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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
Seattle Seahawks Sep 15 12:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) is inactive in Week 2 against the Steelers. Ansah will have to wait another week to make his debut with the team. The Seahawks are being very cautious with the injury-prone pass-rusher, but he should be back soon. It's good news for Ben Roethlisberger and company as they look to bounce back from their 33-3 drubbing at the hands of the Patriots last week. Big Ben will have QB1 appeal this Sunday, while fantasy owners are best off leaving Seattle's defense on the bench.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Kroft Sep 15 12:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft (foot) is inactive in Week 2 against the Giants for the second straight week. Kroft is improving, though, and should be able to make his season debut in Week 3. However, Kroft will be a bottom-barrel TE2 whenever he does suit up. Rookies Tommy Sweeney and Dawson Knox will continue to split snaps at the position in the meantime. Neither of them are options in redraft leagues, although they have some stash appeal in dynasty/keeper formats.

From RotoBaller

Mike Williams Sep 15 12:10pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (knee) is active for Week 2 against the Lions. It was reported early Sunday that Williams would likely be just a red-zone threat for the Bolts on Sunday if he played. That means that the Chargers will predictably lean on running back Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen with tight end Hunter Henry (knee) out indefinitely. Williams is an extremely risky and touchdown-dependent WR4/5 while playing through his injury. Travis Benjamin has a better shot at big-play potential with Williams' snaps being limited, but he's an even worse flex option in deep leagues.

From RotoBaller

Andy Isabella Sep 15 12:10pm ET

Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Andy Isabella is a healthy inactive for Week 2 against the Ravens. The 22-year-old didn't have a single target in Week 1 and is well behind fellow rookie teammate Keesean Johnson on the depth chart. He also has Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Michael Crabtree and Damiere Byrd ahead of him, so Isabella definitely belongs on the waiver wire in redraft leagues. The only place you're stashing him is in dynasty/keeper leagues. Expect the Cardinals to mix in the veteran Crabtree more against Baltimore, which hurts the upside for Johnson.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Sep 15 12:10pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram (shoulder), tight end Mark Andrews (foot) and rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown (hip) are all active in Week 2 against the Cardinals, as expected. All three players had huge weeks in the season opener and could all shine again against a weak Cardinals Defense at home. Ingram has clear RB1 upside in what could be the team's second straight blowout win. Andrews is a firm TE1 after rookie T.J. Hockenson lit up Arizona's D last week. Brown is the most risky flex play at wideout after playing just 14 snaps in his NFL debut. There's big-play potential with the Cardinals without their top two cornerbacks, but Brown will be as boom or bust as they get.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Sep 15 12:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers rookie defensive end Nick Bosa (ankle) is active in Week 2 against the Bengals. Bosa had his snaps limited in his NFL debut last week against the Buccaneers, but when he was on the field he was productive, so his presence on Sunday won't be good news for quarterback Andy Dalton in front of a shaky offensive line. Bosa cannot yet be trusted in IDP leagues as the Niners try to get him past his nagging ankle issue. While San Fran's D looked much-improved last week, they also shouldn't be in fantasy lineups just yet.

From RotoBaller

Joe Mixon Sep 15 12:00pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (ankle) is active for Week 2 against the 49ers. Mixon does have a good matchup against a Niners team that gave up healthy ground yardage against Tampa in the season opener, but Mixon will have a lot of volatility and could have his snaps limited while playing through his injury. Consider him a risky low-end RB2/high-end RB3/flex, with Giovani Bernard mixing in to spell him. Bernard would've had RB2 upside if Mixon was inactive, but instead he'll revert back to being an unexciting flex option.

From RotoBaller

Hunter Henry Sep 15 11:53am ET

The Los Angeles Chargers have declared DL Cortez Broughton, TE Hunter Henry, C Michael Davis, LB Jatavis Brown, PK Mike Badgley, QB Easton Stick and S Roderic Teamer inactive for Week 2.

