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Bounce-back Candidates

Fri Aug 16 10:05am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Dalton could surprise this year


For the most part, winning your fantasy league means taking a few chances. You can win by playing it safe but playing it safe isn't going to work most of the time. So thinking outside the box a little is a good way to put your team over the top.

One way to think outside the box is to look at some bounce-back candidates. These are guys that underperformed last year or the previous few years, but seem primed for a better season. They are important players to grab because these players carry less value come draft day. Bounce-back players can become great values for fantasy teams as the season progresses. Here are a few of our favorite bounce-back candidates for the coming season. You might want to target some of them come draft day. 

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions. Stafford had a season to forget last year, finishing 20th overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He was a top-10 fantasy quarterback three straight seasons before last year, though. The Lions had injury issues last year and made some trades for the future, so things were stacked against him as the season progressed. He can get back to his big ways this year and is a good buy-low candidate for fantasy teams. The track record of success is certainly there for Stafford.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals. The Bengals were a bit of a mess last year, but Dalton was producing. He missed the five games because of injury but if he plays a full year, he has 31 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards. New head coach Zac Taylor is an offensive minded coach that should be a plus for the offense and Dalton. This offense could be a lot better with Taylor running the show. Don’t discount Dalton to have one of his better seasons as a pro.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans. Mariota struggled with injury last year, posting pretty poor numbers throughout the season. He did have a career best 69 percent completion percentage, though, which is encouraging. He is over his arm issues now and has some new weapons to work with offensively. The Titans have assembled a lot of talent at receiver, which is a big plus for Mariota. He also gets back a healthy Delanie Walker. Mariota has the potential to have a career season.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars. Fournette was a bust last year. Many had high hopes for him to be an elite No. 1 back but injury issues and ineffectiveness while on the field marred his season. He is back healthy this year, though, and seems to have a chip on his shoulder. Remember, he had nearly 1,400 total yards as a rookie. He also has little competition for touches, which bodes well for his production. Fournette is setup for a big year three in Jacksonville.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings. Cook has played 15 games in two seasons. He has been a disappointment to date but showed flashes last year. He had 920 yards in 11 games and averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Cook just needs to stay healthy. If that happens, the sky is the limit for him, especially in this offense. He can be an elite fantasy back. His stock might never be this low again. Grab him while you can.

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins. Parker had another disappointing season last year, getting just 309 yards in 11 games. He was in the dog house much of the year and didn’t get the playing time as expected. He is the most talented receiver on the roster, though, and a new coaching staff should be a plus for him. He can work his way into good graces with the new staff and be the top target in the passing game. Parker certainly has the talent to be a big-time NFL player. He is worth the risk at a very reasonable price. He could lead this offense in targets.

Ted Ginn, WR, Saints. Ginn missed most of last year with injury, playing just five games. He had three of five games with 50-plus yards, though, and caught six passes for 102 yards in the playoffs. Ginn has a chance to be the No. 2 receiver in this offense. And even if he isn't starting, he will have a role. He knows the offense and had three straight seasons with 700-plus yards before last year. 

DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. Jackson was erratic last year with the Bucs. He started really fast but struggled most of the rest of the season. He even missed some time because of injury. He gets a fresh start with his old team this year, heading back to the Eagles. He will start in this offense and should be the top big-play threat for the team. Jackson had his best years with the Eagles, so don’t be surprised for a big rebound season. He is always capable of the big game. 

Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins. Reed didn’t play a full season once again, missing three games because of injury. He did have 54 receptions, though, which was a nice rebound from the previous year. He is a big part of this offense and should see plenty of targets. HIs big issue continues to be his health. But if on the field, Reed will produce. He could even lead this team in targets. The Redskins lack top options in the passing game. Reed will get plenty of work when he is on the field. 

Delanie Walker, TE, Titans. Walker broke his ankle last year, playing just a game. He had at least 800 yards four straight seasons before last year. He is going to be 35 years old before the start of the year, but the time off last year might help him have one more big season. He is a big part of this passing game and will get plenty of weekly looks. The Titans added more weapons at receiver this offseason, but Walker might remain Marcus Mariota’s favorite target. At a position that is weak, Walker has good potential for fantasy teams at a pretty good price tag. 

