We’ve reached the midway point of the NFL season, but the fantasy season has 5 to 6 games left before the playoffs. Now is the time to make the moves you need to get a playoff spot or improve the depth of your roster. Chances are at this point in the season everyone is looking to make some type of roster moves. There are other owners in your league looking to get into the playoffs just like you, so start with teams that don’t play directly in your division unless they are out of the running. I look to trade with these owners first because you can find teams that are looking to make changes that could help them secure a spot. Try to put together good trades that will help fill both owners’ needs.
The next group which can help facilitate big trades are the teams that might be out of contention. They usually have a player or two that can help you excel. Don’t get greedy and low-ball these owners. There is nothing worse in leagues then when you have a lopsided trade where a playoff team will get an Adrian Peterson for Joique Bell. It’s not a fair trade and no one likes to play in a league where shady trades go on.
Instead, try to offer trades that could help that player win some games. You may benefit from that as they might face a team you need to lose later in the season and win that game that would help your position. Avoid trading with teams that are too thin at a position to trade for. If an owner has one viable running back, chances are he isn’t going to trade him to you for a receiver.
Some of the players you should be looking to trade for are those with favorable upcoming schedules, teams that are starting to play well or players on teams that need to be competitive down the stretch.
5 Payers to Consider Trading For
Abdullah hasn’t been a fantasy factor much this season and the Lions have ran the ball poorly. Eventually, they will be far enough out of contention that they will use the rookie more to get experience. Joique Bell is injured and Theo Riddick is a 3rd-down back which will allow Abdullah to get more of the touches moving forward. The Lions also faced tough defenses to start the season but during the fantasy playoffs they will have the 5th easiest run strength of schedule. You can get him in a package deal with another player you want.
Jeremy Hill – Hill has been out-performed by Giovani Bernard this year but if you remember last season, Hill came on after Week 8 with 5 100+ yard games and 6 of his 9 rushing touchdowns. The Bengals will be looking to grind out games later in the year if they are in a position to secure a good seed as the weather gets colder in Cincinnati.
Matt Jones – The Redskins are not out of it yet in the NFC East and Jones is the future back for this team. I can see Jones playing more and getting a ton of carries down the stretch. Again this is a player that could be on your waiver wire or sitting on someone’s bench that you could acquire in a package deal.
Tony Romo – News of Dez Bryant‘s return to practice has overshadowed the news that Romo will be looking to practice as soon as next week. He might not play until Week 11, but if you are struggling at quarterback and have a good chance to make the playoffs, then there is a chance you can trade and stash Romo until you need him later in the season.
Alshon Jeffery – After missing 4 games with an injury, Jeffery returned and showed that he is still a top wide receiver in this league. With a bye last week, Jeffery’s owner has now had 5 weeks without Jeffery in the lineup. Try to trade for him, as his price is lower than that of a DeAndre Hopkins but he has just as much upside. Keep an eye on trade rumors that involve Jeffery changing teams before the trade deadline.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Lamar Miller– 14 carries for 175 Yards and 1 touchdown, 3 receptions for 61 yards and 1 touchdown. Miller’s production has taken off since Dan Campbell took over as the coach. In back-to-back games he has rushed for 110+ yards and a touchdown. He had failed to score in the first 4 games of the season. Miller has some tough rush defenses to face in the next couple of weeks as the Bills, Jets and Cowboys all rank in the top 10.
Todd Gurley– 19 carries for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns, 4 receptions for 35 yards. Heading into last week’s game, Gurley had back-to-back games of 146 rushing yards or more. He had yet to score and we anticipated that he would in Week 7 which he did twice. The schedule looks good for the rest of the season for him to continue to rack up a ton of yards.
Nate Washington– 9 receptions for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns. Washington returned to the lineup and posted his best numbers since Week 1. His two touchdowns matched his total from all of last season. Now that Ryan Mallett is off the team, Brian Hoyer is safe as the starter which should work well for Washington going forward provided he can stay healthy.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
Christine Michael– 5 carries for 18 yards. Hopefully you didn’t buy into the hype of Michael taking over as the starter. He has been a fantasy tease since entering the league in 2013. The way Darren McFadden ran last week should drop Michael back to the waiver wire.
Jordan Matthews– 3 receptions for 14 yards. Matthews remains one of the most frustrating recovers in fantasy as he has now gone 5 games without a score and is averaging just 8.6 fantasy points despite seeing 7+ targets in each of those games.
