Everyone remembers Jamaal Charles and Jerome Harrison last year. They were probably not drafted or even owned the first month of the season, but they made the difference for many owners in the second half of the season.
This is going to happen every year, players will explode the second half of the season. Predicting exactly who is very difficult, but I have my eye on a handful of guys that I like a lot. Some of these guys are owned in every league, others are owned in hardly any leagues. But all of their arrows are pointing up for the second half of the season.
Tashard Choice, RB, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys' season is a disaster, but that doesn't mean it has to be a fantasy disaster. Coach Wade Phillips has already told Choice that his role will expand going forward. Marion Barber looks very slow and Felix Jones can't handle a serious workload without getting hurt.
Choice was fantastic during the fantasy playoffs in his rookie season (2008) and the Cowboys have some very run friendly matchups down the road. Their season is already over and it would make sense for them to see what they have in Choice before the offseason. He's probably available on your league's waiver wire and is worth a stash for a few weeks.
Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets
Those who drafted Greene in the second- or third-round are very disappointed. But he could still have an impact this season. LaDanian Tomlinson is old and has worn down at the end of the last several seasons. The Jets have Super Bowl hopes and will want to keep L.T. healthy and fresh for the playoffs.
Greene doesn't even need to overtake L.T. as the starter because as we have seen in Kansas City this year and Miami last year, teams can have two successful fantasy running backs at the same time. Owners may view Greene as purely a handcuff to L.T. at this point, letting you buy him very cheap.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
Another high draft pick that has been a disappointment this year. Mathews was slowed by injury which kept him from playing time and much-needed practice time. A similar situation to the Cowboys, if the Charger's season slips away from them they may look to get Mathews some more experience.
Tolbert and Sproles don't seem to be going anywhere, so expectations should be limited, but his role should expand going forward and his value is still very low.
Bernard Scott, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are another team that had high hopes this year only to see their season slip away before November. The Bengals have said that they want to get Scott more involved, but Benson has remained a true workhorse. Benson has struggled, though, and Scott has looked good in limited action.
As their season continues to fall apart, it wouldn't surprise me if Scott got some work down the road.
Anthony Dixon, RB, San Fransisco 49ers
When's the last time Frank Gore played all 16 games? That would be 2006. Gore is on pace for 328 carries, which would be a career-high. I'm skeptical he holds up.
Also, the 49ers are another team with playoff expectations only to become a complete disaster this year (do you see the trend?). Even if Gore manages to stay healthy, they could give Dixon more work to test him out in a season that is already over.
Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings' season is slipping away, but Childress will be trying to save his job and that means getting wins. I think Childress is an awful coach, and cutting Randy Moss will probably cost him his job (it almost did already), but he must be optimistic about Rice to make such a bold move.
Rice has returned to practice, is running full speed and cutting, which is a great sign. While he will not play in Week 9, he seems possible for Week 10 and likely in several weeks. Since Green Bay has been slowed by injuries, the division is still within reach and Vikings will try to get Rice back on the field as soon as possible.
Randy Moss, WR, Tennessee Titans (for now...)
What a crazy year for Moss, I'm not going to tell you all the details because every football fan already knows all of them and is getting sick of hearing them. But as a Moss owner, I am very optimistic about the second half of the season for him with the Titans.
Jeff Fisher is the perfect coach to get him in line, they have capable, if not outstanding quarterbacks, and defenses will still have to focus on Chris Johnson.
Moss has had a terrible season so far. How bad? He's on pace for 44 receptions and 626 yards for the ENTIRE season (he is also on pace for 10 TDs). I think those averages will improve significantly with Tennessee.
He has every reason to play hard: a coach he should respect, an elite team, and don't forget that he wants to get paid this summer. A strong second half would make a huge difference in how much he gets offered as a free agent. If you can get Moss for anything outside of a top-12 elite WR, I'd make the move.
James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers
Finley has been lost for the year and now Driver is hurt and has been ineffective in his last two games. Jones has been inconsistent, but has flashes of brilliance. If Jones is able to solidify himself as a consistent part of the Packers offense, he could be a solid fantasy WR going forward. Rodgers should certainly be able to produce more then one fantasy pass-catcher (Jennings). My money is on Jones over Nelson.
Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego Chargers
Similar to Sidney Rice, except there are no health concerns surrounding him. Phillip Rivers is on pace to set an NFL record for passing yards in a season. Jackson should be very productive when he returns in Week 12.
If you are already making the playoffs, it might be clever to trade a solid receiver for Jackson now (think guys like Crabtree, Bryant, Ward). For those of you concerned about Floyd, if Peyton Manning can support two or three fantasy wideouts, I think Rivers can easily support two.