For most people, we're officially more than halfway through the fantasy regular season. By Week 8, we've been able to separate the good players from the one-week wonders, we generally know how teams allocate touches, we know which players we can rely on from week to week and which we can't and so on. You know what you have and what you need as a fantasy owner, and it's time to either ride your current roster to a championship or make trades to improve it.
At Football Outsiders, we also pretty much know at this point which defenses are great, good, average, bad and horrible. Therefore, it's time once again to present midseason fantasy strengths of schedule based on our DVOA measure of play-by-play efficiency (explained here). Below, I've listed the easiest and toughest schedules from Week 8 to Week 13 according to pass defense DVOA and run defense DVOA through Week 7. You can use this information to identify players worth buying low via trade, as well as those worth selling high.
If there's one player that every conceivable indicator says to acquire at the moment, it's Andre Johnson. From the table, we see Houston has the fourth-easiest passing schedule over the next six weeks. But there's more; much more. First and foremost, Johnson is on pace for his worst full season since his rookie year, so his perceived value is already in the dumps. To make matters worse (but better for you), the Texans are on a bye this week.
After the bye, however, there's only one road block standing between Johnson and a record-setting five-week stretch: a matchup against Chicago's No. 1 pass defense in Week 10. Otherwise, Houston's other four opponents through Week 13 have an average pass defense DVOA ranking of 27.8.
In terms of a player you must unload immediately, Shonn Greene is the obvious choice. He's the guy who was supposed to be great, has been very good every once in a while, but kills your fantasy team the vast majority of the time with 20 carries for 50 yards and no touchdowns (not to mention his total absence in the passing game). Well, two weeks ago he posted his "very good" performance, and last week his "vast majority of the time" performance (16 carries for 54 yards) was masked by a 1-yard touchdown. Put simply, the ire fantasy owners feel toward him is as soft as it's ever going to be.
If you have him on your roster, that's something to take advantage of given his remaining schedule. Over the next three weeks, he plays a Miami Dolphins run defense ranked third in DVOA, then has a bye and then faces the No. 2-ranked Seattle Seahawks on the road. For icing on the cake, he faces No. 4 New England in Week 12, and both of his other two opponents before the fantasy playoffs (St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals) are in the top half of our rankings.
So grab Johnson and dump Greene. Now, here are the featured matchups for Week 8: