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Fantasy Football First Half Under Review

Fantasy Football Buy Low Sell High
Keith Allison - Flickr
We are already entering Week 9 of the NFL and that means we have completed the first half of the fantasy football season (most leagues only play through Week 16). We have seen lots of ups and downs and more than enough injuries to change the landscape of fantasy. Let's take a look back at what has transpired already, and see if we think trends will continue, or if it's time to sell high on certain players.


All stats were thrown out the window on Sunday when Drew Brees (7) and Eli Manning (6) combined for 13 touchdown passes and 861 passing yards. They had combined for just 8 touchdowns in the previous three weeks!

Tom Brady just continues to dominate the NFL, adding 11 passing touchdowns over the Patriots last four games. He has 20 on the year to just one interception. Brady has also added two rushing TDs in the second quarter of fantasy football.

Philip Rivers is right behind him in fantasy points scored and has completed a league high 243 passes. Over the last four weeks he has also completed 10 TD passes. 

Peyton Manning continues to not be a good fantasy football option at QB and his strength of schedule is not favorable. It's not a difficult schedule but the upcoming defenses have done a good job limited opposing QBs. Manning has thrown one touchdown and six interceptions in Denver's three games over the last four weeks, yet the Broncos are 7-0. See if anyone is willing to make a trade, now that Vernon Davis has joined the offense.

Matt Ryan has had a tough second quarter, with five touchdowns and five interceptions since Week 4. He has a very favorable schedule ahead, but he will face the Panthers defense twice in the fantasy football playoffs!

Ben Roethlisberger returned to action in Week 8 and threw the game away for the Steelers in the final minutes, twice. Do not drop whatever QB(s) you used to fill in the weeks he was out as the Steelers have a BYE week ahead.

Colin Kaepernick has been benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert.

Running Backs

Lamar Miller is the only running back with four touchdowns (3 rushing) over the last four weeks.  It's nice to see the Dolphins turning him back into a top fantasy football option.

Devonta Freeman (457) and Todd Gurley (420) are the only backs with 400+ rushing yards since Week 4.   Freeman leads the NFL with 709 rushing yards.  Chris Johnson's 676 yards is next best, followed by Adrian Peterson's 633.  At 612 yards, Doug Martin is the only other running back with 600+ rushing yards.

Freeman has also added 157 receiving yards on 23 catches and a touchdown in the second quarter. That makes 40 receptions for Freeman this season, trailing only Theo Riddick who has 42 for the Detroit Lions.

Mark Ingram has averaged double digit fantasy points this season and gets the Jaguars during Championship Weekend!

DeMarco Murray has averaged 85 rushing yards per game since Week 4, scoring twice. If Sam Bradford would stop throwing interceptions Murray would be having an even better second quarter. Kudos to those of you who held onto him.  However, Ryan Mathews continues to play a vulture role, also scoring twice since Week 4, averaging 9 yards per carry!

If there is a running back to look to deal, it's Chris Johnson. CJ2K is back and running all over opposing defenses, but the Cardinals have a tough schedule ahead of them after their BYE. They kick off their second half in Seattle, then host the Bengals. Then after a matchup with the Niners head to St. Louis. In the fantasy football playoffs they host the Vikings, head to Philly and host the Packers. If your league goes through Week 17, the Cardinals play the Seahawks again.  There are also rumors the coaching staff wants to get Andre Ellington involved in the offense again as well.

Danny Woodhead has a position high 23 receptions for 240 yards and two TDs in the second quarter, as the Chargers slowly take snaps away from their rookie, Melvin Gordon.  

Le'Veon Bell suffered a MCL injury, ending his season.  

Wide Receivers

DeAndre Hopkins (52) and Julio Jones (50) are the only receivers with 50+ targets over the last four weeks of NFL action.  Hopkins has turned that into a league high 35 receptions for 461 receiving yards. Jones has caught 32 passes for 414 yards.  Hopkins has scored three touchdowns, but Odell Beckham (5), Julian Edelman (4) and Allen Robinson (4) have outscored him.

These are the eight other WRs with three touchdowns since Week 4:
Not exactly an elite group of receivers.  You can add Jarvis Landry and Tavon Austin to that group as they have added a rushing touchdown on top of their two receiving TDs.

Interesting to note - the Jagaurs receivers (Robinson, Hurns) have turned 28 receptions into 7 touchdowns!

Of players with 30 targets in the second quarter of fantasy football, only Hilton (16), Antonio Brown (18), Robinson (19) and Stefon Diggs (19) failed to haul in 20 catches.  Diggs has been unbelievable for the Vikings, posting the teams three highest receiving yard totals in back-back-back weeks.   

Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker have had solid seasons for the Jets, with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing QB.  Fitzy went down with a hand injury in Week 8, and New York handed the offense back to Geno Smith.  Geno attempt 42 passes, completing 27 of them for 265 yards and two scores, but do you really want to rely on Geno Smith getting Marshall/Decker the ball?  What if they turn to Bryce Petty?!  As a Marshall owner, I suggest seeking trade partners for the Jets receivers, 

Steve Smith Sr. suffered a career ending injury.

Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham owners must be furious by now. Benjamin Watson has 26 receptions over the Saints last four games, totaling 369 yards with three touchdowns. Those are all position leading numbers over the last four weeks except TDs. Gary Barnidge's four touchdowns leads the NFL at the position. Graham on the other hand has just 20 catches for 276 yards in teh Seahawks last four games, no touchdowns.

Delanie Walker has 25 catches for 250 yards over the last four weeks, and that includes this past week's 6 for 62 with no Marcus Mariota.

Jacob Tamme has looked really good in two of the Falcons last four games with 18 receptions for 197 yards and a touchdown. The two games in between saw Tamme catch six passes for 68 yards. Expect that trend to continue.

Jason Witten is a player to target in a trade with the eventual return of Tony Romo. Witten has just 13 receptions for 132 yards over the Cowboys last three games (BYE Week 6), but did have 15 receptions for 115 yards and two TDs in the early weeks with Romo.

Vernon Davis was traded to the Denver Broncos.