2nd half targets(sleepers, buy low, hold..)
Every year there are fantasy players that emerge in the 2nd half and play a pivotal role in deciding championships. Here are some players that we think will trend up for the 2nd half and may be undervalued.
Winston’s average is dragged down based on 3 bad outings vs Arizona, Denver and Carolina, which puts him at 15th overall for Fantasy Pts per game, and that is exactly where he is ranked in fantasy pros. I would submit that he is currently ranked at his floor as he moves forward with the 2nd easiest strength of schedule for QBs. He only faces 1 top ten defense for FPTS allowed in Seattle on week 11 but all others are outside the top ten and 4 of his remaining matchups are top 7 for QBs. But if all that isn’t enough, the prize at the bottom of the box is matchups with New Orleans in week 14 and 16. Who not only give up the 5th most pts to QB, but more than likely will dictate a game script that will call for heavy passing and heavy fantasy production.
Booker has been outstanding this season when he has actually been given a chance to play. Week 2 was his first real action with 9 carries for 46 yards. Over the last 3 or 4 weeks, Booker has been getting more involved and has been the more efficient RB in DEN and in our waiver wire piece, I have been pushing owners to add him even though he wasn’t getting the touches Anderson was as we felt he eventually would earn those, and he did in week 7 receiving 17 carries on a week in which both he and Anderson had great games. I speculated that Booker had earned 50% of the backfield touches, and over the past few games he has put together 35 carries for 182 yards and 1-TD. Now with Anderson likely out for the rest of the regular season, this is going to be Booker’s backfield, and the kid can play. Fantasy pros has Booker ranked as the 31st RB in their ROS rankings, something I suspect will change very soon. While many will grab Booker as a must add now that Anderson is done, not everyone realizes that this is a RB who should finish the season as a solid RB1, and I will even dare to say he will be top 10 the rest of the way, with upside to finish close to top 5. Also, it’s probably important to note that Denver has the 8th easiest remaining SOS for RBs. As I’m noting this, Booker is still available in almost 50% of fantasy leagues. If you are listening/reading and he is available in your league, please…GRAB HIM NOW. We are talking about a guy who should be a RB1 moving forward in all formats.
Stewart was a major disappointment early due to matchups and injury but he returned in week 6 to the tune of 85 yards rushing and 2 TDs. He has been capped over the past couple of years due to his lack of TDs, but with Newton’s recent concussions and the coaching staff openly speaking about playing safer with Newton, I can definitely see him getting more Touchdown opportunities, in fact his 2 TDs against the Saints came from 1 and 2yds out, which have historically been Cam’s for the taking. The big kicker here is that Stewart has the easiest strength of schedule for RBs moving forward. He is currently ranked 19th, but I can see him finishing the year out at the low end RB1 level and you shouldn’t have to pay that price.
Hopkins has been a “streaky” player at times in his career. Take 2015. The 1st 6 weeks of the season, his split stats: 52/726/5-TDs. 52 receptions were 2nd only to K Allen’s 53, 726 yards led the NFL and 5 TDs was 1 shy of Fitzgerald’s league leading 6. 2015 he was still solid over the last 11 weeks with: 59/795/6-TDs, but he splits over his last 10 games were not close to his splits over the first 6. This year, Hopkins is still being heavily targeted with 68, which is good for the 7th most in the NFL right now. Consider that and the fact that Osweiler has actually played well in favorable matchups which helped Hopkins start the year with a solid week 1 performance and a strong week 2 where he put up 7/113/1-TD against KC. Again, it comes down to how Osweiler plays, and he is getting better in what is a complicated offense for 1st year players. Houston has been shut down recently by the likes of NE, MIN and DEN, but they also have, by far the easiest remaining Strength of Schedule vs. the pass this year. Upcoming schedule: DET, bye, JAX, OAK, SD, GB, IND, JAX, CIN, TEN.
The perennially underrated Landry is currently ranked 19th in Rest of year rankings despite the fact that he is 16th in standard and 11th in PPR. He is definitely hurt by the fact that he has only scored 1 TD but I would expect that number to rise moving into the second half of the season. With the line finally intact and with back to back solid rushing performances, opposing defenses will have to pay more attention to the running game, presumably freeing up Landry. The kicker here is that he faces the 6th easiest Strength Of Schedule for WRs. So while he is ranked at 19 as a mid WR 2, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish in the low teens for High end WR 2 production, with some WR1 weeks sprinkled in. The best thing about Landry is he offers that high floor, especially in PPR, so if you can grab Landry for the WR2 price that he is ranked at, it is a pretty safe move that could payoff.
Jeffery started this season with 4 catches for 105yds in week 1 and 5 catches for 96yds. That was against HOU and PHI, 2 very solid pass Ds. Now, he gets Cutler back and with White out, Jeffery should be targeted very heavily. He has actually received 23 targets over the past 2 weeks but was just unable to get on the same page as Hoyer. Jeffery hasn’t scored a TD this season either as his chemistry with all QBs not named Cutler has just not been there. With Cutler back, Jeffery gets the QB with whom he was on pace for over 100 receptions and almost 1600 yards receiving last year. Keep in mind, with McCown and Cutler, Jeffery caught 89 passes for over 1,400 yards his sophomore year and added 85 catches and 10 TDs in 2014 despite being the #2 target in the majority of those games. Alshon is in the longest TD drought of his career and after MIN this week and then the bye, he has some favorable matchups. We should see several top 10 weeks or at least several WR1 weeks in the 2nd half of the season. Most stats show that Jeffery averaged the 12th most ppg last season, but it was really more like the 7th most ppg as he was credited for a game in which he barely palyed and caught only 1 pass. Look for Jeffery to finish the 2nd half strong, as a solid WR1 and most likely inside the top 10 at WR with top 5-7 upside.
Beginning about week 4 we started hearing positive buzz on Fiedorowicz. Since then he checks in as the #5 overall TE with TDs in 2 of his last 4 games and producing no less than 50 yards in that span. He is currently ranked on Fantasy pros as the #22 TE for rest of season, but I think he will put up TE1 #s for the remainder of the season and wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes top 8. Add in the fact that he has the #6 easiest strength of schedule in a Bill Obrien offense with a QB that seems very scared to make risky throws and Fiedorowicz looks like a prime target that can be had dirt cheap based on his ranking. But you need to act now as he faces Detroit this week who is third in pts given up to TEs.