Time to make some midseason moves on fantasy field

The typical fantasy football regular season runs 13 weeks. So last week we crossed the halfway point.

If you’re struggling, you now have six games to straighten things out. As I’ve harped upon for two consecutive columns, the NFL schedule makers have chosen to not make things very easy on you in Week 8.

The quarterback position is not hurt too badly by the six teams on bye, unless you play in a 2 QB league. Philip Rivers is likely the only regular starter teams will be without and all of the other regular starters have good matchups, even the much maligned Colin Kaepernick.

Running back, on the other hand, is decimated. Owners will be without the likes of Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Matt Forte, Chris Johnson, Danny Woodhead, Trent Richardson and the emerging Ryan Mathews. That kind of carnage is sure to inflict damage no matter size or style league you play.

The wide receiver position takes a bit of hit, too. Losing top guys like Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson and Torrey Smith along with young, developing future stars like Alshon Jeffery, Keenan Allen and T.Y. Hilton. Deep leaguers may feel the pinch of losing a Kendall Wright or a Nate Washington, but the Riley Coopers and Kenny Stills and Kris Durhams of the world should help provide a Band-aid for those owners.

Tight end only loses two (maybe three with Coby Fleener) regular starters in Antonio Gates and Martellus Bennett.

Such insanity often leads to panic. Well, this is not the time to panic. Just take a deep breath, count to ten and read this column — and the prior one, if you missed it. The inforamtion provided should soothe you and help to aid you through an otherwise stressful time.
In the popular vernacular, keep calm and fantasy football on:

* Carson Palmer – This is a genuine leap of faith for Philip Rivers owners, but did you see what Mike Glennon did against the Falcons last week? Atlanta is surrendering 19.5 points per game on average to opposing quarterbacks and the Cardinals have yet to sort out their running game. Palmer should get plenty of passing attempts and I expect him to hook up with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd for at least a couple of big plays. If, however, you’re an obstinate Rivers owner and you’re not willing jump off the Palmer bridge with me this week, try Ben Roethlisberger. He has torched the Raiders thoughout his career to the tune of 310 yards per game and 11 touchdowns in four games. I’m just not as hopeful for Big Ben as I am Carson Palmer in part because he has been so erratic this season and in part because of…

* Le’Veon Bell – Yes. Ironically, Big Ben is less likely to post a huge game at Oakland because it’s time for the Bell to toll. Many people probably think the rookie from Michigan State broke out in his Week 4 debut game in London, but I believe this will be his biggest fantasy performance to date. The Raiders have allowed a running back to break double digits with at least one TD in four consecutive games and feature backs are averaging almost 15 points per game against them on the season. Not only do I look at Bell as my start of the week, but I’d rank him as a Top 10 RB play if I published weekly rankings. Stevan Ridley and Bell’s counterpart on Sunday, Darren McFadden, should both also be more comfortable starters for you this weekend with all the byes. Digging deeper, Kendall Hunter and Roy Helu could provide you some Mike Tolbert-esque Hail Mary production if you’re desperate in Week 8.

* Terrance Williams – If you know me or have followed me on Twitter (@FantasyBuddha), you probably know that I’m a huge Redskins fan. As a direct result, the Cowboys are my arch enemy. I dislike Dallas more than Clemson, Tottenham Hotspur and the Miami Heat combined. That being said, I love Terrance Williams. I have loved Williams for a long time. He was an unstoppable big play beast at Baylor and I felt he was a borderline first round talent in the NFL. When he began to slide, I got excited about the possibility that he could reunite with RG3 in Washington, but those hopes were shot down when the Cowboys braintrust adroitly selected Williams with the 74th overall selection in this year’s draft. I was personally heartbroken, and in my capacity as a fantasy football prognosticator, I was forced to rein in my expectations Williams. Then the annual Miles Austin hamstring injury happened. Since then, Williams has looked like an established veteran. He has three straight games with a TD and has emerged as the WR2 in Dallas, regardless of Miles Austin and his hammy. Williams should continue feasting this week against the Lions. A couple of other strong plays this week include Rueben Randle, my boy Jarrett Boykin and I expect the real Marques Colston to finally show up to the party this week with Jimmy Graham likely unable to go for the Saints.

* Rob Gronkowski – Duh, right? That’s what I thought, too. Then I noticed that a few people weren’t buying into the return of Gronk last weekend and had him on their benches. This is just a reminder to not do that. Like ever again. If Rob Gronkowski is playing, he should always be starting. This man is the single most potent weapon the TE position has ever seen in fantasy football history. Even rusty and clearly not in game shape, Gronk returned against the Jets with eight catches for 114 yards on 17 targets. 17 targets, people. Tom Brady loves this guy and he’s a dominant force of nature. Insert him into your lineup without hesitation as long as he remains injury-free. If you’re hurt by the byes or Jimmy Graham’s potential absence this week, take a look at Jordan Reed or Charles Clay or maybe even Ben Watson (depite a lousy matchup).

As I mentioned on Tuesday, my top two streaming options on defense are the Saints and the Steelers. New Orleans looks to get lucky with the Bills minus C.J. Spiller while the Steelers have clamped down on number one wide receivers all season. Without a big-time effort from Denarius Moore, it’s tough to envision Terrelle Pryor doing much against Pittsburgh.

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