What a season it’s been so far. Who could have predicted Cam going toe-to-toe against Brady and Rodgers
for the honor of top fantasy QB? How about Fred Jackson? Darren Sproles? Jimmy Graham? If you drafted one of these four guys, your team is probably looking solid. If you drafted 2 or more of these guys, you’re probably on top of your league.
If you weren’t in the fortunate minority who grabbed players like these, fear not. If you look hard enough, you can still find some football salvation (Tebow, anyone?)
Scout’s Motto: Be Prepared
As the season wears on, expect injuries to pop up and put a damper on some lineups. You should be prepared, and think about injury-prone players that have been receiving a heavy workload.
Not much here as Roger Goodell has decided that if a defender so much as grazes a QB then a flag will be thrown. A couple of reaches… If you have Michael Vick or Matthew Stafford, you need to make sure you’ve got a solid back-up. These guys are fantasy monsters but are one awkward hit away from ending your title hopes. Philly seems to like their back-up Kafka, but you could just as easily hit the waiver wire for Dalton, Painter, or Matt Moore (yikes).
This is the spot where you need to do your homework. Offensive coordinators tend to go more conservative as the season wears on, which means higher mileage on backs. You should look around the league and spot platoon situations (similar to the Giants or Panthers) and try to snatch up whoever you can. The guy who is getting less looks now might shine come fantasy playoff time:
Frank Gore – Kendall Hunter: The Niners have a good thing going out West. Unfortunately, Gore always seems to catch some unlucky break (plus he can barely read). Hunter is explosive and averaging 4.6 YPC so far. If you own Gore, you must get Hunter. If you don’t own Gore, it might be smart to pick Hunter up and wait. The 49ers will be pushing for the playoffs this season and Hunter will get his.
Steven Jackson – Cadillac Williams: This one is pretty easy. Jackson is elite when healthy, but rarely is he firing on all cylinders. Williams isn’t special but may find some nice match ups in Weeks 8 through 14 (Saints, Seahawks twice, Cardinals twice).
Maurice Jones-Drew – Deji Karim: Jacksonville’s season was over before it began when they cut Garrard. Not only is MJD injury-prone, but you have to think that the Jags will protect their star back for the future. Expect Karim to take over in the second half.
Felix Jones – Tashard Choice – DeMarco Murray: The Cowboys offense is potent but Felix can rarely stay healthy. Too early to tell whether Choice or Murray would handle more of the load, but this backfield is worth keeping your eye on.
Michael Turner – Jacquizz Rodgers: Jacquizz is almost as good as his brother in Green Bay. Turner has been hampered by hamstring issues in the past. It appears Rodgers has leapfrogged Snelling on the depth chart, and the rookie might have a surprise 2nd half.
Darren McFadden – Michael Bush: As long as McFadden is healthy, Bush will do little more than poach a touchdown every now and then. If McFadden goes down (he’s never lasted more than 13 games in a season) then Bush is an immediate must own. If he is already on a roster, it might be smart to trade while price is low.
The Wideout spot is more difficult to predict than Running Backs. With NFL teams getting 4 and 5 receivers constantly into the mix, it’s tough to pinpoint one guy for the remainder of the season. What you can do spot match ups where the opponent has an awful secondary and go from there. Notice the Patriots and Dolphins are both allowing over 300 passing yards per contest (as of Week 6), and both are in the AFC East. This bodes well for the Bills and Jets who get to play these Junior Varsity defenses twice each. If Steve Johnson or Santonio Holmes go down, you could do worse than David Nelson or Plaxico Burress.
Marques Colston – Robert Meacham – Devery Henderson: If any of these three goes down with an injury, do your best to grab either of the others. Brees is too good.
Miles Austin – Dez Bryant – Laurent Robinson – Kevin Ogletree: Both Austin and Bryant are injury prone. Robinson is the better play but Ogletree could be a sneaky flex play if you’re desperate and your league is deep or PPR.
DeSean Jackson – Jeremy Maclin – Jason Avant – Steve Smith: Jackson is speedy but incredibly tiny. One shot across the middle and he may be out for multiple weeks. Avant is getting more looks than Smith at this point but that might change as the season goes on. One of them may produce sooner than later, as the Eagles have a very easy stretch of opponent secondaries from Weeks 9 through 13.
Coming next week:
Sleepers for the 2nd Half Deep Sleepers for the 2nd Half