Fantasy Football: 20 First-Half Busts Who Will Rebound In Second Half

Drake Oz@drakeozbrSenior Writer IINovember 1, 2010

Fantasy Football: 20 First-Half Busts Who Will Rebound In Second Half

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    BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 10: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens awaits the snap against the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. Players wore pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Ravens defea
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Fantasy Football has the tendency to ruin some of my Sundays. 

    Yeah, I love the NFL, and I love watching every touchdown of the day on NFL RedZone.

    But I often spend most of the day agonizing over poor performances from players I thought would carry me to a fantasy championship.

    Chances are that you have one of those guys on your team, too.

    Don't worry. There are plenty of players who had sub-par first halves of the season, but should perform well the rest of the way.

    Let's take a look at 20 guys who've been bustsat least based on where they were draftedbut will rebound for big second halves.

20. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 31:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers in action against the New York Jets on October 31, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The Packers defeated the Jets 9-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/G
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    I put Aaron Rodgers at No. 20 on this list so I could get the debate out of the way.

    Aaron Rodgers has pretty good stats so far, but 12 touchdowns, nine interceptions and just two 300-yard games isn't great considering where he was drafted.

    He was gone in the top six or seven picks in both of my drafts, and I know I wouldn't be happy with that pick if Rodgers only finishes the season with 24 touchdowns and four 300-yard games.

    All that being said, Rodgers will most certainly rebound, with a friendly schedule against some defensively challenged teams remaining. 

19. Chad Ochocinco, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 31: Vontae Davis #21 of the Miami Dolphins defends Chad Ochocinco #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals as he catches a pass during the NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Chad Ochocinco probably isn't all that excited about teaming up with his buddy Terrell Owens anymore.

    Because T.O. catches all the touchdowns.

    He has five, all coming in Cincinnati's last four games.

    But Ochocinco has just two touchdowns all season despite being on pace to top 90 receptions and 900 receiving yards.

    The Bengals will probably continue to fall behind and have to throw the ball all over the place, so I'm expecting Ochocinco to catch a few more touchdowns along the way.

18. Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 10:  Brent Celek #87 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on October 10, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Brent Celek has all but disappeared from Philadelphia's offense.

    The Eagles tight end has just 21 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns through the team's first seven games.

    And Michael Vickor Kevin Kolb, if the quarterback carousel keeps spinninghas a lot of weapons to choose from; he's not going to throw the ball to DeSean Jackson every time.

    Celek will have 30-35 catches and three or four touchdowns the rest of the way.

17. Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints

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    SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 20:  Pierre Thomas #23 of the New Orleans Saints in action during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    With all due respect to Ladell Betts, Julius Jones and Chris Ivory, those guys are nothing more than a rental until a healthy Pierre Thomas returns.

    Thomas hasn't played since Week 3 due to injury, but he should return soon and he can only improve upon his terrible stats from the first three games.

    He had just 147 yards and a touchdown with 3.2 yards per carry. 

    That's not going to continue.

16. Eddie Royal, WR, Denver Broncos

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  Eddie Royal #19 of Denver Broncos in action during the NFL International Series match between Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on October 31, 2010 in London, England. This is the fourth occasion wher
    Warren Little/Getty Images

    Excuse my language, but what the hell happened to Eddie Royal?

    The guy was a fantasy waiver wire star last year, but he has been lost in the shuffle this year in Denver.

    His numbers aren't bad for what he is (427 yards and two touchdowns), but I thought he would be the Broncos' star receiver, rather than Brandon Lloyd.

    On really nothing more than a whim, I'm going to say Royal turns his season around and catches four or five touchdowns the rest of the way.

15. Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24:  Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals fumbles the ball against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Cedric Benson looks like he's running through quicksand lately.

    Benson actually has carried the ball 20 or more times in five of the Bengals' seven games, but he's topped 100 yards just once and scored three total touchdowns.

    He does still have two meetings against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he also has very favorable matchups remaining against Cleveland, Indianapolis and Buffalo, which has the league's worst rushing defense.

14. Jason Campbell, QB, Oakland Raiders

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 31:  Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders claps his hands after the Raiders scored their last touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 31, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra S
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Jason Campbell looked like the old Washington Redskins version of himself in his first four games as a Raider.

    He threw four interceptions to just two touchdowns and found himself in the middle of a quarterback controversy.

    But alas, Campbell seems to be rebounding with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last two games.

    He's got a nice little schedule the rest of the way too, with games against Denver, Kansas City and Jacksonville, all of whom struggle against the pass.

13. Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Beanie Wells #26 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on October 24, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    After missing the first two games of the season, Beanie Wells has gradually worked his way into the Arizona Cardinals' offense.

    And it seems like Wells will be the feature back for the Cardinals rather than Tim Hightower.

    Wells has 50 carries in the team's last three games while Hightower has just 11.

    Wells has gotten into the end zone in each of the last two games as well, which could be an indication that Wells will continue to be used as the team's primary back for the remainder of the season.

12. Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears

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    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears drops back to pass against the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field on October 24, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Redskins defeated the Bears 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Jay Cutler has started the season slowly, with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.

    But he is learning a new system under Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz, and the Bears will clearly be a pass-heavy offense.