Larry Fitzgerald– 3 receptions for 39 yards. Fitzgerald was bound to have a poor outing at some point after averaging 22 fantasy points per game. However, we didn’t expect it this week playing on Monday night against a 28th-ranked Ravens pass defense.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Philip Rivers against the Ravens. Rivers is throwing the ball a ton. He is on pace for 5,606 passing yards which would pass Peyton Mannings’ record of 5,477 set back in 2013. This week, he gets to face the Ravens who are 28th in the league allowing 283 passing yards and have given up 13 passing touchdowns. Ladarius Green will become one of the top tight ends of the week if Antonio Gates misses this game which looks likely.
Brian Hoyer against the Titans. The Texans lost Arian Foster (again) for the season to an Achilles tear. They will have to throw the ball even more than they have this season as the running game will be non-exsistant. The Texans could find themselves tied for first if they can win this week and the Colts lose to the Panthers. They face the Titans who have been good at limiting passing yards with just 195.2 yards per game with 10 touchdowns.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Jameis Winston against the Falcons. This will be Winston’s 3rd divisional game this season and while he hasn’t lit the world on fire, he hasn’t scored less than 15 fantasy points in any game this season. I expect this game to be a shootout and we can expect some good fantasy production. He faces the Falcons who are 25th in the league allowing 274.7 passing yards per game with 8 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. With only 8 sacks on the season, the Falcons don’t have a threatening pass rush to force Winston to rush throws.
Good running back matchups this week:
Chris Johnson against the Browns. Johnson has revived his career and now that Andre Ellington is in the dog house, Johnson can carry a bigger load. Last week, Johnson ran for 122 yards which is his 3rd 100+ yard game of the season. He can make it back-to-back games this week against an atrocious Browns run defense that has given up 139 yards or more in 5 games this season. They are ranked 32nd in the NFL allowing 151 yards per game with 8 touchdowns.
Justin Forsett against the Chargers. I am hoping the Ravens can avoid falling behind early so that the run game isn’t limited, but Forsett is in a great spot this week against a Charges team allowing the most fantasy points to running backs with 23.6 per game. They are 31st in the NFL allowing 132.1 rushing yards per game with 7 touchdowns.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Jonathan Stewart against the Colts. Stewart often goes overlooked in fantasy leagues because the numerous injuries he’s had throughout his career. This season he has made it through every game, and has done well the last two games. The only issue is that his goal line carries are vultured by Mike Tolbert or Cam Newton. Still the Panthers are the best rushing team in the league with 144.7 rushing yards a game. They face the Colts who are 23rd in the NFL against the run allowing 122.7 rushing yards per game with 8 touchdowns. Stewart will have 100+ rushing yards on Monday night and will get into the end zone.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Matt Cassel against the Seahawks. Cassel in his Cowboys’ debut didn’t preform well against the Giants 30th ranked defense and will now face the Seahawks at home who are 3rd in the NFL allowing 200 passing yards per game with just 6 touchdowns.
Aaron Rodgers against the Broncos. This is going to be one of the top games of the week as both teams are undefeated and will feature Rodgers vs Peyton Manning. In Rodgers’ prior three games he has averaged just 18.6 fantasy points per game and has been good but not great. This week, he faces the Broncos who are the top-ranked pass defense allowing 192.2 passing yards and only 5 touchdowns with 9 interceptions. More importantly, they have 26 sacks on the season.
Derek Carr against the Jets. Carr has played well in 4-of-the-5 games he’s played this season not counting the first game of the season when he left with an injury. Last week, he threw 3 touchdowns against the Chargers. This week, he will face the Jets who were torched by Tom Brady but will look to bounce back this week. The Jets are 4th in the NFL allowing 211.7 passing yards per game with 8 touchdowns.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Carlos Hyde against the Rams. Hyde is banged up and miss practice but is still expected to play. If he is ruled out, Reggie Bush will take over but it won’t make a difference as the 49ers have done next to nothing on the ground and face a tough Rams defense. The Rams have been stingy on defense with only 3 rushing touchdowns allowed and none in the last 3 games.
Eddie Lacy against the Broncos. Lacy has been dreadful this season as he has just 260 rushing yards and has scored just 1 touchdown way back in Week 1. What makes it worse is that he’s not a factor in the passing game as he has just 9 grabs on the season. Chances are you’re stuck with Lacy and can’t trade him or drop him on the waiver because you feel he can still turn it around. Well, wait until Week 10 when they face the Lions. The Broncos are 4th in the NFL with 89.2 rushing yards per game with 4 touchdowns given up.
Chris Ivory against the Raiders. Ivory has been a productive running back this season but last week proved that he is not the same runner if he is injured. He might be a game-time decision this week and faces a tough Raiders’ run defense allowing just 84.3 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. They haven’t allowed a score in their last 4 games.