR’s. He then has a bye in week 9 and then plays against Dallas who gives up the 2nd least fantasy points to WR’s. The thing with fantasy football is that most managers tend to ask “what have you done for me lately?” and that’s when you want to jump on a trade because after that tough three week stretch his schedule gets much easier, seeing the likes of New Orleans, New York and Washington and by then you might be able to get him at a discount.
With reports surfacing that Demaryius Thomas may be traded before the deadline now is when you want to jump on a trade for Courtland Sutton. He currently has a TD in 2 of his last 3 games and will be a major red zone threat and have immediate WR2/WR3 value if Thomas gets moved. Denver currently has the 8th easiest remaining WR schedule the rest of the way and has games @SF, vs CLE and @OAK during the fantasy playoffs. The best way to have success in fantasy is to be proactive and you can probably get him for a WR5 price tag right now.
Marshawn Lynch was recently placed on the IR this week and it was announced that Doug Martin will be placed in the starting role but Jalen Richard is the RB to own. Martin has averaged 2.9 YPC the last two seasons and has been ineffective this year when given the opportunity. Meanwhile, Richard has scored 10 or more fantasy points in 4 of the first 6 games and already has 31 catches on the year. Now with Amari Cooper in Dallas and Lynch out with an injury expect Richard’s usage rate to skyrocket. With Oakland expected to be down in a lot of games and the Raiders having the 5th easiest remaining RB schedule, I see Richard being an immediate RB2 and putting up very similar numbers to Duke Johnson last year when he finished as RB11 in PPR formats.
Currently a Top 15 RB in PPR leagues, Tarik Cohen has been mostly flying under the radar. After scoring less than 10 fantasy points the first two weeks of the season, Cohen has since touched the ball 54 times for 446 scrimmage yards while compiling 20+ fantasy points in three straight games. Howard, meanwhile, has been a TD dependent bust for fantasy owners. In the second half of the season, the Bears are slated to play 5 teams in the top 10 in passing yards and 6 teams in the top half of the NFL in sacks, which will lead to Trubisky continuing to throw 35 times a game and will force him to check down consistently with pressure in his face. With that being said, Cohen’s snaps should continue to rise with his 7.6 yards per touch and success in the passing game.
Player to Sell
Matthew Stafford had a fantasy killing week in week 1, throwing 4 INT, but has since scored a consistent 15+ fantasy points every week and has the Lions sitting at 3-3. With that being said, the Lions have an absolutely brutal schedule the rest of the way with matchups vs SEA, @MIN, @CHI, vs CAR, vs CHI, vs LAR the next 6 straight weeks. If Stafford is your starting QB I would look to trade him now or see if someone like Joe Flacco is available in free agency for your second half run. I would also look to sell Golden Tate now while his price tag is high.
Mitchell Trubisky has been extremely inconsistent in getting his WR’s the ball this season leading to an underwhelming start for Robinson, who has seen 7 or fewer targets in 4 of his first 5 games, and it hasn’t gotten any better for A-Rob, who has now aggravated his groin injury. Even if he doesn’t miss time, the Bears have the 4th toughest WR schedule the second half of the year and no matter how good a WR is, he’s only as good as his QB. Try to sell now while his name still has some value.
D Jax came out of the gate running to start the season, compiling 424 yards and 3 TD’s his first 4 games before Fitzpatrick was pulled from the starting QB job. Since then, with Jameis at the helm, Jackson’s numbers have been on the decline, failing to reach 100 yards the last two weeks and whose fantasy day was salvaged in week 7 by a rushing TD. Desean has expressed his displeasure with Winston’s inability to get him the ball deep and as long as Winston is the starter I see this trend continuing.
Touted by some as the poor mans LeVeon Bell for his patience behind the line, Joe Mixon has been anything but so far in his career. In 20 career games, Joe Mixon has one 100 yard game and a career 3.8 YPC. With Giovanni Bernard likely out week 8 against Tampa Bay I actually expect Mixon to have his best game of the season and this is also where I’d sell high going into their week 9 bye. From week 10 on the Bengals face a bottom 10 SOS against RB’s and once Bernard comes back will eat into Mixon’s passing down snaps. Sell for a top end RB2 after week 8.
AP has been a fairly productive fantasy asset so far this season compiling 4 games over 95 yards and 3 TDs and has benefited from Thompson being out with an injury. But as expected with any 33-year-old back the numbers are sure to slow down. In Peterson’s last 3 games last season he ran 55 times for a combined 134 yards. Thompson is getting close to returning and may be back as soon as week 8 and once he does he will eat into Peterson’s playing time. With games coming against Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Houston, Philadelphia and Dallas in the second half Washington should be in plenty of passing down situations which means Peterson will see more of the sideline.
Photo Credit: USA Today