“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers.
I stole this quote from a motivational poster that was proudly displayed in my elementary school. I honestly never thought I’d think of it again. It also never really made much practical sense to me – why wouldn’t you continue doing what works? In essence, why fix what’s not broken?
Applying that (questionable) third grade wisdom to fantasy football, it actually kind of works. In many ways, complacency can absolutely work against you – we should be relentless in our approach of finding an edge on the competition.
As we approach the halfway mark, we’re heading into prime trading season. The playoff picture starts to take shape – some of you are a mere couple wins away from securing a playoff spot, and some of you have work to do. Plus, as the season progresses, we are able to draw conclusions from a bigger sample size.
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Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: Yup, Allen is still here in the “buy” section as he still hasn’t scored since Week 1, but he’s maintained a decent floor. He’s “lost” three possessions over the past two weeks to long Tyrell Williams touchdowns. Those long touchdowns have also influenced more run-heavy game scripts, as Philip Rivers has only attempted 46 passes total the past two weeks. Allen also threw a sideline hissy fit in Week 7 after Rivers looked away from him in the end zone just before he got open. The squeaky-wheel narrative usually hits more than it misses. Plus the Chargers are on bye this week, which is my favorite time to try to trade for players.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings: Another holdover from last week, Diggs saw a whopping 14 targets in Week 7 - that’s the good news. The bad news is that he caught eight for only 33 yards. It seemed like he spent a lot of time in Jets CB Morris Claiborne’s coverage, who was ranked 14th out of 109 CB’s entering Week 7, according to Pro Football Focus. With the Jets’ injuries to Trumaine Johnson and Buster Skrine, Adam Thielen predictably ate up the backup corners. With rockstar Thielen breaking records and with two quiet weeks in a row for Diggs, he should be relatively attainable.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions: “Babytron” and the rest of the Lions’ trio of receivers had a quiet Week 7 against an underrated Miami secondary. They gained an early lead against the Brock Osweiler-led Dolphins and kept it on the back of Kerryon Johnson. In addition, TE Michael Roberts vultured the two receiving scores from the trio of receivers – it happens. Golladay interests me the most, as a young second-year player with room for growth. Owners of Golladay might wonder if the Detroit receiving corps is too crowded for consistency. If you take away the names, however, and just look at the weekly stats, Golladay and Golden Tate would look like the two productive receivers, while Marvin Jones’ stat lines look like that of a solid 2018 tight end – having not yet reached 70 yards receiving, but his fantasy relevance is being kept afloat by a few touchdowns. Even though the rest-of-season schedule is slightly difficult, I like Golladay as a “buy” for the chance of a second-half breakout.
Tre’Quan Smith, WR, Saints: Smith is currently only owned in 17% of Yahoo! leagues, so maybe I’m stealing some of Ray Summerlin’s thunder, but I couldn’t resist. With Ted Ginn on IR, Smith is locked in opposite Michael Thomas and should see a lot of single coverage, while Cameron Meredith wasn’t even targeted this week against the Ravens. Smith only caught 3-of-6 targets for 44 yards, but he just missed on a one-handed end zone catch, and going up against the Ravens in Baltimore is about as hard as it gets. Upon Mark Ingram’s return, the Saints have gone with a run-heavy attack - Brees has averaged only 30 attempts over the past two weeks, but more up-tempo matchups are on the horizon in the Vikings and Rams. The third round rookie and preseason darling has sky-high potential in a lethal Saints offense, which he showed before their Week 6 bye against the Redskins, going 3-111 and two touchdowns.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns: It’s a simple theory: if you like all the offensive weapons, you have to also like who’s at the helm (notable exception to this theory: Andy Dalton). The past two weeks, I’ve highlighted how David Njoku and Jarvis Landry were primed to take advantage of a cupcake upcoming schedule - let’s keep the train rolling with Mayfield. The next three opponents are the Steelers, Chiefs and Falcons. Of course, it’s a bit concerning that Hue Jackson is planning on getting more involved in Cleveland’s offensive play calling (pleasedeargodno), but that schedule alone should lock Mayfield in as a three-week streamer.
Lamar Miller, RB, Texans: This is the week we’ve been waiting for – the Texans got an early lead over the collapsing Jaguars and rode Miller to 22 carries for an even 100 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers, especially against a defense with the notoriety of the Jaguars, will look very nice when your trade partner checks his recent stats. However, the Texans will more than likely be in much closer games moving forward, so we can expect them to go back to their pass-happy ways and feeding DeAndre Hopkins. Having caught only 11 passes in six games played so far (with five of those coming in one game), Miller’s weekly floor is too low. His matchups the next two weeks aren’t particularly concerning (Dolphins and Broncos), but based on his production prior to Week 7, I wouldn’t wait. Instead, use those matchups as a selling point.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts: Let's give credit where it’s due. Mack had a very nice fantasy week on paper in Week 7, going for 159 total yards and two touchdowns. But before we label him as the next up-and-coming young RB, let’s keep in mind that he beat up on a woeful Bills team - the Colts were touchdown home favorites over a Derek Anderson-led Bills team that then lost their lone offensive weapon (LeSean McCoy) to injury on their first drive of the game. With positive game script and no threat of the Bills mounting a successful comeback, Andrew Luck only attempted 23 passes in the easy win. Prior to Week 7, Luck was averaging 48 pass attempts, as the Colts’ are usually in a position of playing keep-up while opposing offenses continually rack up points on their defense. Nyheim Hines should take a larger portion of the backfield snaps when the Colts are playing from behind. Just last week, Mack let a pass clank off his hands that was pick 6’d by the Jets, however, he did redeem himself with a receiving touchdown in Week 7. Mack might just be another tough-to-trust running back with weekly inconsistency. The matchup is nice next week against a struggling Raiders team, but the Colts go on bye in Week 9, so he may be hard to trade if he puts up a dud this week. After the bye, he gets the Jaguars and Titans – while there could be a chance of positive game script in those games, both teams have been decently stout in run defense.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: This “sell” is about the Steelers’ schedule – vs. Browns, @Ravens, vs. Panthers, @Jaguars, @Broncos, vs. Chargers. I don’t mind the home game next week against the Browns, but it might be hard to sell Big Ben ahead of a game at Baltimore. Throughout his career, Roethlisberger has had reduced production in road games, and three out of the next five games are on the road against good defenses. Plus, the home games against the Browns, Panthers and Chargers aren’t what we would call easy matchups. With his surplus of receiving weapons and a weak defense, Roethlisberger should still have good production, it’s just logical to expect a slight dip for the second half of the fantasy regular season. It’s worth noting, however, that he has an appetizing playoff schedule – @Raiders, vs. Patriots, @Saints – so you can hold on if you think you’re most likely playoff-bound.