BUY LOW/SELL HIGH: Players to target for the second half of the fantasy football season

Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY SportsBaker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. could be set for a big second half of the year, while Dalvin Cook and Lamar Jackson look likely to regress.
  • The NFL season is nearly halfway over, and it’s time for fantasy players to get their rosters prepared for the playoff push.
  • Through the first weeks of the season, plenty of players have stood out, both for exceeding expectations or falling short of them.
  • Some of these players will turn things around in the second half of the year.
  • Take a look below at our 24 players to buy low and sell high on for the rest of the fantasy season.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

We’re almost at the halfway point of the NFL season, and it’s time to begin thinking about the final moves your fantasy team will make while making a push for the playoffs.

Through the first six weeks of the season, plenty of players have exceeded their expectations, while others have fallen short.

Which of the breakthrough players are for real? And which struggling studs have the potential to turn things around?

By taking a look at which players’ numbers are sustainable, and which teams’ schedules are about to take a turn for the worse, we can get a good idea of who you should be targeting in trades as you finalise your roster.

Take a look below at our best players to buy low and sell high on for the rest of the fantasy season.

BUY LOW: Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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Through six weeks of the season, Carson Wentz is barely a top-10 fantasy quarterback, but there’s a reason to believe that he could be one of the top players in the league through the second half of the season.

Wentz has been playing without some of his top weapons since Week 1 when Eagles receivers began dropping like flies due to injury. With Alshon Jeffery back in the fold and DeSean Jackson set to return soon, the Philadelphia offence should start to look a bit more dynamic, giving Wentz a few more high-quality targets downfield.

SELL HIGH: Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

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Lamar Jackson has been something of a cheat code through the NFL. With his running prowess complimenting his improved passing this season, he has become one of the best fantasy quarterbacks in the league.

That said, it’s tough to imagine Jackson keeping up such a blistering pace. His three best games of the season came against the Dolphins, Cardinals, and Bengals – three of the worst defences he’ll see all season.

Further, during the critical stretch of the fantasy playoffs, Jackson will be facing off with the 49ers, Bills, Jets, and Browns – a far more treacherous stretch of defences than he’s seen thus far.

BUY LOW: Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns

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Baker Mayfield has been dreadful so far this year, inevitably leading to resentment among some fantasy owners who had hoped for a breakout year from the Browns quarterback. It’s even possible that he’s been dropped in your league by whichever team initially drafted him.

But take one look at the Browns schedule through the second half of the season, and you’ll see why he’s a buy-low player. After their Week 7 bye and trips to New England and Denver, Cleveland finishes the season beginning in Week 10 with this stretch: vs. Bills, vs. Steelers, vs. Dolphins, at Steelers, vs. Bengals, at Cardinals, vs. Ravens, at Bengals.

If you have any faith at all in Mayfield’s talent, he’s worth a shot.

SELL HIGH: Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

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Dak Prescott is another player to be wary of heading into the playoff stretch of the fantasy season. Prescott’s big numbers came in the first three weeks, with the Cowboys beating up on the likes of the Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins.

While Prescott will have a few more favourable matchups soon, between Weeks 12-14, he’ll be up against the Patriots, Bills, and Bears defences. With those weeks representing the start of the fantasy postseason and the make-or-break weeks that precede it, it might be best to invest in another quarterback now or possibly dump Prescott if you can find the right trade.

BUY LOW: Le’Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

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Le’Veon Bell’s start with the Jets hasn’t been spectacular, but he’s still been a top-15 running back in the league through six weeks.

That was coming against defences that could stack the box against Bell, unthreatened by the potential of Luke Falk, beating them through the air. With the return of Sam Darnold, the Jets offence should open up quite a bit, leaving more room for Bell to work his magic in the backfield, as well as play himself open in the passing game.

SELL HIGH: Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

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Nick Chubb has been brilliant for the Browns – really the only top-tier fantasy player that the team has produced so far this season. But while the second half of the season is a blessing for the team as the schedule becomes much easier, for Chubb, it also likely means losing carries to Kareem Hunt, who is set to return from suspension in Week 10.

Chubb will still be a valuable fantasy player, but the Browns didn’t sign Hunt not to use him, and are likely to get him involved once he’s eligible to play.

BUY LOW: Jordan Howard, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

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The Eagles have once again established a running back by committee, but Jordan Howard has played into the primary ball-carrier in Philadelphia, leaving Miles Sanders as the more relevant pass-catcher out of the backfield.

The return of the Eagles receivers means good things not just for their passing, but for their offence overall, as head coach Doug Pederson loves to open up the deep ball by establishing a running game early and often.

SELL HIGH: James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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James Conner and the Steelers have had a rough go of it since Ben Roethlisberger went down to a season-ending injury. However, they have forged on with backups Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges.

This has been tough on a lot of players in the Steelers offence. But thus far, Conner has been able to remain relevant for fantasy players as a top-15 running back through six weeks.

Still, it’s tough to see how Conner’s outlook improves from here. Fellow running back Jaylen Samuels is set to return from injury, eating into Conner’s carries. Opposing defences will also focus more on shutting down the running game until one of their quarterbacks proves they’re a real threat through the air.

If you can get value on Conner as a top-tier or second-tier running back the rest of the way, I would take it.

BUY LOW: Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

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The Cincinnati Bengals are not good this year, but Joe Mixon is still a talented back and capable of producing at a high level for fantasy players.

Mixon has scored just one touchdown this year, but that drought is bound to break eventually, and as soon as it does, Mixon’s value shoots back up towards that of a regular starter. It’s worth checking in with whoever has him in your league to see if he’s available.

