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This weekend marks the halfway point of the regular season for most fantasy owners. We all have a pretty good idea about what the strengths and weaknesses of our teams are. The goal now is to improve your team and find out which players to target, who have had a slow first half of the season but are poised to breakout in the second half.
I've put together a list of 'Second Half Heroes' that owners should target in the upcoming weeks. Some of these players have been hurt and are about to get healthy again, while others have disappointed for a variety of different reasons. Let's take a look at some of the 'Second Half Heroes' owners should be targeting.
Aaron Hernandez was listed as questionable on last week's injury report but did not play in the latest Brady/Peyton confrontation. Either way, Hernandez is getting closer to returning. He's already been practicing this week. Targeting someone with the injury history of Hernandez is risky, but we all know he's a great talent when healthy. We all read the reports over the summer that he had become Brady's favorite target and he showed that in Week 1 with seven targets, which resulted in a 6/59/1 line. If you can find an impatient Hernandez owner and get a good deal on him, he's a real difference maker, who can be worth the risk.
Mathews owners have been having a collective freakout with the new presence of Jackie Battle as part of a regular rotation. Battle's even started the last two weeks. Plus, you throw in Mathews' injury troubles through the years and you're right to feel stand-offish about this Charger.
And yet, watching him Sunday night on a national stage against the Saints, Mathews looked tremendous, finishing with an impressive 139 total yards and a touchdown. Looking at the upcoming schedule for the Chargers, one can see that great days are ahead. He's got Denver (21st against the run), Cleveland (Ahmed Bradshaw ran for over 200 yards on them last weekend), the Chiefs (22nd against the run), and the Bucanneers (23rd against the run). And let's not forget his Week 16 Dream Superbowl matchup with the Panthers. If he can stay healthy, he could be the most dominant running back in the second half.
Count me among those that think Mark Sanchez will at some point this season be replaced by Tim Tebow. There is an argument to be made that Sanchez hasn't been really given a fair shot with all of his weapons injured like Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller. This is irrelevant for fantasy purposes, though.
What is relevant is that Tebow scored 18 total touchdowns last season and he can score points in a variety ways; from rushing yards, passing yards, passing touchdowns and rushing touchdowns. It might not look pretty from a reality perspective, but from a fantasy perspective, he was excellent for owners last year. If you have the roster space, Tebow is available on most waiver wires and can be had on the cheap for now.
Coming off a 1-catch performance against the Jets, AJ's trade value is starting to get interesting. The Jets shutdown corner, Antonio Cromartie, did a great job covering him and it shouldn't be looked at as AJ's losing a step.
Besides, he has remained relatively healthy, for him, over the first part of the season and the second half of his schedule looks to be a lot easier. He's got teams like the Jaguars, the Lions, the Titans and the Colts in the second half. He's a somewhat risky buy-low option because of his health issues, who could still pay dividends for owners come playoff time.
When Crabtree was drafted last summer, he wasn't drafted as a starter, going around the 10th round in most leagues. And yet, despite all the hype of the 49ers signing Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, Crabtree has put together a quietly effective season, culminating in his 113 receiving yards/1 touchdown game against the Bills last Sunday.
He has another nice matchup this weekend against the Giants. He's become a solid WR3 for fantasy purposes and is the kind of player you slip into a big six-player trade and get him at a nice value. The week before his big game against Buffalo he had two catches for 15 yards so there are still going to be those weeks where you're scratching your head. With the right matchup though, he's an excellent bye week fill-in and should be targeted by owners.
Cobb's put together two good games in a row and has 11 catches, 148 receiving yards and a touchdown in his last two contests. With Cedric Benson out, Cobb might also see some time as the 3rd down back in the Packers' offense. He's also a threat to score with kick-off and punt returns and already has a special teams touchdown this year. With all the major injuries the Packers have, losing Benson and Greg Jennings seemingly eternally injured, Cobb has a real chance of being a 'Second Half Hero,' not only for an increasingly desperate Packers team but also for fantasy owners as well.
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