By Matt Cott, Matt Schwimmer, & Moe Koltun of RotoAnalysis.com
As we near the midpoint of the fantasy football season, the league is stocked full of shockers and disappointments. After bringing you our studs and duds at the running back position last week, here are some wide receivers that you should look to over or underperform the fantasy public’s expectations in the second half.
2nd Half Stud: Josh Gordon, Browns WR
The supplemental draft pick started the season slow with 2 fantasy points per game in the first 4 games of the season; however, he’s really turned it around in the last 4 games, averaging 12.5 per game in that span. Gordon has emerged as Brandon Weeden’s top target, and even though he only has 17 receptions, his big play ability should remind fantasy owners of receivers like Vincent Jackson and DeSean Jackson in that he will provide a ton of value in leagues that are not PPR-based. Gordon has a very favorable schedule in the second half and should continue his recent success to be a great flex or WR3 option.
2nd Half Dud: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals WR
For a guy drafted as the #2 WR off the board in many leagues, Fitzgerald has been a huge disappointment in the first half. Unfortunately for his owners, I believe he will be just as bad, if not worse, in the second half. The Cardinals’ inconsistent quarterback play has clearly held back one of the most physically talented athletes in the league, and defenses are able to focus on Fitzgerald as the only true weapon on the team’s offense. FFToolBox.com ranks the strength of schedule for each position in terms of fantasy, and the Cardinals are listed as having the toughest road for wide receivers the rest of the way. With matchups against strong secondaries like the Rams, Jets, Seahawks and Bears (in the week 16, many league’s championship matchups), stay away from Fitzgerald.
2nd Half Stud: Denarius Moore, Raiders WR
Moore began the year as a popular sleeper pick, but struggled early in the season due to a nagging hamstring injury. While Carson Palmer may not be the league’s most efficient (or talented) quarterback, he isn’t totally useless yet, especially for fantasy purposes. Palmer throws more than his fair share of picks, but he also throws touchdowns—specifically, 4 touchdowns to Denarius Moore in his last five games. With that consistent production, I think it’s time to consider Denarius Moore a legitimate top-15 option for the rest of the season. The Oakland offense had a pretty tough schedule against pass D’s in the first half, and going forward they have a top 10 easiest schedule in the league in that regard. You should start Moore in almost any matchup, but particularly in games where Palmer is expected to throw a high volume of passes against a poor secondary.
2nd Half Dud: Marques Colston, Saints WR
I like Marques Colston’s talent, but he’s an extremely frustrating player to own in fantasy. In the first half, the Saints offense had a slightly easier-than-average schedule against the pass, leading to some precedented explosive games against bad defenses from Colston (31 against San Diego and 21 against Green Bay), and also some expected stinkers. In the second half, the Saints face way fewer exploitable pass D’s, with the fifth hardest schedule against the pass the rest of the way. If you are able too, I’d recommend selling high on Marques Colston, ideally to someone who hasn’t experienced the roller-coaster ride (and subsequent crash) it is like to be his owner.