Fantasy Football Community: What You Waitin' for? [Duds to Studs]

Jacob SloanSenior Analyst IOctober 26, 2008

We've reached the middle of the fantasy football season, and some of you might be looking at your beautifully-drafted team with disgust. More than one "stud" from last year has left teams hanging in the wind when they needed points.

Drafting guys like Braylon Edwards, LaDainian Tomlinson, or Peyton Manning high hasn't paid off for owners. If these guys continue to disappoint on your roster, they'll lose even more games for you. That said, you don't want to give up on them just before they get back to their old ways.

So who is going to turn it around?

The Bleacher Report fantasy football community weighed in on which former studs will escape their "dud" performances in the first half of the season.

Don't worry, Torry Holt owners. Barrett Harger put his faith in Holt, now that the team has started to move in a less winless direction:

He's been a model of consistency in years past but hasn't been featured much in the passing game so far. Jim Haslett wants to utilize Holt more, and I think the team will come out and play harder after the bye week.

Holt wasn't the only Ram that got some love from the fantasy footballers. Jamal Collier picked Steven Jackson as his comeback kid to start dominating in the second half.

Jackson is an elite talent who can run and catch the ball, and is the undisputed focus of his offense. He is also under a new head coach who knows that Jackson is a major key to victory on a week-to-week basis.
Five more games this year against the NFC West doesn't hurt either.

Injuries have turned Seattle into a miserable shadow of their former self, but Buddy Smith predicts Seahawks fans and Matt Hasselbeck owners will like what they see to end the season:

People in Seattle are starting to give up on the Seahawks, and some fantasy owners have lost hope that Matt Hasselbeck will ever return to form. Let's not all jump off the Ship Canal bridge just yet. There is a glimmer of hope for the Seahawk's signal caller.

The injuries Seattle has sustained at wide receiver are well known at this point. Branch, Engram, Obomanu...Even guys from the practice squad got hurt.

Weeks ago, Billy McMullen and John Carlson were the primary targets for Matt Hasselbeck. One year ago, neither of those guys was in the NFL. If McMullen is your No. 1 receiver, there's going to be an adverse effect on your point production.

But off in the distance, I see green gloves clapping. Deion Branch is wearing them, and he'll be back on the football field for what seems like the first time in decades with Hasselbeck soon. Bobby Engram is already back and posted eight receptions in his return.

I'm looking for Matt Hasselbeck's numbers to dramatically improve over the last half of the season. He's not going to set any records, but he should play much better now once he has a few weapons again.

But before Hasselbeck can return to form, he has to get healthy. When he returns to the field, Zach Fein backs up Buddy's thoughts on the former stud:

He was never a stud or a dud. He was never sexy or hyped, nor was he a good quarterback in most people's minds.

But he's always been a dependable, top-seven quarterback. Sure, past results don't mean anything for this year, but you can count on Matt Hasselbeck to bounce back from his atrocious start and become a top-10 QB the rest of the way.

Look, I know he injured his knee, and I know he hasn't passed for over 200 yards thus far in any one game. But he has back Bobby Engram, who had 94 catches last year and eight last week in his first game of the year. Plus, he'll have Deion Branch.

And his remaining schedule is an easy one. The 'Hawks even get the Rams, Jets and Cardinals in the last three weeks of the season, and all of them are in the bottom six against opposing QBs.

Simply said, look past the stats and to the main point: If you can buy low on Hasselbeck, don't even think about it. Do it, and you'll be rewarded greatly in the second half of the season.

Michael Whooley, one of the Bruno Boys, is looking forward to seeing a healthy Ryan Grant return from his bye this week to wow fantasy owners once again.

There's no doubt that Ryan Grant's owners are not excited about the way the Packers' back has started the season. Grant, who came out of nowhere last season to total 956 rush yards, 145 receiving yards, and 8 TDs in just 7 games started, tallied just 22 fantasy points in his first five games.

Do not be quick to pull the trigger on a trade that will send Grant packing. Much of Grant's disappointment can be traced to a hamstring injury. Grant did not play these first games at 100 percent. The promise can be seen in his Week 5 outing against the Falcons in which Grant was able to hammer out 83 yards on 18 carries.

Look for the Packer back to continue to improve each and every week back to the level of stud-dom you drafted him at.

Peyton Manning was one of the most reliable options in fantasy football until this season. His underwhelming performances have left owners wondering if they can trust him anymore. Junkyard Jake of JunkyardJake.com fame thinks you can:

As offensive lineman Jeff Saturday and Tony Ugoh return to health, and the Colts gain more consistency from the running game, Manning should once again go back to averaging about 2 TDs along with his approximately 250 yards per game. Currently, his yardage is holding up, but he is averaging only 1 TD per game.

It also helps that the Colts face Cincinnati and Detroit in the critical Week 14 and Week 15 fantasy playoff weeks.

I'm throwing my backing behind Peyton Manning as well, for the second half of the season.

The Colts' offensive line injuries and Manning's recovery from two knee surgeries limited his effectiveness through the first half of the season, but the Colts will turn it on here in the second half to get back into the playoff hunt this year.

Besides the Steelers, the Colts remaining matchups are very favorable for Manning and the passing game. In the second half of the season, they will face the Patriots, Steelers, Texans, Chargers, Browns, Bengals, Lions and Jaguars before facing the Titans again in Week 17, usually not a week fantasy owners have to care about.

If you can still "buy low" on Manning, you should consider taking that chance. And if you have banished him to your bench, better weeks are ahead.

Unfortunately for Braylon Edwards, he doesn't have Peyton Manning throwing him the ball. Facing a tough schedule, Derek Anderson's quarterback play has fallen down a notch or two...or three.

Brett Williams thinks you should stick it out.

Although we could debate his status as a "stud" since his greatest and most stud-like numbers only arose in 2007, this guy is simply too good to remain in the basement.

His performance in the Monday night game against the Giants is a glimpse of what he has to offer when the Browns offense is running on all cylinders. This requires the rushing game to continue pounding it down the throats of defenders and Anderson to step up and perform as he did last season.

The Browns matchups are mediocre with Denver, Houston and Indianapolis.  I have a feeling Edwards is going to shine in those games and will definitely be a factor in the rest.

The law of averages should dictate and we will see Braylon producing figures that bring him back to top-five WR status in 2008.

If you're plotting your domination of the second half of your fantasy football season, you might look to Peyton Manning, Matt Hasselbeck, Steven Jackson, Braylon Edwards, or Torry Holt to help you out. They've done it in the past, and the Bleacher Report fantasy football community likes their chances to make it happen again.

While they weren't my "dud to stud" pick, I'm also expecting LaDainian Tomlinson and Randy Moss to return to reliable production in the second half of the season—granted, with Randy Moss, you're just not going to get the same production as when Tom Brady was throwing him the ball.

Which former stud are you counting on to save their season and your fantasy football season?

 

Jacob Sloan is the fantasy football community leader of Bleacher Report and editor-in-chief of Fantasy Football Fools. You can email him 24/7 at jacob [at] fantasyfootballfools.com for fantasy football lineup advice, hilarious YouTube links or the secret to beating the last stage of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.