The completion of Week 7 of the NFL season marked the midpoint of the fantasy football regular season for most leagues. So, fantasy managers have another 7 weeks of games to solidify your playoff berth and your chance at winning your league's fantasy championship. The problem at this point is knowing which players to own for your second-half run. There are plenty of player rankings to help you with the current week, but there is not much help for the remainder of the fantasy regular season.
As a result, I have put together my midseason cheatsheet of player rankings for the second half. Use this list to determine which players to keep and which players to target in trades. You should notice several players that you have the opportunity to buy low from other teams. And there are many of sell high players as well.
These rankings take into consideration a player's usage and statistics during the 2012 season up to this point, as well as projections for the remainder of the fantasy football season. I look at injury situations, remaining game schedules, potential disappointments and surprises, etc. In the simplest of terms, use this list as if you were having your fantasy draft today (but with the knowledge of what has happened in the first half of the season and qualified expectations for the second half).
MIDSEASON FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYER RANKINGS:
QUARTERBACK:1) Aaron Rodgers - GB; 2) Drew Brees - NO; 3) Robert Griffin III - WAS; 4) Matt Ryan - ATL; 5) Tom Brady - NE; 6) Cam Newton - CAR; 7) Matthew Stafford - DET; 8) Peyton Manning - DEN; 9) Michael Vick - PHI; 10) Andrew Luck - IND; 11) Ben Roethlisberger - PIT; 12) Eli Manning - NYG; 13) Tony Romo - DAL; 14) Andy Dalton - CIN; 15) Philip Rivers - SD; 16) Josh Freeman - TB; 17) Carson Palmer - OAK; 18) Ryan Fitzpatrick - BUF; 19) Matt Schaub - HOU; 20) Jay Cutler - CHI.
Rodgers (#1) has shown over the past couple of games why he still maintains the top position. Brees (#2) consistently produces for fantasy teams and will need to continue throwing if the Saints have any chance of winning. Griffin III (#3) is pretty much the best all-around player in the NFL. He just needs more weapons around him (Pierre Garcon, are you listening?). Ryan (#4) has a very, very QB-friendly schedule with upcoming games against the Saints (Week 10), Cardinals (Week 11), Buccaneers (Week 12), Saints (Week 13), Panthers (Week 14), Giants (Week 15), and Lions (Week 16 - the fantasy championship game for most leagues). Some may be surprised by Newton's (#6) and Vick's (#9) ranking, but keep in mind that fantasy football loves running QBs (they were ranked #9 and #12 respectively in average fantasy points/game in Yahoo! in the first half, even with their supposed poor performance and turnover issues). Lastly, Stafford (#7) is a great buy low candidate. He and Calvin Johnson will get it going in the second half.
RUNNING BACK:1) Arian Foster - HOU; 2) Ray Rice - BAL; 3) LeSean McCoy - PHI; 4) Adrian Peterson - MIN; 5) Darren McFadden - OAK; 6) Ryan Mathews - SD; 7) Matt Forte - CHI; 8) Jamaal Charles - KC; 9) Marshawn Lynch - SEA; 10) Reggie Bush - MIA; 11) DeMarco Murray - DAL; 12) Willis McGahee - DEN; 13) Chris Johnson - TEN; 14) Alfred Morris - WAS; 15) Frank Gore - SF; 16) Trent Richardson - CLE; 17) Doug Martin - TB; 18) Michael Turner - ATL; 19) BenJarvus Green-Ellis - CIN; 20) Stevan Ridley - NE; 21) Mikel Leshoure - DET; 22) Darren Sproles - NO; 23) Fred Jackson - BUF; 24) C.J. Spiller - BUF; 25) Shonn Greene - NYJ.
No huge surprises among the top fantasy RBs. Mathews (#6) has some question marks concerning his durability, so make sure to have a viable backup just in case. Johnson (#13) may be higher on my list than most, but I feel there was good reason that he was projected in the first round of all draft formats. My recommendation is to just pay attention to the matchups and start him with confidence against the lesser teams. Morris (#14) should be higher, but I still don't trust his head coach (been burnt before!). Ridley (#20), same story. Jackson (#23) and Spiller (#24) are a tough situation. If either one was the primary starter, they would be a top 10 RB. But this timeshare is killing both of their fantasy values. Either capitalize on their performance so far with a trade, or sit on them and wait for a potential injury. Maurice Jones-Drew has obviously been excluded until further information concerning his injury has been released. However, if your record is good enough in your league and you can afford to wait on him, treat him as a #10 - #15 RB.
WIDE RECEIVER:1) Calvin Johnson - DET; 2) Roddy White - ATL; 3) Victor Cruz - NYG; 4) Brandon Marshall - CHI; 5) Percy Harvin - MIN; 6) A.J. Green - CIN; 7) Marques Colston - NO; 8) Jordy Nelson - GB; 9) Julio Jones - ATL; 10) Miles Austin - DAL; 11) Hakeem Nicks - NYG; 12) Demaryius Thomas - DEN; 13) Mike Wallace - PIT; 14) Vincent Jackson - TB; 15) Reggie Wayne - IND; 16) Wes Welker - NE; 17) Dez Bryant - DAL; 18) Andre Johnson - HOU; 19) Larry Fitzgerald - ARZ; 20) Eric Decker - DEN; 21) Steve Smith - CAR; 22) Dwayne Bowe - KC; 23) Antonio Brown - PIT; 24) Jeremy Maclin - PHI; 25) Lance Moore - NO.
Calvin Johnson (#1) has not produced as we have hoped thus far, but is still the WR that all are compared to. High-powered offenses dominate the WR rankings with 2 WRs each: White (#2) and Jones (#9) for the Falcons; Cruz (#3) and Nicks (#11) for the Giants; Colston (#7) and Moore (#25) for the Saints; Thomas (#12) and Decker (#20) for the Broncos; Wallace (#13) and Brown (#23) for the Steelers; and Austin (#10) and Bryant (#17) for the Cowboys. In addition, WRs Marshall (#4), Harvin (#5), and Green (#6) have been spectacular as the sole legit targets for their teams. On the other hand, Fitzgerald (#19), A. Johnson (#18), and Smith (#21) have been disappointing (based upon where they were drafted).
TIGHT END:1) Jimmy Graham - NO; 2) Rob Gronkowski - NE; 3) Antonio Gates - SD; 4) Jason Witten - DAL; 5) Tony Gonzalez - ATL; 6) Aaron Hernandez - NE; 7) Vernon Davis - SF; 8) Jermichael Finley - GB; 9) Owen Daniels - HOU; 10) Brandon Pettigrew - DET.
No big surprises among the top 7 TEs. And there are any number of TE's that could be among the #8 - #10 positions. Graham and Gronkowski are obviously the cream of the crop in this group. But, you can easily survive with any of the other players listed. Watch injuries though as Graham, Gates, Witten, Hernandez and Finley have each had issues with injuries so far this season.
Brian Music is one of five inaugural inductees to the 2011 Toyota Legends of Fantasy Football Hall of Fame on Yahoo! Sports. He has participated in fantasy football for 23 years and began playing Yahoo! fantasy football leagues in 2001, winning trophies in 17 of the 25 leagues that he has played (including 9 League Championships), and placing in the top three in fantasy points in 23 of the 25 leagues.
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