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Emmanuel Sanders Sep 16 6:50am ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders pulled in 11 of his 13 targets for 98 yards and a touchdown during the Week 2 loss to the Bears. It was Sanders second game in a row in which he has scored while also accounting for both of quarterback Joe Flaccos touchdowns on the year. He will continue to have his number called by Flacco and should retain his must-start designation (in most leagues) in the weeks ahead. Keep him rolling.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Sep 16 6:40am ET

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay finished with 36 yards on 13 attempts to go along with four receptions (seven targets) for 30 yards. The 25-year-old continues to split carries with fellow running back Royce Freeman, who took away 11 potential carries while eating up some targets from quarterback Joe Flacco. Until either man demonstrates a stable workload moving forward, they shouldnt be considered a reliable fantasy option. Keep an eye on this situation in the weeks ahead.

From RotoBaller

Royce Freeman Sep 16 6:20am ET

Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman rushed for 54 yards on 11 carries during the loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. As usual, Freeman split carries once again with Phillip Lindsay, who rushed for 36 yards on 13 attempts, with both men also combining for nine receptions. Unless there is an injury, expect both players to contribute equally in the weeks ahead, with both retaining little fantasy value at the moment.

From RotoBaller

Joe Flacco Sep 16 6:00am ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco went 35-for-50 for 292 yards and a touchdown, connecting with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders late in the fourth quarter in the loss to the Bears. The veteran, who played just nine games in 2018 while still a member of the Baltimore Ravens, is posting a 69.1 completion percentage and 91.6 passer rating, with both being career-bests in his first season in Denver. However, he retains little fantasy value outside of deeper leagues or two-quarterback formats, at least until he starts throwing a few more touchdowns.

From RotoBaller

Austin Hooper Sep 16 5:20am ET

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had just four receptions for 34 yards during the Week 2 win over the Eagles. After pulling in all nine of his looks against the Vikings in Week 2, Hooper cooled off and was barely targeted on Sunday night despite quarterback Matt Ryan throwing the ball 43 times. Hooper will attempt to get back on track in Week 3 for a meeting with the Colts. He is a borderline-start.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Sep 16 5:10am ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley pulled in eight receptions (10 targets) for 105 yards and a touchdown during the Week 2 victory over the Eagles. It was yet another promising showing for the sophomore wideout as he has now recorded 12 receptions and two scores on the year. Look for him to continue to get his looks from quarterback Matt Ryan in the Falcons pass-heavy offense. He remains a must-start against the Colts in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Julio Jones Sep 16 5:00am ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones pulled in just five of his 10 targets on Sunday against the Eagles, but still finished with 106 yards and two scores, including catching a 54-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter. After an uneventful Week 1 showing against the Vikings, the veteran wideout managed to get it together for a much-needed win against Philly. With three touchdowns in the books for Jones, the Falcons will meet up with the Colts on Sunday. Jones remains a must-start.

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Devonta Freeman Sep 16 4:50am ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman rushed for just 22 yards on 11 attempts during the Week 2 showdown with the Eagles, but he attempted to offset those numbers by pulling in three receptions for 42 yards. Nonetheless, it was still a relatively disappointing showing for the 27-year-old who has rushed for just 41 yards on the year. After playing only two games in 2018, Freeman hopefully shook off any remaining residual rust over the first two weeks and will attempt to get things going against the Colts on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Sep 16 4:40am ET

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had an up-and-down game on Sunday night against the Eagles. Despite throwing for 320 yards and three touchdowns, the veteran also tossed three picks that nearly led to Atlantas second loss of the season. Nonetheless, Ryan was able to shine when it counted most and connected on a 54-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. With five touchdowns and five interceptions on the year, Ryan will look to get on track against the Colts in Week 3. Keep him starting.

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John Brown Sep 16 4:00am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown pulled in seven of his eight targets for 72 yards in the win over the Giants. For the second week in a row, Brown led the team in looks from quarterback Josh Allen. He should be on the radar in all fantasy leagues, regardless of format, as Brown and No. 2 wideout Cole Beasley will likely continue to gobble up most of the teams receptions. Look for him to keep it going against the Bengals in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Cole Beasley Sep 16 3:30am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley hauled in all four of his targets for 83 yards during the win over the Giants on Sunday. It was another relatively productive outing for Beasley, who has served as quarterback Josh Allens No. 2 receiving option behind John Brown by compiling nine receptions (13 targets) over the first two games of the season. With Robert Foster being a non-factor so far in 2019, look for the former Cowboy to continue to get his looks in the weeks ahead.

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Frank Gore Sep 16 3:20am ET

Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore was the teams leading rusher during the Week 2 win over the Giants. While Devin Singletary got some touches, finishing with six runs for 57 yards and a touchdown, the 36-year-old also left a favorable impression by logging 19 carries for 68 yards and a score of his own. With Singletary injuring his hamstring in the fourth quarter, Gores fantasy stock could rise in the weeks ahead if the rookie isnt able to suit up. Keep an eye on this situation as Gore, along with T.J. Yeldon, could get some extra work in Week 3 against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.

