Statistics are obviously what fantasy sports are all about. But don't lose sight of the fact that stats only tell you about a player's past – they don’t necessarily serve as a crystal ball into his future.
Looking ahead is vital to winning a championship. Based on their remaining schedules, here are five players I like during the second half of the season, guys you might want to consider targeting in a trade or on the waiver wire.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego
Ranked 17th in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks, Rivers has not been himself this season. He has missed having his favorite target, the future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates. But now Gates has returned, and the Chargers have a favorable slate ahead – five of their next six games are against defenses ranked 19th or worse against the pass.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee
Not that it's much of an excuse for the disappointing start to Johnson's season — we assumed the speedster was immune to otherwise unfavorable matchups — but Johnson has faced a tough stretch of run defenses so far. While his schedule still has a couple of potholes ahead, Johnson also will have the pleasure of taking on Indianapolis twice as well as Carolina, Tampa Bay and Buffalo.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas
After Murray’s 253-yard coming-out party Sunday, most fantasy owners are asking if the rookie is for real. No one knows for sure, but what we do know is that if he holds on to the starting job, he'll have an opportunity to prove himself against a soft slate — six of the Cowboys' next nine games are against run defenses ranked 20th or worse.
Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets
Holmes has been frustratingly inconsistent so far, finishing three games with three or fewer fantasy points in standard-scoring formats. However, two of Holmes' lousy outings came against top-10 pass defenses – something he won't face for the rest of the season. In fact, after the Jets return from their bye week, they will play Buffalo (30th vs. the pass), New England (dead last), Denver (19th) and Buffalo again.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver
The Broncos are looking for a new No. 1 wide receiver after trading Brandon Lloyd to St. Louis, and quarterback Tim Tebow targeted Thomas 10 times in Week 7 – more than any other Bronco. Seven of Denver's 10 remaining games are against defenses ranked in the bottom half of the league at stopping the pass. But consider yourself warned: Thomas has struggled to stay healthy.
Ryan Chatelain (email@example.com) is amNY's fantasy football columnist.