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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
James White Sep 22 10:05am ET

Patriots running back James White has been ruled out for the Week 3 game against the Jets because his wife is expected to give birth, according to multiple sources.

Mike Hughes Sep 22 9:53am ET

Updating a previous report, Minnesota Vikings CB Mike Hughes (knee) will play in Week 3's game against the Oakland Raiders, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Antonio Brown Sep 22 9:50am ET

Free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown tweeted on Sunday that he's done playing in the NFL, citing the league's contract structure and the fact that teams can void guarantees. Brown's future in the league was already in question after being released by the Raiders and Patriots already this season while facing multiple claims of sexual misconduct, among other issues. While Brown's talent is obvious, his off-field issues have derailed his career and hurt numerous people in the process, and it would be a shock to see him on an NFL field again in 2019, if ever.

From RotoBaller

James White Sep 22 9:43am ET

New England Patriots RB James White has been ruled out for Week 3's game against the New York Jets because his wife is expected to give birth, according to multiple sources.

Fantasy Spin: Sony Michel is expected to receive the bulk of the carries in the New England backfield this week, with Rex Burkhead and possibly Damien Harris seeing additional offensive snaps due to White's absence. Only Michel is worthy of consideration as a starting option in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Teddy Bridgewater Sep 22 9:40am ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will start Sunday's Week 3 contest against the Seattle Seahawks, though the team intends to use Taysom Hill at times during the game. Heading into the weekend, head coach Sean Payton hadn't committed to a starter, though it was looking more and more like it'd be Bridgewater. This isn't an easy matchup and Bridgewater didn't set the world on fire when he came in as an injury replacement for Drew Brees last week, so it's fair to think of him as just a mid-tier QB2 despite the weapons around him.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Sep 22 9:33am ET

Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (calf) is not expected to play in Week 3's game against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Jeffery had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being unable to practice at all during the week. The Eagles' Week 4 game is on Thursday Night Football, so the team may decide to hold him out of action versus Detroit in order to give him a few more days to recover.

From TheHuddle

Dallas Goedert Sep 22 9:23am ET

Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (calf) reportedly looked better at practice Saturday, Sept. 21, and is currently considered a pregame decision for Week 3's contest against the Detroit Lions.

Fantasy Spin: Goeder had been listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in one practice session during the week on a limited basis. Fantasy owners should be able to find better options even if he is active for the game.

From TheHuddle

James White Sep 22 9:20am ET

New England Patriots running back James White (personal) won't play in Week 3 when the Patriots meet the Jets as he awaits the birth of his child. With White out, expect a healthy dose of Sony Michel on early downs and Rex Burkhead on passing downs. Michel in particular should see a ton of work in this game, as the Patriots project to go up big early and run the ball plenty in the second half. Burkhead gets a boost and looks like a high upside starting option in deeper leagues now.

From RotoBaller

Mark Andrews Sep 22 9:03am ET

Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews (foot) will participate in pregame warmups prior to Week 3's game against the Kansas City Chiefs before the team will know if he'll be able to play, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Andrews was listed as questionable on the injury report after taking part in two practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He has been one of the NFL's top-producing players at his position and should be started in fantasy leagues as long as he is active, especially since this afternoon's game versus the Chiefs could be a high-scoring affair.

From TheHuddle

Marlon Mack Sep 22 8:43am ET

Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack (calf) is likely to play in Week 3's game against the Atlanta Falcons but the team wants to see how he fares in pre-game warmups before making a final decision on his status.

Fantasy Spin: Mack was listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in one of the team's three practices during the week on a limited basis. He will continue to receive a great deal of action in the Indianapolis backfield, making him worthy of consideration as an RB2 in many fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

T Y Hilton Sep 22 8:43am ET

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps) is likely to play in Week 3's game against the Atlanta Falcons but the team wants to see how he fares in pre-game warmups before making a final decision on his status.

Fantasy Spin: Despite the quarterback change this season, Hilton has continued to play well, with 12 receptions for 130 yards and three touchdowns through his first two games. View him as a low-end WR1 or high-end WR2 in most fantasy formats.

From TheHuddle

Rashaad Penny Sep 22 8:33am ET

Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (hamstring) is not expected to play in Week 3's game against the New Orleans Saints, according to a source. He strained his hamstring during practice Friday, Sept. 20, and even though the injury is not believed to be serious, the team wants to err on the side of caution with his health.

Fantasy Spin: If Penny is sidelined, Chris Carson should see the bulk of the carries in the Seattle backfield this afternoon, with C.J. Prosise likely to see additional offensive snaps as well. Carson should be viewed as a viable RB2 option this week, while Prosise isn't worth starting in any fantasy format.

From TheHuddle

Denzel Ward Sep 22 8:33am ET

Cleveland Browns CB Denzel Ward (hamstring) is not expected to play in Week 3's game against the Los Angeles Rams, according to a source. He tweaked his hamstring during practice Tuesday, Sept. 17.

From TheHuddle

Teddy Bridgewater Sep 22 8:23am ET

Updating a previous report, New Orleans Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater is expected to get the starting nod for Week 3's game against the Seattle Seahawks, although QB Taysom Hill is likely to see some action during the game as well.

Fantasy Spin: Bridgewater is the better bet this week as far as streaming fantasy options go, while the bulk of Hill's action is likely to come in short-yardage and goal-line situations.

From TheHuddle

Robert Woods Sep 22 8:20am ET

Cleveland Browns lockdown cornerback Denzel Ward (hamstring) is not expected to play against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. Ward suffered a hamstring strain during practice this week and he is looking unlikely to take the field. Meanwhile, the team is more optimistic about rookie corner Greedy Williams (hamstring). If Ward is unable to play, that would be a huge boost to the Los Angeles wide receivers, namely Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks. In just over a year, Ward has established himself as one of the better lockdown corners in the NFL. His absence would create a huge void in the Cleveland secondary on Sunday night. You were probably starting them in season-long leagues anyways but both Woods and Cooks become much more interesting for DFS slates that include the Sunday night game.

From RotoBaller

Rashaad Penny Sep 22 6:30am ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (hamstring) isn't expected to play against the Saints. Though the injury, which occurred during practice throughout the week, isn't considered severe, the team wants to be careful with its No. 2 back. In his stead, C.J. Prosise will back up Chris Carsonon Sunday, with the former having relatively no fantasy value, however.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Sep 22 6:20am ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quad) may play against the Falcons, with the final decision coming before opening kick. The veteran receiver managed to practice throughout the week, although in a limited capacity, but will still be considered a must-start in virtually all fantasy formats on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Marlon Mack Sep 22 6:10am ET

Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (calf) is a game-time call against Atlanta. Mack returned to practice in a limited capacity on Friday after not participating the previous two days. Nonetheless, the team remains hopeful that the 23-year-old is in uniform on Sunday and would be considered a must-start despite going up against mediocre Falcons Defense. If he does sit, look for Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines to pick up the slack.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Sep 22 5:40am ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf) may still play in Week 3 against Detroit, but chances are slim that he will get a full workload even if he does. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) already out, Nelson Agholor and tight end Zach Ertz are expected to pick up the slack.

From RotoBaller

LeSean McCoy Sep 22 5:30am ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy (ankle) is expected to be in uniform on Sunday against the Ravens. The veteran's status was iffy coming into this one, but after practicing in full on Friday, he should take over as the No. 1 option in Week 3, with Darwin Thompson coming in for relief. McCoy is still a game-time call despite the recent revelation, so fantasy managers will want to monitor his status up until opening kick.

From RotoBaller