Now that the fantasy football season has officially crossed over into the 2nd half, every matchup from here on out is that much more important. Monitoring a player’s rise/fall is even more vital to your fantasy team’s success.
There are still some “preseason studs” out there who you’ve been waiting for week after week to cash in with a breakout performance, but have left you hanging (i.e. Russell Wilson, DeAndre Hopkins). Should you still give those guys a spot in your starting lineup despite their dropping stock?
Of course Derek Carr finds himself on the ‘Risers’ list after throwing for over 500 yards. Dez Bryant returned with a bang on Sunday Night Football and headlines this week’s list. Tyler Eifert also lands on the list after a huge performance in his 2nd game of the season.
Who else made this week’s list? Find out below.
QB Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders)
Coming off a 500 yard passing, 4 TD day against Tampa Bay, Derek Carr is one of the hottest trending players in the fantasy football community. The 4th ranked fantasy QB so far this season, Carr has eclipsed 20 fantasy points in 5 games during the first half.
Carr’s 500+ passing yards became just the 20th time in NFL history a player reached that milestone in a single game. His development into one of the league’s premier QBs is apparent in Oakland’s high powered passing attack. He faces a tough test this week against Denver – definitely a game where you want to monitor his production.
RB Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans)
The Heisman trophy winner finally turned in a respectable fantasy performance as the rookie went for 60 yards and a score while hauling in 4 catches this past Thursday night. His 15 fantasy points were by far his season-high, his previous high at only 5. Henry’s season-high 20 touches paving the way for his production.
With DeMarco Murray a little banged up, Henry may see an expanded role moving forward – especially if he continues to produce. His combination of size, speed and power make him lethal in Tennessee’s ground and pound oriented offense.
Henry appears as the premier pickup on week 9’s waiver wire list.
WR Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys)
Bryant came back with a bang in week 8 on Sunday Night Football. After missing the previous month or so, Bryant compiled 113 receiving yards with a TD on just 4 catches in his first game back from injury. In his last 3 games, Bryant has averaged 12 fantasy points per game – he’s went for double digit fantasy points every game since dropping a donut in week 1.
If he can stay healthy, Bryant is poised to make a huge impact for Dallas in the 2nd half as they look to stay atop the NFC East. As he continues to develop a rapport with Dak Prescott under center, I can see Bryant finishing as a top 5 fantasy WR in the 2nd half of the season.
WR Jamison Crowder (Washington Redskins)
Over the past few weeks, Jamison Crowder has established himself as one of the most WR plays. He’s averaged over 11 fantasy points over the last 4 games and ranks 11th among all WRs in fantasy points so far this season. The 2nd year WR out of Duke leads the Redskins in receiving yards and TDs and is coming off back-to-back 100 yard games.
Crowder is a guy who is still available in a good chunk of fantasy leagues. While he is on a bye in week 9, if you have a spot, he’s well worth the add. He even adds additional value as a return man.
TE Tyler Eifert (Cincinnati Bengals)
In his 2nd game this season after returning from injury, Tyler Eifert re-asserted the notion that he’s one of the best fantasy TEs in the game. In Cincinnati’s visit to London, Eifert went off with 9 catches for 100+ yards and a TD – making it worthwhile for any fantasy owner who has had him stashed on their bench throughout the season.
Assuming he stays healthy in the 2nd half, Eifert very well could finish as the top TE during that stretch. He’s a TD machine who finished 2015 with 13 despite missing a few games. When in the redzone, you know Andy Dalton is more than likely to target Eifert. In a year that has been underwhelming for TEs, Eifert proves to be a premium for fantasy owners who held onto him up until this point.
QB Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
I’m officially done defending Russell Wilson from a fantasy standpoint. In what was a juicy week 8 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, Wilson fell short of double-digit fantasy points, perhaps cementing himself as one of the biggest fantasy busts so far this season. On the year he’s only surpassed 13 points once – that performance coming back in week 4. That was also the last time he scored a TD.
Part of the reason why he’s been so disappointing in fantasy this season is his reduced role as a dual threat QB. He’s averaged over 600 rushing yards per year entering 2016, but only has 44 rushing yards so far this year – the same amount as Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins. Perhaps he’s not fully healthy, but Wilson certainly hasn’t lived up to the expectations by any means. He’s not the type of guy you can drop – I’d hold onto him for now, hoping he breaks out one week, then sell while his value is high.
RB Mark Ingram (New Orleans Saints)
After fumbling early in Sunday’s win against Seattle, Mark Ingram sat the bench most of the game and was given only 3 carries – ending the game with negative fantasy points. Tim Hightower came on in relief to take 26 carries for over 100 yards. Sean Payton later said they would split carries from here on out.
Ingram has scored only 1 rushing TD all year long and averages less than 50 rushing yards per game. He’s still among the most consistent backs in the game, but with his workload in jeopardy with Hightower catching on, his fantasy value takes a dip.
WR Kelvin Benjamin (Carolina Panthers)
After combining for 37 fantasy points in the first 2 weeks to start his comeback season, Kelvin Benjamin has combined for only 31 points in the next 5 games. While he posted a respectable 73 receiving yards this past week, he did so on only 2 catches. Since week 3, Benjamin has only 1 TD reception.
There clearly has been an ingredient missing from Carolina’s offense so far this season, which is very unexpected as the return of Benjamin was supposed to catapult it to an even higher playing level. If the Panthers continue to post abysmal offensive performances, Benjamin will continue to suffer.
WR DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans)
Luckily for fantasy owners, DeAndre Hopkins is on a bye this week. Hopkins has been one of the most disappointing players this season, and it didn’t get any better this past week. I was expecting a breakout performance against the Lions and for D-Hop to re-gain his fantasy relevance – he went for only 4 fantasy points, marking the 5th time in the past 6 weeks he’s been held to single-digit fantasy points.
The blame can be placed on Brock Osweiler due to Hopkins’ fall from fantasy god ship. Hopkins has only one 100 yard game in 2016, and hasn’t hauled in a TD since week 5. However, I’ve remained patient with him, although that’s running out. Still, he’s the type of player you can’t really sit in your lineup after drafting him in the 1st or 2nd round a couple months ago – just have to hope he turns it around.
WR Marvin Jones (Detroit Lions)
After his monster 32 point performance back in week 3, Marvin Jones has come back down to earth in a big way as he’s yet to top double-digit points since then. In the 5 games after, Jones has averaged less than 50 receiving yards per game, although he does have a pair of TDs. Still, he remains the top weapon in Detroit’s passing offense.
While he still serves as a low-end WR2, he hasn’t come close to producing as a WR1 like he did earlier in the season and surely isn’t the fantasy stud like he was flashing. It doesn’t get any easier against Minnesota this week.