Now that we are almost at the halfway point of the season, I thought I would make a slight change to the format this week.
Normally I look at players from a week-to-week basis and try to find the exact right time to buy and sell guys. However, this week I'm looking at players to buy and sell for the rest of the season. So I'm looking at these players as buy/sell candidates to keep in mind for beyond just trying to get them this week.
Also, just keep in mind buying or selling a particular player depends on the makeup of your team. If you have Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck, you obviously don't need Tony Romo. If your team is 7-0 and Julio Jones is just one piece of a powerhouse, you probably don't need to trade him away. These are just some suggestions on how I view a few players performing over the final two months of the season.
Now here are the players I'm advising to buy low and sell high on after Week 7.
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas -- I've been beating the drum for Romo over the past couple of weeks and it's not because I'm a Dallas fan and I think the team is going anywhere. It's actually the exact opposite.
I still think the Cowboys are a mess, but on Sunday they ran into a team (Carolina) that just happens to be a bigger mess at the moment and squeaked out a win. I actually think looking ahead Dallas is going to be in some shootouts and as I've been saying, the schedule sets up really nice for Romo over the next couple of months.
Starting this Sunday, Romo's remaining schedule is the New York Giants, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Washington, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Washington. Every one of those games is either against a team with a bad secondary or a game that figures to be high scoring. Either way, Romo has one of the most quarterback-friendly schedules remaining in the NFL.
There is a big difference between NFL football and fantasy football. Romo has been the epitome of this over his career, and I don't see that changing in the next 10 games. The Cowboys may only go 5-5, but I like Romo to top 20 fantasy points in seven or eight of those matchups.
Willis McGahee, RB, Denver -- McGahee seems like a player fantasy owners are always looking to sell and it's because he's not overly spectacular. He is, however, consistent. McGahee is averaging more than 15 points in points per reception leagues, and while the veteran won't deliver owners many huge outings, you can pencil him in for 14-20 points most weeks.
The other thing to like about McGahee going forward is he's guaranteed touches. Other than rookie Ronnie Hillman, the Broncos don't have much talent behind McGahee. I loved Hillman in college and this summer, but I was a year too early on him. While his role is growing, Hillman won't be a fantasy factor until 2013 or unless McGahee gets hurt. Right now with the way the Broncos are built, it's the veteran who will see close to 20 touches virtually every week.
Again, McGahee isn't going to get you 30 points, but if you're looking for a running back in a good offense that's guaranteed to get a majority of his team's touches for the rest of the season, McGahee is your guy.
Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis -- After Richardson had his breakout game against Washington, I advised going out and grabbing him because I thought he had something special. I still believe Richardson is a special player and he's now, basically, in an even timeshare with Steven Jackson.
Right now, Richardson can be counted on as a flex play in points per reception leagues and he's only getting around 10 carries a game. Can you imagine what kind of fantasy numbers he'll put up if Jackson gets hurt? Richardson isn't a guy you can depend on every week yet, but with his upside he's a player I would target.
The other thing to like about Richardson is that his role in the passing game is growing. He's caught five balls for 66 yards in the last two games, and I see those numbers increasing now that he's seeing more playing time.
If Jackson goes down in early December and Richardson is the Rams' starting running back during fantasy playoffs, that could be the difference between you winning and losing your league.
Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland-- Moore was bothered by a shoulder injury early in the year but he's found the end zone in each of his last two games. I really like him over the second half of the season.
The Raiders flat-out can't run the ball. I know this because I have Darren McFadden in one of my leagues and he barely outscores Danny Woodhead some weeks. As I've pointed out recently, Carson Palmer has been a solid fantasy quarterback this year. I see some big games in Moore's future. He may not quite be the Raiders' No. 1 receiver, yet, but Moore is getting close.
Coming up, Moore gets to feast on the secondaries of Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Baltimore and Cleveland. Palmer is going to have to throw the ball all season long for the Raiders to remain competitive, and that means Moore is a receiver you want to get right now. If he stays healthy, I think Moore will be one of the better fantasy receivers over the final two months.
