Whether the first half of the fantasy football season was kind to you or not, it’s time to shift our focus to maintaining/achieving success down the stretch. Here are some potential second-half saviors that figure to be good buy-low season-long targets or value plays before they heat up (and their salary jumps accordingly).
Dion Lewis — RB, New England Patriots
LeGarrette Blount’s been fantastic this season, but the Pats are always going to use a change-of-pace RB as a receiving threat out of the backfield. James White’s been solid, but Lewis was elite last season prior to tearing his ACL. There’s a strong chance Lewis will outperform/get more snaps than White once New England comes out of its bye.
Terrance West — RB, Baltimore Ravens
West had a couple of big weeks for Baltimore after he was named the starter, essentially leading to Justin Forsett’s release. We haven’t heard from him for a couple weeks coming off a stinker against the Jets straight into the bye week. But with Kenneth Dixon the only real threat to steal carries, West should be a second-tier RB for a solid Baltimore offense during the back half of 2016.
Theo Riddick — RB, Detroit Lions
If you’ve been paying attention you know Riddick’s had back-to-back stellar games, but they were separated by a two-week absence. The most encouraging aspect of Riddick’s return, however, were the 52 snaps he played in Week 8 (next in line was Zach Zenner with nine snaps). It looks like Detroit plans on featuring Riddick the rest of the way, making him a legit starting RB in fantasy (particularly in PPR).
Corey Coleman — WR, Cleveland Browns
After a breaking his hand in practice leading up to Week 3, things are finally looking up for the rookie. Coleman was coming off an impressive game in which he turned eight targets into a 5-104-2 stat line as Josh McCown’s top target. Coleman is now fully cleared and could be getting McCown back for Week 9. He’ll be primarily a home-run threat for a Browns offense that’s constantly in a hole.
Michael Thomas — WR, New Orleans Saints
The rookie has seen just one fewer target than Brandin Cooks this season, even hauling in six more passes than the No. 1 WR. Thomas is rapidly becoming one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets, especially on the road. Look for Thomas to emerge as an equal to Cooks in the second half.
Donte Moncrief — WR, Indianapolis Colts
Moncrief returned after six weeks on Sunday and led the Colts’ WRs in snaps and caught a touchdown. Andrew Luck relies on Moncrief in the red zone, hooking up for a score seven times in their last 10 games together (per Adam Levitan). With T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett lacking size, Moncrief should remain Luck’s favorite red-zone target.
Jonathan Stewart — RB, Carolina Panthers
After an underwhelming start to the season, Stewart’s returned from injury to carry a huge load for the Panthers. In his two games back (which were split by the bye week), J-Stew carried the ball 44 times for 180 yards and four touchdowns. I mentioned the bye week because the rest between games may have factored into the heavy usage, but Stewart will be a much bigger factor going forward.
Alshon Jeffery — WR, Chicago Bears
Jeffery hadn’t caught a TD pass all season entering Week 8. He hadn’t even topped 100 yards since Week 1. The key to the equation when it comes to Alshon’s success is Jay Cutler. With Cutler back at the helm Jeffery had 61 yards and a touchdown against a stout Minnesota defense. As long as Cutler is Chicago’s QB, Jeffery seems trustworthy as a top-tier WR.
Darren Sproles — RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Good news for Sproles owners — he’s going to be the starting RB for the Eagles from here on out. Sproles out-snapped Ryan Matthews 62-8 on SNF against the Cowboys. After carrying the ball 12 times in the previous three games, Sproles gained 86 yards on 15 carries versus Dallas. It looks like he’s the unquestioned starter until we hear otherwise.
Dez Bryant — WR, Dallas Cowboys
After having a tough time getting going early in the season, Bryant missed three games, yet the Cowboys didn’t miss a beat. Back in action last Sunday against the Eagles, Bryant posted an impressive 4-113-1 line. Bryant is a fantastic buy-low candidate and far under-priced, especially factoring in the 14 targets he received on SNF. His production should only increase as he gets more work with rookie Dak Prescott.
For questions or comments hit me up on Twitter @julianedlow.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.