It’s a been a long season so far for many fans. The 2016 NFL Season has had its ups and downs, and has been an emotional rollercoaster for fans and fantasy owners alike. This year, like most others, was determined to shake things up for anyone who tried to predict good teams and players at the beginning of the season. We are headed into Week 11 and who would've thought that the former NFC Champion Panthers would be sitting at 3-6 and on their way to a disappointing end of the season. Who could have seen a rookie running back leading all Flex eligible players in fantasy points through 10 weeks; and while I did hear the arguments for Ezekiel Elliott being the best running back in the preseason, no one saw this kind of performance coming. Some of these surprises are good, and some are bad; if you’re a Jets fan like myself, you’ve been tearing your hair out for 10 straight weeks. On the other hand, if you drafted a fantasy team like mine, you may be screaming at the TV every Sunday. It’s been a tough season for people like me, but a glorious one for Cowboys fans and Jay Ajayi believers. It’s been such a great season that it's hard to believe the fantasy football playoffs are just a few weeks away. Most leagues will begin their playoffs in week 14, so it's a good time to start analyzing your roster think about what players you want to keep and what players you want to avoid in the playoffs. This article will give you some insight on which players to trade for, with the playoffs coming soon.


Quarterbacks to Target

Philip Rivers, SD: It’s been an up and down season for the Chargers offense who have looked great at times but have stumbled at others. With the loss of Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, the season looked to be a bust for Rivers, but coming out of week 10 he has averaged a healthy 16.4 fantasy points per game in ESPN standard scoring leagues. His numbers haven't been off the charts but he has 20 touchdown passes through 10 weeks. The turnovers have been a bit of a concern, but of his 10 games, he’s gone without an interception in five. While Rivers only has two games of over 20 fantasy points he has never posted a game under 11 points.  The good news for Rivers owners is that his consistency should remain in contact the rest of the season and there may be a few explosive games on the way. Of his four playoff games, three should be easy for Phil to explode, with games against a depleted Carolina secondary, a shootout with Oakland (which in his first matchup he posted 26 fantasy points), and a team that needs no introduction, the Browns. The only problem I have with targeting Rivers in the trade market is his Week 17 matchup against Kansas City; when he played the the Chiefs in Week One he posted a modest 13 fantasy points. I think he might be able to do a little better than 13 points in their second matchup but don't expect a huge game against an always solid Chiefs secondary. Target Rivers to provide for you the rest of the season just keep in mind the matchup he has if you make it to the fantasy championship game.


Cam Newton, Car: I still think it’s too early to label the former MVP a ‘bust’ in fantasy this year. Even though he isn't in the Top 10 in standard leagues he has still posted some great games. Cam comes out of Week 10 having posted four 20 plus fantasy point games this season, be aware that is the same amount that Andrew Luck and Marcus Mariota have this year as well. Newton also missed one game due to injury and has already had his bye week. The time to grab Cam is now following a 23-point outing against the Chiefs. The rest of the season fairs very well for SuperCam with his only tough matchup coming in Week 13 in Seattle. Get Newton this week before he plays against the depleted Saints defense on Thursday, and in a shootout against the Raiders in Week 12; after the next two weeks, it’s going to be hard to pry Cam away from any current owner. The versatile QB should also thrive in the fantasy playoffs with a shootout against the Chargers, a shootout with the Redskins, a shootout against the Falcons, and yet another shootout against Tampa Bay. Don't quote me on the four consecutive shootouts, they might not happen, but it does sound like four high scoring games in which Newton should thrive. Trade for him before it's too late.