SELL HIGH: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

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Dalvin Cook was the leading rusher in the NFL through the opening weeks of the season, but has taken a step back as Minnesota has leaned into its passing in recent games.

Cook is averaging a touchdown every game, a pace that feels untenable moving forward, and is likely to continue to cede usage in the Vikings offence to the likes of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.

There’s a good chance Cook still finishes the season as one of the top running backs in fantasy, but if you need help at other positions and have a buyer willing to pay top dollar, I wouldn’t be afraid to move him.

BUY LOW: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

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On pure skill, DeAndre Hopkins is one of the most talented receivers in the league.

After two touchdowns in the opening game of the season, Hopkins hasn’t found the end zone since. Hopkins a large enough target that the ball has to find him for a touchdown sometime soon.

SELL HIGH: Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Redskins

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Terry McLaurin has been a revelation for Washington this season, and if you were able to act fast and add him in your league, congratulations on grabbing a league-changing waiver-wire steal.

Still, McLaurin is averaging a touchdown every game, and with how few touchdowns Washington is scoring this year (they’re averaging just 15 points per game, ahead of only the Jets and Dolphins), it feels like the right time to sell on him if you can.

BUY LOW: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

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Like his quarterback Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. is another potential player to buy low on heading into the second half of the season.

Between a favourable schedule and an offence that inevitably has to turn things around, Beckham’s eventual ascendence feels like it’s coming soon.

SELL HIGH: Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

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Keenan Allen got off to a blistering start to the year, averaging 29 points per game through the first three weeks of the season. Since then, Allen has failed to hit double-digit fantasy points in three straight weeks.

The reality of Allen’s season exists somewhere between those two extremes, but I’m not especially high on the Chargers offence moving forward.

BUY LOW: Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

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Alshon Jeffery’s season was put on pause with injury for a few weeks, and his production was somewhat stunted in his return thanks to minimal usage and the fact that he was one of only two real targets that opposing defences had to eye.

But with DeSean Jackson set to come back and terrorize opposing safeties, Jeffery should have plenty of room to do what he does best.

SELL HIGH: Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

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Julian Edelman has the benefit of being Tom Brady’s most trusted target – a truth that is plain in the number of targets he receives every week.

But the Patriots depth chart is still working itself out, and it feels like the team will make a move for another star receiver at some point between now and the trade deadline. Edelman is the Patriots no. 1 receiver for now, but that might not be true for long.

BUY LOW: Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

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Thanks to some stellar play from tight ends around the league, Travis Kelce is just outside of the top-five players at his position through six weeks. But a look at the numbers underneath that truth, and Kelce will be back near the top in no time.

Kelce has scored just one touchdown this year and is averaging more than eight targets and 82 yards per game. He’s as consistent a player as you can find at tight end, and he’s bound to find the end zone sometime soon as soon as the Chiefs offence finds its feet again.

If his owner is open to a swap, jump at the chance.

SELL HIGH: Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers

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Hunter Henry made his return to action in Week 6 and announced his arrival with a bang, going off for eight catches, 100 yards, and two touchdowns.

Henry has a ton of talent, but it feels safe to say he’s already had his best game of the year, and the Chargers offence does not look like one to trust moving forward. If you picked him up recently of waivers and have another player in your league chomping at the bit to get him, it’s worth hearing the offer.

BUY LOW: Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

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Like his teammate Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz should benefit significantly from the Eagles offence being back at full strength.

Ertz has faced double-teams in the red zone regularly as the team’s most dangerous weapon in the absence of Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. His production should jump in the coming weeks.

SELL HIGH: Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons

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Austin Hooper has been an absolute machine, to a point where it’s difficult to imagine keeping up such an impressive pace. If you have Hooper on your roster, likely, you aren’t interested in getting rid of him at any point soon, but if there’s another tight end around the league you think is set to make the leap in the second half of the year, don’t dismiss moving Hooper for value at another position.

BUY LOW: Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets

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Chris Herndon hasn’t even played a snap yet this season, but his expected return to the Jets has quarterback Sam Darnold excited.

Darnold recently said that once Herndon is back, he believes the team can be “unstoppable as an offence.”

With a rapport like that, you’ll want to add Herndon now before he blows up.

SELL HIGH: New England Patriots defence

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The Patriots defence has been one of the biggest advantages a team can have in fantasy this season, averaging five more points a week than the second-best defence in fantasy, and nearly 10 points more than the third- and fourth-best defences in the league.

That dominance has been driven by a mind-blowing five touchdowns and 14 interceptions – numbers that are much easier to accomplish facing teams like the Dolphins, Jets, Redskins, and Giants.

With a tougher schedule and better quarterbacks on the horizon, there’s little chance the Patriots can keep scoring at the rate they have thus far.

BUY LOW: Cleveland Browns defence

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Conversely, the Cleveland Browns have a bright defensive future in the coming weeks, facing a cake-walk schedule with a fearsome front four that feels like it’s ready to come into its own.

Cleveland has lacked an identity, but a few big defensive plays in the next few weeks could go along way to ground the team moving forward.

SELL HIGH: Chicago Bears defence

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The Bears defence is great, but they will have to shut down the Cowboys, Packers, and Chiefs in Weeks 14-16 during the fantasy playoffs. If you’d like to avoid that fate, you might be able to get value for them now while they are one of the best fantasy defences in the league.

Now check out our Power Rankings for Week 7 of the NFL season…

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where every team stands heading into Week 7

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