We are at the midway point for the fantasy season and your focus should be on the playoff push from now until the end of the season. As I mentioned last week, it is time to start loading up your team for the upcoming bye weeks and playoff run. If you can stash a player like Josh Gordon or perhaps a player that has been injured such as Ryan Mathews, you should look to see if you have space on your bench for such players. Think about a few years back when Vincent Jackson was suspended and traded. Or how about when Randall Cobb came off missing 10 games to post top-10 fantasy stats.
These are some moves to consider when looking down the road. Week 7 was by far the craziest week this season. I am sure many of you have lost a game or two because of backup players scoring all the points. I lost one game by 2 points because Alfred Blue vultured the touchdown. I would have been 6-1 in that league. Stepfan Taylor took not 1, but 2, touchdowns away from Andre Ellington. From Gavin Escobar to Cooper Helfet the list was pretty long this week of players not in your lineup scoring points.
The Golden Mug Award - Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Russell Wilson- 313 passing yards 2 touchdowns, 7 carries for 106 yards and 1 touchdown. Wilson now has 3 riding touchdowns in 3 consecutive games while rushing for over 100 yards in 2 of the 3. Rushing yards can be unpredictable but he is averaging 54 rushing yards per game. The next 3 games against the Panthers, Raiders and Giants should provide a ton of rushing stats for Wilson along with racking up nice passing yards.
Demaryius Thomas- 8 receptions for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns. That makes 521 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns in the last 3 games. Thomas had just 141 yards and 1 score before the bye week but has dominated since.
Sammy Watkins- 9 receptions for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. After just 27 yards last week, Watkins exploded in this game which included the game winner. He has a tough matchup this week before the bye.
The Urinal Cake Award - Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
Alshon Jeffery- 2 receptions for 9 yards. Jeffery had a big game last week with 136 yards receiving but couldn't duplicate that effort this week.
Jordan Cameron- 1 reception for 5 yards. He was coming off a 100-yard game and facing the Jaguars but only had 1 catch on 6 targets. It is hard to know if you can trust Cameron on a week-to-week basis.
Justin Hunter- 1 reception for 6 yards. After two decent games, we expected Hunter to breakout but that never happened. Another change at quarterback this week might not help.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Carson Palmer against the Eagles. Since returning to the lineup, Palmer is averaging 17.5 fantasy points by averaging 251 yards passing and 2 touchdowns in each game. He faces the Eagles who are coming off a bye week but are still allowing the 4th most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 19 per game. The Eagles are 23rd in the NFL allowing 256.5 passing yards per game with 13 touchdowns given up. I expect this to be a high scoring game so put Palmer down for 20+ fantasy points.
Brian Hoyer against the Raiders. Last week was an ugly game for a team facing the winless Jaguars. Maybe the Jaguars were due. This week, Hoyer faces another winless team in which he has to win or will face Johnny Football time for the rest of the season. The Raiders are giving up 16.3 fantasy points to quarterbacks, but are playing on the road where they were 1-7 last year and 0-2 this season. Hoyer has to put up good numbers or he'll be joining Kirk Cousins on the waiver wire next week.
QB Sleeper Pick of the Week:
Kyle Orton against the Jets. Orton doesn't excite the average Fantasy owner until you look at the numbers. He's averaging 19 fantasy points per game since taking over as the starter and will be facing the Jets who have given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 20.9 points per game. If you’re in a QB bind, Orton is a player you should think about using.
Good running back matchups this week:
Jamaal Charles against the Rams. Charles is getting his groove this season after a slow start averaging 22.7 over his last 3 games. He faces a Rams team allowing 145 rushing yards per game with 5 touchdowns. We could see a ton of Charles in this game. - definite fantasy football start.
Andre Ellington against the Eagles. Despite Stepfan Taylor stealing two touchdowns from Ellington, he still posted 24 carries for 88 rushing yards with 6 receptions for 72 receiving yards. He's getting the bulk of the work and that is what you can count on. Ellington is a very strong flex option but can be used as a RB2 this week. The Eagles are 23rd in the NFL allowing 124.3 rushing yards per game but only 2 touchdowns. They are giving up 17.8 fantasy points per game to running backs.
RB Sleeper Pick of the Week:
Jerick McKinnon against the Buccaneers. McKinnon has now assumed the starting role in Minnesota. He posted his second 100-yard game of the season and has a chance to have another big game this week. He will face a Buccaneers team allowing 128.3 rushing yards per game with 7 touchdowns. They are allowing the 5th most fantasy points to running backs with 20.8 per game.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Matt Ryan against the Lions. How bad has Ryan been the last 3 weeks? How about the same fantasy points as Kirk Cousins and Jake Locker has during the same period. The Falcons will be traveling to London and starting at 9:30am EST. Make sure to adjust your lineups early. He will be facing the Lions who are holding fantasy quarterbacks to just 11 fantasy points per game, the best in the league. They are also tied for the least amount of touchdowns given up to opposing quarterbacks with only 7.
Ben Roethlisberger against the Colts. Roethlisberger struggled for most of the first half against the Texans and then the offense scored thanks to some key turnovers by the defense. He is only averaging 16 fantasy points over the past 3 games. He faces a Colts team ranked 5 in the league allowing 214.4 passing yards per game with 8 touchdowns allowed. The Colts are 2nd best defending quarterbacks in fantasy allowing 12.6 points per game.
Drew Brees against the Packers. People are expecting this game to be high scoring, but I don't think the Saints are that good of a team. Even playing at home, I'm skeptic of Brees this week. Over the past 4 weeks including a bye, Brees is 16th among quarterbacks. He's facing a Packers team that is allowing just 14.3 fantasy points per game.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Giovani Bernard against the Ravens. Bernard is limited this week with a rib injury but it shouldn't keep him out of this game. The Bengals had two horrible games over the last 3 weeks including last week where he rushed for just 17 yards on 7 carries. He will face a Ravens defense allowing just 87.3 rushing yards per game and only 3 touchdowns. The Ravens are tied with the Bills for the least amount of fantasy points to running backs with 9.8 per game.
Alfred Morris against the Cowboys. Colt McCoy will be starting this game so I expect the Cowboys to stack the box and force him to throw. That will limit Morris who is averaging just 7 fantasy points per game over the past 3 weeks without a touchdown. The Cowboys defense is allowing 113.4 rushing yards per game (16th) with 4 touchdowns allowed. They are giving up 13.1 fantasy points per game to running backs.
Denard Robinson against the Dolphins. One of the top waiver pickups this week, Robinson will find it hard to duplicate his performance from last week when he ran for 127 yards and a touchdown. I think it was a fluke and we will see him struggle in this contest giving way to Storm Johnson later in the game. Miami is 10th in the league allowing 100.3 rushing yards per game with 4 touchdowns given up. They are giving up 18.3 fantasy points per game to running backs but I don't see that happening this week.
Stay tuned to ASL for the most complete fantasy sit start advice!