By DEREK PERRY
Deep breaths, everyone. We’re a little less than halfway through most fantasy football regular seasons. Whether you’re 6-0 (God bless), 0-6 (thoughts & prayers) or anything in between, there’s a lot to talk about. Now is a good time to try and take advantage of the trade market. Some owners are likely frustrated by players they invested a lot in, so it might be time to make an offer to someone that’s desperate for change. If you’re lucky enough to have accumulated some depth, there might be some players on your roster that you could part ways with while their value is at its peak. We’ll talk about all this and more this week – let’s get started.
SELL, SELL, SELL!
These players have reached the pinnacle of their fantasy value. Package and ship them for a more consistent option while you can.
Gio Bernard – Bernard’s 89-yard TD run was nothing short of spectacular. However, it inflated his YPC average immensely. He struggled otherwise, and backup Jeremy Hill found the endzone for the third time this season (just one fewer touchdown than Bernard). By dangling Bernard to RB-needy owners, you could surely fetch quite a nice haul if you have good RB depth but have holes elsewhere.
Arian Foster – Foster has been productive this season, running at a 4.58 YPC clip with five TD’s. However, one has to wonder how long Foster can manage to turn back the clock like this. He’s already sat out one game, and Bill O’Brien seems content to make Foster the focal point of the offense from here on out. Shopping Foster around for some more reliable options might end up helping you in the long run.
Antone Smith – Smith has more touchdowns this season than Dez Bryant, Rob Gronkowski, Matt Forte, Demaryius Thomas, Jamaal Charles, Julio Jones and Jimmy Graham. He has touchdowns of 54, 38, 48, 74 and 48 yards. If someone short on RB depth comes running to you with the right offer, take it while Smith’s stock is at its highest.
Mark Ingram – Ingram hasn’t played since Week 2, but had 19+ points in both weeks. During Ingram’s absence, Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson have both turned in encouraging performances. Ingram will more than likely have to earn his fair share of the touches upon his return. Shop him around to those short on RB depth.
Randall Cobb – Despite being targeted only 41 times, Cobb has seven touchdowns so far on 29 receptions. Sustaining that pace would mean challenging Randy Moss’ single-season TD record set in 2007. Cobb’s value will never be higher this season, and he would better serve your team by being shipped out if you can pick up two decent pieces for your starting lineup.
Terrance Williams – Williams is the #21 WR in PPR formats at the moment despite being targeted only 28 times (compared to Dez Bryant’s 57). Williams has been productive thus far but, like Cobb, has put up a TD rate that is quite simply unsustainable (five TD’s in six games). He has more than two catches in only two of Dallas’ six games.
BUY, BUY, BUY!
LeVeon Bell – Bell hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards or scored a TD in three weeks. He’s still RB #3 in PPR formats, but certain Bell owners might be a little frustrated, especially those that are struggling overall. Odds are you’ll have a tough time prying Bell away, but it’s worth a shot as his schedule in the FF playoffs is a cake walk.
Jerick McKinnon – I’m operating under the assumption that your leaguemates are paying attention and McKinnon is already on a roster. McKinnon out-snapped Asiata 48-15 this past week. The 2014 3rd rounder is poised to make a big impact down the stretch as it becomes more and more apparent that AP will not be playing this year.
Brandon Marshall – Despite 113 yards receiving, Marshall failed to reach the endzone for the third time in four weeks against Atlanta. Marshall owners might be getting frustrated enough to sell him for below face value.
Rueben Randle – Randle was already out-targetting Victor Cruz before Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon on Sunday night. If Randle can be had in your league, and it might be difficult after Sunday night, he will be well worth acquiring as he will only see a greater percentage of the targets from here on out.
Odell Beckham, Jr. – “OBJ” played 51% of the snaps in his NFL debut in Week 5. This past week on Sunday Night Football, that number increased to 88%. With Victor Cruz done for the year, Beckham is poised for a breakout game sooner rather than later. If he isn’t yet on a roster, he needs to be a waiver priority for you. We’ll discuss that below.
Week 7 Waiver Wire – Get Your Priorities in Order
Discussing the waiver is wire is always tricky because every league is so different. I’m going to assume that guys like Ronnie Hillman, Brandon Oliver and Jerick McKinnon have been scooped up already. If not, those are the guys you most definitely need to target. Here are some options that should still be available in deeper leagues that can help you out.
