Guest of the League
ANEZ LEAGUE Est. 2017
NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Week 1 | NFL: Week 3

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
Le'Veon Bell Sep 20 10:20am ET

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell will face a tough test on Sunday against a Patriots Defense that is second in the league allowing only 37 rushing yards per game and has only allowed three points through two weeks. The Jets have had a hard time getting the running game going as Bell has only 128 yards through two games and is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. Where Bell has thrived, however, is the passing game as he's made 16 catches on 19 targets so far this season and should continue to be heavily targeted with third-string QB Luke Falk making his first career start Sunday. Despite the tough matchup, Bell has a high floor thanks to his role in the passing game and is as sure a bet as any running back to see 20-plus touches making him a must-start option.

From RotoBaller

Luke Falk Sep 20 10:00am ET

New York Jets quarterback Luke Falk is confident heading into his first NFL start despite facing one of the worst matchups possible, an away game at New England. Falk served as a backup in Miami last year so he knows Adam Gase's offense and Gase said they are prepared to let Falk throw downfield more after being conservative with him Monday night when Falk was forced into action a day after being on the practice squad. Falk was serviceable on Monday completing 20 of 25 passes for 198 yards but faces long odds on Sunday behind an offensive line that's given up eight sacks already this year and facing a defense that's given up only three points total. Falk has no fantasy value and the other Jets should be downgraded as well with Falk starting.

From RotoBaller

Giovani Bernard Sep 20 10:00am ET

Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard will serve as the backup to Joe Mixon on Sunday. As a result, don't expect much from the veteran when the Bengals face an effective Bills Defense. After almost starting for an injured Mixon against the 49ers, the 27-year-old was relegated to the No. 2 option and managed to finish with just six yards (six attempts) and one reception for seven yards. With Mixon likely to get the majority of touches against Buffalo in Week 3, Bernard should be benched in virtually all fantasy formats under 14 teams.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Eifert Sep 20 9:50am ET

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is still a sufficient option for those in need. Eifert pulled in just three passes during the Week 2 loss to the 49ers, but still managed to come up with a touchdown. The veteran was once one of the most productive tight ends in the league before a couple of injury-plagued seasons derailed his productivity. Nonetheless, he remains capable scorer as he has established a proven rapport with quarterback Andy Dalton throughout the years. Keep him rolling on Sunday, even against a tough Bills Defense in Buffalo.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Boyd Sep 20 9:40am ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd has a tough matchup ahead in Week 3 against a solid Bills Defense. Despite taking a back seat to John Ross after everyone was expecting Boyd to be the leading man, he has still been productive, nonetheless. The 24-year-old remains one of quarterback Andy Dalton's favorite targets in 2019 despite the emergence of Ross and has racked up 18 receptions (22 targets) for 182 yards. Though he hasn't scored a touchdown yet this season, his ability to make plays while accumulating yards still makes him a must-start on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Robby Anderson Sep 20 9:40am ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is in line for a tough matchup Sunday in New England against the Patriots. Anderson has been disappointing through two weeks with only seven catches for 104 yards and no touchdowns. Now he'll have to match up against a Patriots Defense that has owned Anderson in his career. In six career games vs New England, Anderson has 12 catches on 33 targets for 158 yards and no touchdowns. In addition to averaging only 26 yards per game against New England, Anderson will see plenty of Patriots All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore and catch passes from third-string QB Luke Falk. Wherever possible, fantasy owners should look to sit Anderson this week.

From RotoBaller

John Ross Sep 20 9:30am ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross looks to finally be on track this season after a few years that were filled with injuries and conduct issues. Ross, who went undrafted in a good majority of leagues this season, currently leads all receivers with 270 yards on the year to go along with 11 receptions (20 targets) and three touchdowns. Despite the difficult matchup against the Bills Defense in Week 3, the 23-year-old has been playing too well to sit. Keep him rolling on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Dion Lewis Sep 20 9:20am ET

Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis had another miserable performance, with his latest installment coming in the loss to Jacksonville on Thursday. With the Jaguars Defense rocking Marcus Mariota's world by coming up with nine sacks on the night, the offense had issues getting anything going. Lewis was no exception as he ran for just 13 yards on three attempts to go along with one reception for seven yards. Usually a semi-reliable PPR performer, Lewis has done little to appease those who picked him up this season. He has little fantasy value unless Derrick Henry gets injured, which is unlikely given his track record of remaining healthy over the years.

From RotoBaller

Vernon Davis Sep 20 8:10am ET

Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis will draw the start if Jordan Reed is once again inactive, and he's facing a decent matchup if so. The Bears have allowed 15 receptions to tight ends for 133 yards and a touchdown. The question any fantasy owner must ask themselves if considering Davis for Week 3 is simply: how lucky do I feel? Davis has been targeted just 11 times in two games as Washington's primary tight end, and if you take away his 48-yard touchdown in Week 1, he's got six catches for 40 yards. If you're among those who have been decimated by O.J. Howard's lack of production at the position and missed out on the marquee waiver-wire pickups, at least there's a matchup here for Davis in a game where the Redskins should have to throw a ton. Even so, banking on his minimal target share through two weeks to yield a big day is quite the Hail Mary this early in the season.

From RotoBaller

Trey Quinn Sep 20 8:00am ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn has seen 13 targets through two games. His team's inability to run the ball suggests he could be looking at another relatively high target share on Monday night. The Bears allowed the fourth-most receptions to opposing wideouts last season, and just got carved up by Emmanuel Sanders last Sunday. Quinn could be looking at the volume to return a decent fantasy outing on Monday night, though he hasn't quite produced at a high enough level to consider him unless you play in a deep PPR league. For those in 10 or 12-team leagues, keep an eye on his involvement in a game the Redskins might be forced to air it out often.