From RotoBaller

Josh Allen Sep 16 3:10am ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was productive during the Week 2 win over the Giants. Allen was efficient across the board on Sunday, throwing for 253 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 21 yards and a score on seven attempts. The sophomore has been impactful during his tenure in Buffalo and became the first Bill since Jim Kelly to throw for at least 200 yards in seven straight games. If Allen is available in your league, the upside is there, especially if you are in need of a signal-caller in deep, two-quarterback formats.

From RotoBaller

D.K. Metcalf Sep 16 3:10am ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf kept the good times rolling in Week 2 as he juggled and grasped his first NFL touchdown. With a beautiful pass dropped right in on his hands as he faded towards the back corner of the end zone, Metcalf made it exciting by bobbling the ball twice before securing it and getting both feet in-bounds. Metcalf has been a bit of a revelation earlier after everyone was positive he was just a workout warrior who wouldn't be able to cut it as a receiver in the league. It's certainly still early, but it looks like he might have the goods to be a solid No. 2.

From RotoBaller

Jason Myers Sep 16 3:10am ET

Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers officially missed his first field goal attempt of the season on Sunday, but it was a 58-yarder, so no one's too upset. Myers did knock down a 46-yard kick in the second quarter, but it was negated by a penalty on Pittsburgh and later turned into a touchdown a couple plays later. Myers remained perfect on extra points, and he looks like he's still in fine form. Myers should be get plenty of field goal opportunities as the season rolls along, but for the team certainly won't be upset if he gets to pound through extra points at a nice clip too.

From RotoBaller

Will Dissly Sep 16 3:10am ET

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly had a big day on Sunday as he brought down a pair of touchdowns against the Steelers. The second-year player generated some excitement last season before he went down with an injury, and he's already been on a couple injury reports this year but this is his potential. Dissly's catches were both on easy straight shots right up the middle of the field, and they looked a whole lot like the types of plays fans always thought would head to Jimmy Graham when he was wearing a Seahawks jersey. If Dissly can establish himself as a solid red zone option, he could see a lot of action for Seattle. He'll need to stay healthy first though.

From RotoBaller

Chris Carson Sep 16 3:00am ET

The Seattle Seahawks were sitting pretty with a nine-point lead and less than six minutes left in the game when running back Chris Carson dropped the ball. Literally. With everyone in the stadium knowing that Seattle was just going to run out the clock, Carson simply missed grabbing the ball on a straight handoff when it was placed right in his gut. To make matters worse, the drop happened on the team's six yard-line. Pittsburgh recovered, scored on the next play, and Seattle fans chewed their nails as the team barely hung on to the win. This was Carson's second lost fumble of the game (though it was credited to Wilson, it was completely Carson's fault), and it's his third of the year. This is not a good trend.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Lockett Sep 16 3:00am ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett got a bit of attention last week after he was only targeted twice in the squeaked out win against the Bengals, but this should clear up that concern. Unfortunately, Lockett wasn't able to reach the end zone on any of the catches, but 10 catches on 12 targets should certainly remind everyone that Lockett's still one of Wilson's most dependable and favorite targets. The addition of D.K. Metcalf has obviously gone well so far, but Lockett is still the team's safety blanket when they really need that critical first down. He should still see plenty of chances and scores this year.

From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Sep 16 2:50am ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 300 yards on Sunday, hitting the number for just the second time in the last two years. Wilson completed a whopping 82% of his passes, spread the ball around to eight different receivers, tacked on 22 yards rushing including a couple critical runs in the fourth quarter, and even acted as the lead blocker on a touchdown. Wilson continues to be dependable and deadly accurate, like his drop in the bucket on D.K. Metcalf's touchdown catch, and he's well on his way to another strong season. Seattle's offense is always an adventure, but Wilson looks as solid as ever at the helm.

From RotoBaller

Rashaad Penny Sep 16 2:50am ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny may not get a ton of playing time, but he's certainly got his teammates on his side. Penny changed direction on a run and bounced it all the way to the other side of the line halfway through the third quarter. None other than Russell Wilson himself happened to be the only possible blocker hanging on that end of the line, so Wilson laid the wood as Penny scampered through the secondary and scored from 37 yards out. Penny tallied 25 more rushing yards on nine more carries, which wasn't terribly impressive, but he'll at least show up on highlight shows for being the lucky recipient of an elite QB clearing a path for him.

From RotoBaller