You may not realize it, but Week 8 marks the halfway point for the fantasy football season.
Some websites vary, but I know the ESPN fantasy football regular season runs through the NFL’s 13th week, with the playoffs occupying Weeks 14 to 17. Now that we are over the hump, you should have a fairly good idea of how your team will fare in the long haul. But remember, the abbreviation “NFL” stands for “not for long.” Things can change quickly with an injury or suspension, or they can change gradually as teams start to either heat up down the stretch, or struggle late in the season. The common theme is change.
At this point, there are two strategies you can pursue. The first is to build depth around your team. This is really something you should be doing regardless, but if you are in first place, gathering backups will help you protect your lead in case of a lost or slacking player.
The other is to make a bold move to bolster your playoff hopes. The type of trade you should try to pull off depends on your roster and league size. In a typical, smaller eight-team league, I believe that you want as much talent on your roster and as little as possible on your bench. This is because most teams in an eight-team league will be pretty solid across the board, but having two to three good players on the bench will be wasted resources.
If you can trade away a solid receiver that has been riding your bench along with your quarterback for an upgraded signal caller; do it. This has the added benefit of opening up another roster spot to add rising stars. Conversely, if your team has turned out to be top heavy and is losing games, it may be in your best interest to sell away your one stud for three to four good players. These sorts of moves can be mutually beneficial, but make sure you don’t allow an opposing team to become an absolute juggernaut through these trades.
Week 8 Waiver Wire Prospects
Anthony Dixon/Bryce Brown (BUF, RB) - CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson were both injured in Sunday’s game. Next up: the Dixon-Brown tandem. Brown looked good as a backup RB in Philly before he joined the Bills, and the impression seems to be that the Bills management wants Brown to be their running back of the future, but Dixon was the one who received carries last week. That future may come a little sooner than they would’ve liked, but both runners make for an intriguing possibility, especially since the Bills ran the ball more than any other team in the league last year.
Gavin Escobar (DAL, TE) - I don’t see Escobar becoming an elite tight end, but he’s starting to look like a solid bye week fill-in or backup. He’s notched three TDs in the past two games and has a cupcake of an opponent in Week 8 in the Washington Redskins.
Kenny Stills (NO, WR) - Stills is the deep threat that will occasionally go off for 100 yards and a score, but he is the definition of unreliable. However, this risk-reward wide receiver is worth a roster spot in deeper leagues and should be start worthy in those leagues when the Saints play at home. Like this week.
Tre Mason/Benny Cunningham (STL, RB) - There are several backfields in the NFL that are extremely unpredictable. This one puts them all to shame. Zac Stacy was supposed to be their starter this season, but he didn’t even get a single carry in last week’s victory over Seattle. This shift raises the stock price for Mason and Cunningham, and each one could potentially become the rookie sensation that Stacy was last year. Stash one of these guys for a week and see what happens.
Vincent Jackson (TB, WR) - Jackson is probably owned, but his lackluster season thus far might have prompted his owner to drop him. There are trade rumors surrounding Jackson, so we could see him move to a team with an established offense that could boost his value. And if he isn’t traded, it’s worth noting that Jackson became the most targeted wide receiver in football last year after Mike Glennon took the reins in Tampa Bay.
Doug Baldwin/Jermaine Kearse (SEA, WR) - In one of the more surprising trades of the past few seasons, the Seahawks traded wide receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets. While I think that this both diminishes Harvin’s value and doesn’t boost Geno Smith’s enough to warrant a roster spot, it does mean more catches for Baldwin and Kearse in an offense that has found its rhythm, and will likely continue to do so against a Panthers secondary that was shredded by the Packers.
Dolphins (D/ST) - The Dolphins boast the league’s fourth-best run defense, and they haven’t been bad across the board. A coming matchup against the Jags should help them boost their stats. Take a look if you need a replacement D/ST.
Send any questions, comments, or trade proposals to RockHillFantasy@gmail.com or on Twitter @LukeBasha