At the halfway point in the NFL season, fantasy football leagues are heating up with only a few weeks until playoffs begin.
Fantasy owners either picked all the right people initially, or may need a few waiver wire pick-ups to make that final push to make the playoffs.
The biggest first round draft flops this season so far are Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew and Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Let’s be honest, they couldn’t provide for a family of five, no pun intended.
Draftees were warned about Calvin Johnson and the “Madden Curse.” Don’t say you didn’t it coming.
Calvin Johnson had ten times as many touchdowns at this point last season — meaning one total this season.
Chris Johnson started off slower than molasses on a cold winter day, but has lately been the fantasy back we all know and love.
He should have started playing better earlier to avoid fantasy teams being 4-4, or trading him away for someone who is now found on most waiver wires (ahem, Maurice Jones-Drew).
Jones-Drew hasn’t done anything less — or more — than expected coming out of his preseason-long hold out.
After his recent injury, all hope was lost, and Jones-Drew showed holding out of a contract is a downfall of NFL players, like New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Newton has proven the whispers of a sophomore slump, and has hurt every team in possession of him as its starting quarterback.
To any of owner who did draft Newton in the first round due to the column’s suggestion, an apology is provided below.
Just know the pain is shared.
For all readers who listened to the ‘super seven’ suggestion from my fantasy draft preview, a thank you letter or gift is much appreciated.
Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady, and running backs Arian Foster and Ray Rice have all ranked in the top-16 players of all fantasy players. Foster and Rice are the top two running backs in football.
The draft preview read, “These players will put up relatively similar points by the end of the year.”
Many fantasy teams have won about 50 percent of its games and need a player or two to put them into the playoffs on a roll.
If you’re in most normal leagues with eight to twelve teams, there may not be much to choose from on the waiver wire.
Trading away one of your middle of the line to top players to get some production may be necessary at this point.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. An obscene trade is not necessary at this point.
Try to build the small positions that aren’t carrying the load for your team.
Kickers may not seem important, but the difference of five to ten points a game may be the difference between 7-1 and 4-4.
Pick up a different kicker if there’s one producing more points than yours.
Research is key when picking up players off the waiver wire, especially looking at what teams they play the last half of its season against.
Don’t pick up a running back that is facing three teams that have top-5 run defenses in the league over its last seven games.
If desperation has hit, look for running backs: LaRod Stephens-Howling from the Cardinals, Rashad Jennings from the Jaguars or Donald Brown from the Colts.
Stephens-Howling has become the primary back in Arizona, and while they may not have a great offensive line, he gets carries and receptions out of the backfield. He had over 100 yards against Minnesota and its No. 7 run defense.
Jennings has taken over the starting role in Jacksonville with Jones-Drew out on a week-to-week basis.
Donald Brown looked better as he received more carries over the weekend, and looks to have his job back.
Watch for wide receivers Santana Moss from Washington, Jeremy Kerley from the Jets and Danny Amendola from the Rams.
Moss has seen a lot of love from Robert Griffin III with Pierre Garcon out with an injury, and Moss seems to be Griffin’s go-to guy.
Kerley has had to step up his game with Santonio Holmes being out.
Amendola has been injured for the past three weeks and is sitting on most waiver wires. He is supposed to return in two weeks against the 49ers off the Rams’ bye week. He’s a solid pick-up now if you’re in need of a wide receiver.
Tight end Joel Dreessen from the Broncos and Scott Chandler from the Bills can be big pickups late in the season.
Follow these guidelines and owners should be able to make a final run into the playoffs.
These may not be the best players, but a 2-6 record calls for cleaning house.
Reach the columnist at email@example.com