From TheHuddle

David Fluellen Sep 15 11:53am ET

The Tennessee Titans have declared OT Kevin Pamphile, LB Reggie Gilbert, C Hroniss Grasu, CB Tye Smith, DL Brent Urban, RB David Fluellen and OG Nate Davis inactive for Week 2.

From TheHuddle

Jayrone Elliott Sep 15 11:53am ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared CB Justin Layne, DL Isaiah Buggs, FB Roosevelt Nix, LB Jayrone Elliott, OT Chukwuma Okorafor, OL Fred Johnson and TE Zach Gentry inactive for Week 2.

From TheHuddle

Tavon Austin Sep 15 11:53am ET

The Dallas Cowboys have declared OG Adam Redmond, S Donovan Wilson, DE Taco Charlton, WR Tavon Austin, DT Trysten Hill, OL Brandon Knight and LB Luke Gifford inactive for Week 2.

From TheHuddle

Ezekiel Ansah Sep 15 11:53am ET

The Seattle Seahawks have declared WR David Moore, S Tedric Thompson, C Joey Hunt, CB Neiko Thorpe, WR Gary Jennings, DT Poona Ford and DL Ziggy Ansah inactive for Week 2.

From TheHuddle

Matthew Stafford Sep 15 11:50am ET

Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker (back) has been ruled out in Week 2 against the Chargers. It's a downgrade for quarterback Matthew Stafford on Sunday, and he could be facing a lot of pressure from pass-rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Stafford looked good in Week 1 throwing the football, but that was also against a Cardinals team missing their top cornerbacks. Consider Stafford a low-end QB2 in a much tougher matchup against the Bolts.

From RotoBaller

Albert Wilson Sep 15 11:43am ET

The Miami Dolphins have declared WR Albert Wilson, SS Reshad Jones, OT Bryan Witzmann, RB Myles Gaskin, OG Chris Reed, DE Trent Harris and OT Isaiah Prince inactive for Week 2.

From TheHuddle

Sterling Shepard Sep 15 11:43am ET

The New York Giants have declared TE Garrett Dickerson, QB Alex Tanney, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Darius Slayton, RB Paul Perkins, OG Chad Slade and OL Eric Smith inactive for Week 2.

From TheHuddle

Jonathan Williams Sep 15 11:43am ET

The Indianapolis Colts have declared DE Kemoko Turay, LB Jabaal Sheard, S Rolan Milligan, OT Le'Raven Clark, S Marvell Tell, RB Jonathan Williams and TE Hale Hentges inactive for Week 2.

From TheHuddle

Jonathan Bullard Sep 15 11:43am ET

The Arizona Cardinals have declared WR Andy Isabella, OG Jeremy Vujnovich, C Lamont Gaillard, DL Jonathan Bullard, OT Brett Toth, OT Joshua Miles and DL Michael Dogbe inactive for Week 2.

From TheHuddle

Jordan Reed Sep 15 11:43am ET

The Washington Redskins have declared QB Colt McCoy, CB Quinton Dunbar, DE Jonathan Allen, TE Jordan Reed, OG Ross Pierschbacher, DB Fabian Moreau and OG Wes Martin inactive for Week 2.

From TheHuddle

Cody Latimer Sep 15 11:40am ET

New York Giants wide receiver Cody Latimer (calf) is active in Week 2 against the Bills. With Sterling Shepard (concussion) out, Latimer will likely start opposite Bennie Fowler with Russell Shepard in the slot in three-receiver sets. The Giants will run their offense through running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram on Sunday in a very difficult matchup with Buffalo's defense. Latimer, Fowler and Shepard will be fighting for scraps, making them all very hard to trust in fantasy. If you're desperate, Latimer is a low-ceiling WR5 in the deepest of leagues.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Sep 15 11:33am ET

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott's contract extension talks appear to be at an impasse at this time because the two sides may not agree on the length of the extension.

Fantasy Spin: The Cowboys were confident last week that Prescott would sign soon, but it appears that the two sides still need to work some things out. Prescott is coming off an outstanding Week 1 performance and should be a No. 1 fantasy quarterback again this week.

From TheHuddle