From RotoBaller

Paul Richardson Sep 20 8:00am ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson has seen just 10 targets in two weeks. Despite Case Keenum having attempted 81 passes, Richardson just hasn't seen enough volume to believe he's in line for a big night against the Bears on Monday. Terry McLaurin, Trey Quinn, and Chris Thompson have combined for a target share near 60%, making it clear (at least for the time being) that this pass offense runs through the three of them. Richardson is a touchdown-dependent receiver that allowed just 14 of those to wideouts in 2018.

From RotoBaller

Terry McLaurin Sep 20 7:50am ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin has impressed in his first two NFL games, hauling in 10 of 16 targets for 187 yards and two touchdowns. His Week 3 opponent is the Bears, who just allowed Emmanuel Sanders to have his way against them last Sunday: 11 catches, 98 yards, one touchdown. Assuming it's business as usual in terms of the Redskins failing to get going on the ground, it stands to reason that Washington will be forced to throw the ball often on Monday night. McLaurin appears to be Case Keenum's favorite target early on, so even against a tough secondary, there is hope for fantasy-friendly volume. For everything the Bears do right defensively, they've been middle-of-the-pack since the beginning of last season in production allowed to opposing wide receivers. I'd exhaust all other options before considering McLaurin in the flex spot, but the potential is there on Monday night.

From RotoBaller

Chris Thompson Sep 20 7:40am ET

Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson leads the entire team in targets with 18. He's caught 12 of them for 116 yards. Thompson might be Washington's only hope out of the backfield against the Bears, who have looked every bit like the run defense we expected coming into 2019. If Chicago has bent anywhere, it's been in the short passing game. They've allowed 12 receptions for 93 yards to opposing running backs. Considering Thompson's early involvement and the Redskins' near-total inability to establish the run in either of their first two games, Thompson could be in line for another big-time target share on Monday night. You're not going to feel ecstatic about any player on a below-average offense against Chicago, but Thompson does provide some promise in this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Case Keenum Sep 20 7:30am ET

Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum has looked better than most thought he would as the new signal-caller, completing just under 70% of his passes for 601 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. Keenum could reasonably be expected to chuck it early and often on Monday night, considering the Redskins' nonexistent running game and the Bears' rush defense. Just keep in mind this is the same Chicago pass defense that held Aaron Rodgers to 18 completions on 30 attempts for 203 yards and a touchdown. Keenum's early production has certainly earned him some attention in the fantasy community, but let's wait until his team shows some offensive balance and/or they get past this tough early schedule before considering him in lineups.

From RotoBaller

Adrian Peterson Sep 20 7:20am ET

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson had minimal success other than a short touchdown run against the Cowboys in Week 2. On Monday night, he'll face a Bears Defense that has permitted just 64.5 rushing yards per game to opposing backs and no rushing touchdowns. The Redskins have provided us with zero evidence that they have the ability to establish the run against defenses that excel at taking it away. Adrian Peterson does not belong in fantasy lineups for Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Washington Redskins Sep 20 7:10am ET

The Washington Redskins Defense has its softest matchup of the young season in the Chicago Bears on Monday night. In a perfect world, you could trust this unit to get the job done as a streamer in a week when a few of the better fantasy defenses in the league have tougher matchups (Chargers/Texans, Browns/Rams). If anything, this Monday night game looks less like Washington's first win and more like Chicago's first chance to break out on offense. Washington has been torched by the Eagles and Cowboys for six straight quarters. The Bears have the second-best OL/DL matchup in the league in terms of pass protection. If Mitch Trubisky is going to put a dreadful first two games behind him, Monday is the time to do it.

From RotoBaller

James O'Shaughnessy Sep 20 6:10am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end James O'Shaughnessy had two receptions for 18 yards during the win over the Titans on Thursday, pulling in a touchdown pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew II early in the first quarter. The 27-year-old still hasn't done enough to justify his presence in virtually all formats, however, but fantasy managers will want to keep an eye on his progress in the weeks ahead.

From RotoBaller

Chris Conley Sep 20 5:50am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Chris Conley pulled in a season-low three receptions for 30 yards in the win over the Titans. Conley's performance has dwindled since Week 1 where he recorded six receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs. He isn't a reliable week-to-week option, but he still could have a place on fantasy rosters in deeper formats. Look for him to turn things around against the Broncos in Week 4, hopefully.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Brown Sep 20 5:30am ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (knee) managed to play but caught just one of his five targets for four yards during the loss to the Jaguars on Thursday. To his credit, quarterback Marcus Mariota faced an onslaught from the Jaguars Defense as they recorded nine sacks on the night. As of now, Brown has little value outside of 14-team leagues and shouldn't be relied upon for consistent production until he, along with the rest of the Titans' offense outside of Derrick Henry, can turn things around.

From RotoBaller

Corey Davis Sep 20 5:20am ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis caught three passes (four targets) for 44 yards during the loss to Jacksonville in Week 3. Davis, along with the rest of the team, couldn't get anything going on Thursday as the Jaguars Defense smothered quarterback Marcus Mariota by compiling nine sacks on the night. At the moment, the 24-year-old has relatively no value in all fantasy formats until he starts producing, which is something that likely won't happen anytime soon.

From RotoBaller