Stevan Ridley, RB, New England -- Ridley is still the main man in the Patriots' backfield. But, because coach Bill Belichick is a genius, we never know how many carries Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden are going to get in a given week. Did I mention Belichick is a genius?
Ridley will still be a solid option most weeks, but unlike McGahee he isn't guaranteed touches and goal line carries because of his situation. Sometimes those go to Ridley. Sometimes they go to Vereen. Sometimes they go to Woodhead. Sometimes they go to Bolden. It's genius.
All joking aside, Ridley is getting a lot of carries so far this year, but it's the quality of carries that's concerning. Ridley has four touchdowns, but that number could easily be double if he wasn't randomly taken out near the goal line.
Ridley will be a good fantasy running back going forward, but it's hard to overlook the fact that after two huge games, Ridley has killed fantasy owners the last couple of weeks. I said this three weeks ago and I'm saying it again: It's time to sell Ridley and let someone else worry about the fantasy headache known as New England's backfield.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta -- I own Jones, and while I still like him, I believe he's a good guy to move if your team needs a lot of pieces moving forward.
One reason I was in the minority this summer in ranking A.J. Green ahead of Jones, was opportunity. Green is going to get balls thrown his way regardless of coverage. Jones doesn't have that luxury.
In fantasy terms, Jones' downside is he plays on an offense with too many weapons. If defenses try and take him away, Matt Ryan doesn't have to force Jones the ball. Instead, Ryan is more than happy to feed Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. So while Jones will certainly be a good fantasy receiver and have some big games over the second half, his production will be decided on how defenses are playing the Falcons that particular week.
If your team is loaded and you have Jones, there's probably no reason to move him. However, if you're hurting and looking to move a big name for a couple of players to help improve your team, Jones is a good option. He certainly doesn't make for a must-sell but Jones will get a nice return on the trade market if you need it.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco -- It's tough to sell high on a guy who was shutout last week, but I would wait until Davis has one of his two touchdown games and then sell.
Davis is still a premier tight end but he has one big problem: the guy under center. Man, how bad is the Buffalo defense? In a half season they've made Alex Smith look like Joe Montana, Stephen Hill look like Jerry Rice and Chris Johnson look like, well, Chris Johnson.
Looking at the 49ers, I think they made their run with Smith last season. The team is still loaded, but now Smith is once again becoming a liability and hurting the fantasy production of those around him. I advised running to sell Michael Crabtree after the Buffalo game and while I love Davis, I just see more single-digit weeks than 20 point weeks in his future.
The 49ers are still a contender in the NFL because they play excellent defense and can run the football. However, for fantasy purposes, San Francisco's passing game is going in the wrong direction, and with games coming up against Arizona, St. Louis and Chicago, I don't see that changing any time soon.
Week 8 Sneaky Starts
Now that we're halfway through the season, I'm replacing my "Tip of the Week" with "Sneaky Starts." With byes and injuries upon us, owners are always looking for some out of the box starts, and this is a feature I used in another column that people seemed to like. I've given you all the tips I have for dealing, and with trade deadlines coming up soon, I thought this section would be more beneficial over the next nine weeks.
Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota -- Ponder has four good fantasy games this season and three bad ones. On Thursday night, he gets the Tampa Bay last-ranked pass defense. Mark down another one in the good game column for Ponder.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina -- I'm going to keep shoving Stewart down everyone's throat until someone gives me a reason why he's not getting the ball more. On the bright side, Stewart saw his most extensive playing time of the year Sunday against Dallas. I'm going with one last hunch before I give up, but I say, Stewart has his best fantasy day of the season against Chicago. We'll see.
Davone Bess, WR, Miami -- Bess has been solid in points per reception leagues this year, and the first time these two teams met he caught five passes for 86 yards. With Antonio Cromartie likely drawing Brian Hartline for most of the game, expect Bess to get plenty of looks from Ryan Tannehill...