Jameis Winston, TB: Winston has only two games this season with over 300 yards but is somehow still fantasy relevant in 10 team leagues, that comes from six multiple touchdown games out of the nine total games he has played. Since his Bye in Week 6, Jameis has thrown 10 touchdown passes compared to only two interceptions, coming to an average of 19 fantasy points per game in ESPN standard scoring leagues.  Winston seems determined on getting the ball to Mike Evans in the red zone and he should have no problem doing that in the fantasy playoffs. He is only owned in 72.4% of ESPN leagues so he may very well be on your waiver wire this week in your league. The next two weeks may be tough with a trip to Kansas City and a home game against the Seahawks, but after Week 12 it should be smooth sailing for Winston and his Owners. From weeks 13-17 he will have a good matchup against San Diego, followed by extremely great matchups when he plays the Saints in Weeks 14 and 16, with a game in Dallas Week 15, and he ends the season with the Panthers coming to town. The only matchup that could have been questionable was the Dallas game, but after seeing how Big Ben torched the Cowboys defense for 400 yards and three touchdowns I am not worried about throwing Winston in my lineup.

Running Backs to Target

Jonathan Stewart, Car: Another Carolina player makes the list as the team embarks on its easiest stretch of games so far this season. Coming off of two lackluster performances against the Rams and the Chiefs, expect Stewart to get back to his scoring ways starting with a prime matchup against New Orleans. Just like his teammate Cam Newton, the time to buy is now for these Panthers stars. Stewart should finish off the season in strong fashion with the easiest running back schedule the rest of the way according to the Obviously his best matchup the rest of the way comes Thursday against the Saints, but expect the scoring to continue with games against Oakland, San Diego, Washington, Atlanta, and a Week 17 matchup against divisional rival Tampa Bay. The only game I didn't include in there was a Week 13 matchup against Seattle, expectations should be low that week, but after the three touchdowns LeGarrette Blount scored last week there should be hope that a decent game occurs. Buy into Stewart betting that the touchdowns will come and the yardage will get back on track, and know that he will be a RB1 for your team the rest of the way, only of course, if he can stay healthy.


Mark Ingram, NO: Looking back to the NFC south there is another running back that owners should have their eyes on the rest of the way. New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram is in line to finish strong, with an inconsistent year so far. Unlike the Panther players in this article, it's not necessary that you snag him before their Thursday night matchup; Carolina is currently the second best rush defense in the league right now and I don't expect this to be a good game for Ingram. This should make it a great buy low time for owners seeking out Ingram as the Saints face off against the Rams in Week 12, which should be a better game with the team allowing over 100 rushing yards per game. Looking at his matchups for the fantasy playoffs, he has two games against Tampa Bay, a road game in Arizona, and a Week 17 trip to Atlanta. It's important to realize that the three road games are actually a boost for Ingram; looking at his home/road splits there is a sizeable difference in production.  Ingram averages an entire yard per rush better on the road, 5.3 compared to an uninspiring 4.2 at home. While some of that difference can be accounted to a 75 yard run he had on the road, it is still important. The most promising part about the road games is that of his five total touchdowns this year, only one has come at home; both of his rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns have come on the road. Some of this boosted production may come from Drew Brees play away from the Superdome, and while Drew has improved this year on the road, he still is not as dominant, which makes the run game that much more important. Grab Ingram after Thursday, hopefully at a discount, he can be a solid RB2 for you the rest of the way; his only real downside is the presence of Tim Hightower and how much they plan to use him down the stretch.


Lamar Miller, Hou: An underwhelming season thus far for Miller, who given his extremely high workload has only produced 3 total touchdowns this year. Owners of Lamar Miller have been waiting for him to pop all season, and while a 28-point effort against the Colts was exciting, he has found himself back in his uninspiring ways in the weeks following. Owners will hope for him to get on track the rest of the season but who knows what he has coming in terms of production. If the Lamar Miller owner in your league is looking to get rid of him, it won't hurt to inquire about the star running back. While the Texans haven't had a tough schedule thus far, it helps to know it may actually be getting easier. Even with the touchdowns seeming to be non existent, it's important to know that Miller has still been a good runner and he will continue to get a large share of rushes every game. Just realize that this guy is not as much of a workhorse as he was early in the season, he has not topped 20 carries since Week Six, but he also hasn't fallen below 11. An average of 15 touches per game is more than enough to make him a low end RB1 the rest of the way, and that is what I view him as. The Texans have a great slate of games during the fantasy playoffs where they will play the Colts, Jaguars, Bengals, and the Titans. The Week 17 matchup isn't favorable in Tennessee against the seventh best rush defense; but the other three matchups feature defenses that are in the bottom half of the league in stopping the run. If you plan on buying into Miller you have to hope the touchdowns start coming with a turnaround in the Texans offense as a whole; but if they come, you will be thankful you believed in Lamar Miller.