    I'm not sure that they have the greatest personnel for that, but Cutler won't have four more games with one or zero touchdowns like he did in the first half.

11. Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons in action against  the Philadelphia Eaglesduring their game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Up until Week 7, Michael Turner had just one touchdown all season.

    But against the Cincinnati Bengals, Turner topped 100 yards for the third time this season and reached the end zone twice.

    That's the Michael Turner we've grown accustomed to seeing, and he's got two games remaining against Tampa Bay's horrific run defense to keep that going.

10. Chris Cooley, TE, Washington Redskins

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    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24: Chris Cooley #47 of the Washington Redskins runs pursued by Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 24, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Redskins defeated the Bears 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Ima
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    When Donovan McNabb went to Washington, a lot of people assumed that he and Chris Cooley would form one heck of a combination.

    While they've been decentthey've hooked up 39 times for two touchdownsI think the Redskins were expecting bigger things, at least touchdown-wise.

    Without a whole lot of options in the passing game, it wouldn't be surprising to see Cooley emerge as McNabb's favorite target later in the season.

9. Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami Dolphins

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    MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 26:  Receiver Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins shouts during a game against the New York Jets at Sun Life Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Hey Miami, where's the end zone love for Brandon Marshall?

    He has just one touchdown all season despite having at least eight receptions on three different occasions and five receptions in all but one game.

    Marshall does have two 100-yard receiving games and is on pace for 1,200 yards, but Chad Henne has targeted Davone Bess a lot more lately.

    I think that will change as the two get more familiar with each other. They've only played seven regular season games together.

    Plus, it really has to change if Miami wants to win.

8. Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  Jaosn Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Jason Witten wasn't being targeted all that often with Tony Romo behind center for the Dallas Cowboys, but Jon Kitna has looked to his tight end early and often.

    Witten has 19 catches for more than 190 yards and two touchdowns the last two weeks with Kitna taking most of the snaps.

    Though Witten only had one touchdown catch through his first five games, it looks like he's already busting out of his shell on his way to a big second half.

7. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

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    BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 10:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball against the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. Players wore pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Ravens defeat
    Larry French/Getty Images

    I almost traded for Ray Rice after my fantasy draft, but I'm incredibly happy I didn't pull the trigger.

    Rice has just one 100-yard rushing performance and two touchdowns, both of which came in Week 5.

    He does face some tough defenses later in the year, but I'd be willing to bet that he scores more than two touchdowns the rest of the way.

6. Steve Smith, WR, New York Giants

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    HOUSTON - OCTOBER 10:  Wide receiver Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants goes up high in front of cornerback Glover Quin #29 of the Houston Texans in the first half at Reliant Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Im
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Steve Smiththe Giants' version, that iswas a fantasy football darling last year, but he's lost that title to teammate wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.

    Nicks is tied for the NFL lead in touchdown receptions while Smith has just two touchdowns, although he does have two 100-yard receiving games.

    That's all the more reason to expect big things from Smith.

    With teams starting to key in on Nicks, that should open up some big play opportunities for Smith.

5. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 24:  Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 24, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Jamaal Charles may have exploded for more than 230 all-purpose yards this week, but he'd been incredibly quiet up to that point.

    Charles still has just two touchdowns on the season, and the Chiefs have loved screwing Charles out of carries by handing Thomas Jones the ball a bit too many times.

    OK, I'll admit that I'm a bit sour because Charles is on my team.

    Anyway, maybe Kansas City will finally realize that Charles' 6.5 yards per carry average isn't a fluke and start handing him the ball more often.

4. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

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    DETROIT - OCTOBER 31:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass during the fourth quarter of the game against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field on October 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Redskins 37-25.  (Photo
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    I'm not really sure you can call Matthew Stafford a bust because he hasn't played much this season, but I'll let that slide and put him on this list.

    Stafford returned to the Detroit Lions this week and threw for 200 yards and four touchdowns.

    With Calvin Johnson on his side and the Lions lacking the ability to run the ball, Stafford should be a huge waiver wire pickup this week.

3. Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 31:  Running back Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Qualcomm Stadium on October 31, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gros
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    How many fantasy football owners have been going nuts this season after jumping on the Ryan Mathews bandwagon?

    He's disappointed, to say the least, with just 340 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

    Well, Mathews is finally getting double-digit carries and seems to be adjusting to the NFL the last couple of weeks.

    He'll only get better as the season progress, and he has some favorable matchups down the road.

2. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 03:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a pass against the Washington Redskins on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    I've come to the conclusion that if you're injured and you miss a bunch of games in the first half of the season, you can be considered a bust.

    So Michael Vick, you're a bust, albeit one who just happened to have six touchdowns and zero interceptions in less than four games' worth of action.

    Obviously, Vick's health will be a big question mark, but the guy was on fire before going down.

    He was running and passing effectively. Let's see if that continues.

1. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans

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    HOUSTON - OCTOBER 17:  Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans makes on move on cornerback Brandon Flowers# 24 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Reliant Stadium on October 17, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Andre Johnson has been slowed by injuries all season and has just two touchdowns.

    But he's still Andre Johnson and is arguably the best wide receiver in the game.

    If he's fully healthy, look out.

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Houston has two games remaining against Jacksonville's 28th-ranked pass defense.