1. Carson Palmer – Like I mentioned last week, Palmer is still a very viable fantasy option for those whose starting QB is on a bye week. Palmer has a dream matchup against the Raiders on Sunday.
2. Brian Hoyer – Don’t look now, but the Browns are 3-2. Their offense is looking very capable, and although they remain run-centric, Hoyer has a favorable matchup against the Jaguars in Week 7.
1. Isaiah Crowell – Crowell rumbled for 77 yards and a TD in the Browns’ Week 6 win. Although Tate remains the bell cow for the Browns, you can do a lot worse than Crowell as a flex if you are low on options. Plus, it remains to be seen if Tate can stay healthy.
2. Brandon Bolden – We received word today that Stevan Ridley tore both his ACL and MCL, ending his season. Tread lightly when exploring waiver wire options in the Patriots backfield. Bill Belichick is notorious for driving fantasy owners to drink with unpredictable RB usage. Bolden is in line to see most of Ridley’s vacant carries, but remember the name James White.
1. Odell Beckham, Jr. – Unfortunately for me, Beckham, Jr. has already been scooped up in every league I’m in. You may be in luck, however, as he’s still owned in only 7.9% of ESPN leagues. He will be a legitimate starting option every week with Cruz out of the lineup.
2. Andre Holmes – Holmes has become rookie Derek Carr’s favorite target, posting 5/74/1 and 4/121/2 in the past two weeks. He’s owned in 0.5% (!!!) of ESPN leagues. As Carr becomes more comfortable, Holmes should only see more work.
3. Malcolm Floyd – Whereas Keenan Allen has struggled mightily so far this year, Floyd has enjoyed some success during San Diego’s hot start. He’s put up 10+ PPR points in each of the last four weeks, including a 22-point performance against the Raiders. Floyd is owned in only 4.2% of ESPN leagues.
4. Davante Adams – Adams enjoyed somewhat of a breakout game against the Dolphins, catching six passes for 77 yards. James Jones owners from years past will remember the numbers he put up as the #3 WR in Aaron Rodgers’ offense. Adams is worth a look and can fill in if you run into trouble with byes.
If You Love (or Hate) Something, Set It Free
Sometimes it’s easy to get attached to a player that you have a lot invested in. Don’t make the mistake of hanging onto someone for too long and wasting a roster spot. Dump these guys, and let someone else worry about them:
Montee Ball – I’m not a Montee Ball owner, but I am a Broncos fan so I know first hand how frustrating it’s been to watch him this year. If Ronnie Hillman can continue to string together good games, there’s no guarantee that Ball will be anything more than a member of a committee approach when he does return. Cut your losses and pick up someone that can help your team right now.
Toby Gerhart – All we heard about Gerhart in the preseason was how he was going to be a “true three-down back”. However, he’s been nothing but disappointing and younger backs like Storm Johnson have taken advantage of his struggles. I’m cutting Gerhart and taking a long look at Storm Johnson as a plug option.
Adrian Peterson – It’s abundantly clear at this point that he’s not playing this year. Don’t waste the roster spot.
Terrance West – West was a healthy scratch in Week 6 as Tate and Crowell both enjoyed success. It’s hard to imagine West being worthy of a roster spot as long as those two are healthy.
Maurice Jones-Drew – MJD has 15 carries all season and is still owned in 82% of ESPN leagues. Why?
Donald Brown – This is Brandon Oliver’s job now.
Hakeem Nicks – There are much better options on the waiver wire than Nicks, who is arguably fifth in the Colts’ receiving pecking order (behind Wayne, Hilton, Bradshaw and Allen).
I personally like to wait until waivers have ended and you can pick up a defense without costing yourself a spot in the waiver order. Here are three options that should be available if you’re looking to upgrade or don’t like your D/ST’s matchup:
Browns @ Jaguars – If you want a fairly simple philosophy on streaming defenses, try this: Target whoever is playing the Jaguars. They are hemorrhaging points to opposing D/ST’s.
Redskins vs. Tennessee – The Titans are struggling, having scored more than 20 points just once this year. Jake Locker is likely sitting out again this week.
Dolphins @ Bears – The Bears are a good bet to put up points, but they’ve turned the ball over in four of six games this year, including multiple times in three of those four.