Wide Receivers to Target

Terrelle Pryor Sr, Cle: An odd choice for this article when I tell an owner to go and seek out a player on the 0-10 Browns. Believe it or not, the Browns passing offense has produced more yards than nine other teams, and is ranked 19th in passing touchdowns this year. While these rankings aren't great, it shows that just because the Browns can’t win a game, doesn't mean their players can't help you win. Terrelle Pryor come into Week 11 as the 13th ranked wide receiver in standard scoring on ESPN, and while he still hasn't had his bye week he should finish the year around that position. Even with Cleveland's quarterback woes, it's important to know that Pryor is tied for eighth in targets with players like Jordy Nelson and Odell Beckham Jr. If the Browns can help him find the end zone a few more times, Pryor may be able to crack the top 10 by seasons end. With a Bye in Week 13, he will be refreshed for the fantasy playoffs against some not so great pass defenses. Cleveland plays Cincinnati and Buffalo in Weeks 14 and 15 which aren't ideal for Pryor seeing how they both are in the top half of pass defense this year; but ending the year with San Diego and Pittsburgh is exciting seeing how they both rank in the top 8 in pass yards allowed. Invest in Pryor to bolster your wide receiver slots for the playoffs, just don't expect anything crazy, he’s only as productive as the Browns allow him to be.


Tyrell Williams, SD: San Diego hits their Bye in Week 11 with Tyrell Williams tied with Terrelle Pryor in fantasy points this year, but the two couldn't be any more different. While Pryor has been a target monster this year for a bad offense, Williams has not had nearly as many targets on a good offense. The main difference between them is how they are both used; Williams is the primary deep threat on San Diego averaging 16.7 yards per catch, which ranks ninth in the league, while Pryor's 12.3 average is 62nd in the league. Pryor gets targeted much more though coming in tied for eighth in targets while Williams comes in tied at 27th. However you look at it, you’ll be lucky to snag either player, but Pryor's floor is higher the rest of the year, while Williams ceiling is higher. Going after either player is encouraged, or maybe even go after both if you’re feeling ambitious. To talk strictly about Williams now, he is eighth in receiving yards coming into Week 11, and while his Bye week will drop that ranking it shows you that Williams is legit as one of Philip Rivers top targets. The fantasy playoffs should be great for Williams as the Chargers face the Panthers, Raiders, Browns, and Chiefs, three of which rank in the Top Nine of pass yards allowed. Williams should be more consistent as the season finishes up and he moves away from his boom or bust label. Go and get Williams with confidence that he’ll produce WR2 numbers the rest of the way.


Jamison Crowder, Wsh: Coming off of a Bye Week Crowder didn't perform nearly as well against Minnesota as he had the previous three games, but it is encouraging to know that with his fifth touchdown of the year Kirk Cousins continues to look for him in the red zone. Emerging as one of Cousins favorite targets, Crowder has surpassed Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson this year and will continue to lead a pass heavy offense along with Jordan Reed. While Garcon does have a few more targets than Crowder it is important to know that the latter makes much more of his catches averaging just over 13 yards per catch compared to around 11 by Garcon. The Redskins passing offense has really hit its stride over the past month and Crowder has been reaping the benefits by producing a 23/304/3 line over his past four games. At this rate Crowder is projected to approach 1000 yards receiving and nine touchdowns to finish the year. I believe those numbers can be even higher with his finals four games where he will face off with the Eagles, Panthers, Bears, and Giants. With a fantasy schedule like this you should have no problem slotting him in at your WR2 spot. Crowder is currently a top 20 wide receiver and I expect him to keep that, with a shot at cracking the top 15. Go out and get Crowder knowing he should be a reliable fantasy option all the way through the fantasy playoffs.

Published by Collin Moran