We've reached the halfway point of the 2012 fantasy football season, and while things may be going according to plan for some fantasy owners, the script for this season has gone flying out the window for many others as injuries and poor performances have wreaked havoc on fantasy rosters.
For those teams, trying to find start-able options has been made even more problematic by the fact that six NFL teams will be taking Week 7 off, but here's a trio of somewhat under-the-radar options set to leave their fantasy owners smiling this week.
Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys (at CAR)
Week 6 in the NFL wasn't kind to the running back position, with a pair of top-10 fantasy backs going down with injuries, beginning with DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys, who suffered a foot injury that will sideline him for this week's matchup with the Carolina Panthers.
That means that fifth-year pro Felix Jones, who rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in relief of Murray last week, will draw the start against the Panthers, and the 25-year-old told Calvin Watkins of ESPN that he's glad to be back in action despite the circumstances:
"I’m excited to be back playing," Jones said after practice. "I’m just happy to be out here with my teammates. Just go out there and prepare and get ready for the Carolina Panthers, keep getting better, keep working on the things that makes us go out there and win these ballgames and continue to fight."
The Panthers have been an especially tasty fantasy matchup for opposing running backs this season, allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to the position. Given that, Jones is an excellent fantasy RB2 option for teams that were fortunate enough to scoop him off the waiver wire.
Montario Hardesty, RB, Cleveland Browns (at IND)
Murray wasn't the only prominent fantasy ball-carrier that went down last week, as rookie running back Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns was forced from the team's win over the Cincinnati Bengals with a rib injury that leaves his status for Sunday's tilt with the Indianapolis Colts in doubt.
Richardson remains hopeful that he'll be able to go this week, but should he miss the game, the 25-year-old Hardesty, who gained 56 yards and scored a touchdown on 15 carries last week, will be ready to rock, according to Bob Finnan of The Morning Journal.
“I knew my number would be called at some point,” Hardesty said. “I wanted to go in there and get positive yards. I wanted to leave my mark on the game. This is a long season. I prepared every week to come in and play. When I got my opportunity, I was ready."
The Colts defense just allowed over 150 rushing yards and three touchdowns to New York Jets running back Shonn Greene last week, so should Richardson miss the game, Hardesty becomes a viable RB2, and even should Richardson take the field, Hardesty could see enough touches to at least warrant consideration as a desperation flex play.
Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets (vs. NE)
Injuries have already taken a toll on the New York Jets offense as well, and with top wide receiver Santonio Holmes sidelined for the rest of the season, it has fallen to players such as second-year pro Jeremy Kerley to pick up the slack in Gang Green's passing game.
The 23-year-old Kerley has answered the call, racking up 12 catches for 116 yards over the past two weeks, and as the former TCU standout recently told Kimberley Martin of Newsday, all he ever wanted was the opportunity to show what he could do in the NFL.
"I want every pass, I want everything to come my way, only because I feel like—not to say I'm the game-changer or anything—but I want to take it upon myself to show my team that they can trust me."
Kerley should have ample chances to show both the Jets and fantasy owners what he's capable of this week when New York hosts the New England Patriots, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this year.