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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
Chad Beebe Sep 23 12:50am ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chad Beebe (ankle) was carted to the locker room in the third quarter of Sunday's 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. Beebe didn't have a target in the contest. Olabisi Johnson stepped in as the third receiver in his absence - we should get an update on the severity of Beebe's ankle injury on Monday.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Sep 23 12:40am ET

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers completed 31 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday as the Chargers fell to the Houston Texans. LA continued to struggle in the second half of ballgames, and Rivers was sacked five times on the day. The 46 passing attempts were the most Rivers has had in a regular season game since Week 1 of 2018, and Rivers hasn't won a single game in the last five years when he's thrown the ball 45 or more times. Whether LA wins or loses, Rivers has the ability to put up gaudy numbers, so he'll be valuable no matter how the season goes for the underperforming Chargers.

From RotoBaller

Minnesota Vikings Sep 23 12:40am ET

The Minnesota Vikings Defense shut down the Oakland Raiders en route to a 34-14 win at home in Week 3. They picked up four sacks and an interception, though they also gave up a garbage-time touchdown with two minutes left and fantasy managers probably wanted a few more turnovers in this favorable matchup. Start the Vikings Defense as a top-12 play on the road against the Chicago Bears.

From RotoBaller

Peyton Barber Sep 23 12:30am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber touched the ball as many times as backfield mate Ronald Jones II but was unable to take the reigns, running the ball 13 times for 48 yards while adding just seven yards through the air in a Week 3 loss against the Giants. This type of performance was for from unexpected, and with the Bucs backfield currently the guessing game that it is, Barber will remain nothing more than a low-end bye week streaming option. He is not a recommended start in Week 4 when the Bucs take on the Rams in Los Angeles.

From RotoBaller

Alexander Mattison Sep 23 12:20am ET

Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Alexander Mattison rushed 12 times for 58 yards (4.8 YPC) and a touchdown in Sunday's 34-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. His first NFL touchdown came on an impressive 10-yard run in the third quarter, and Mattison has proven to be a rock-solid backup to starter Dalvin Cook through three weeks. He remains a high-priority handcuff to Cook (and is starting to garner deep-league flex consideration), but keep him on the bench for Week 4's road matchup against the Chicago Bears.

From RotoBaller

Austin Seibert Sep 23 12:20am ET

Cleveland Browns kicker Austin Seibert hit both of his field goals in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. He also tacked on an extra point. The rookie kicker had a shaky preseason but he has settled down now that the games count. Seibert has hit all five of his field-goal tries this season while making four of his five extra points. His main problem has not been accuracy but instead that the Browns offense has not been as high-scoring as many expected through the first three games of the season. Seibert will not be a top-12 kicker option in fantasy in Week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Sep 23 12:10am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II totaled 80 yards on 14 carries while adding an additional 41 yards on one reception to lead the Bucs backfield in Week 3. His usage was a total turnaround from Week 2, where Jones saw just four carries, but it continues the trend of a seesaw Bucs backfield. Jones didn't face the stiffest test this week, facing a Giants squad that had allowed 240 yards on the ground through two games, so this outing should be taken with a grain of salt. Jones is not a trustworthy fantasy option as long as the Bucs backfield remains a guessing game. He faces a stiff test in Week 4 with the Los Angeles Rams on deck and is not a recommended play.

From RotoBaller

Demetrius Harris Sep 23 12:10am ET

Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris caught a two-yard touchdown in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. It was his only catch in a game where he drew just two targets. Harris saw an increased role with David Njoku on injured reserve with a broken wrist but was not a major part of the game plan. His only other target came in the end zone in the fourth quarter on what looked like a catchable ball but Harris was unable to pull down the high pass. He will be a low-end TE2 for Week 4's matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Cleveland Browns Sep 23 12:10am ET

The Cleveland Browns Defense played well in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Cleveland racked up two sacks while forcing three turnovers in the loss. The performance was all the more impressive considering that the team was without both of their starting cornerbacks in Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams and starting inside linebacker Christian Kirksey. Cleveland's defense has played well this season but they will have their work cut out for them in Week 4 against a white-hot Baltimore Ravens offense. The Browns will not be a recommended fantasy defense for that contest.

From RotoBaller

Jameis Winston Sep 23 12:00am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard has been searching for a spark this season. He hadn't provided anything useful to fantasy owners through two games. This week was supposed to be a real chance to get back on track against the friendly Giants Defense. It wasn't, he barely escaped with three receptions for 66 yards during their difficult home loss. It was a slightly better outing but Jameis Winston clearly made a point of force-feeding Mike Evans early and often. Evans then responded with a monster day. Maybe one of these weeks it will be Howard's turn for greatness. Unfortunately, It'll be difficult to keep him around while we wait for that day to arrive. He's looking like a TE2 as the Bucs travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Sep 23 12:00am ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught three of his nine targets for 62 yards in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Landry's 62 yards led the team, his first time leading the team in receiving this season. The veteran slot receiver now has 10 catches for 161 yards and no touchdowns through three games this season. He has taken a backseat to Odell Beckham Jr in the passing game, which has cut into his production. The fact that the offensive line has struggled to protect Baker Mayfield hasn't helped matters much, either. That being said, Landry could be in line for a big game in Week 4 against a Baltimore Ravens Defense that usually struggles to contain opposing slot receivers. He can be used as a low-end WR3 for that contest.

From RotoBaller

Denver Broncos Sep 22 11:50pm ET

Denver Broncos Defense has had a disappointing start to the season that continued in Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers offense. The Defense failed to log a sack or interception, continuing the streak of not having a sack all season. This is extremely disappointing, as the Broncos host a talented pair of pass rushers. The Defense faces off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4, who have struggled to run the ball in previous weeks and have had an improving passing attack.

From RotoBaller

Nick Chubb Sep 22 11:50pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb carried the ball 23 times for 96 yards and added four catches for 35 yards in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Earlier in the week, the Cleveland coaching staff talking about getting Chubb more looks and they did just that as he was the only running back on the team to see a touch. It could have been a bigger game as he appeared to have a short touchdown in the third quarter but it was called back thanks to a Cleveland penalty. Chubb now has 233 rushing yards and a score through three games. He will be a low-end RB1 in Week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Odell Beckham Jr. Sep 22 11:50pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr caught six of his 10 targets for 56 yards in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. His longest reception went for 19 yards on a quiet night for the star wideout. The Cleveland offense struggled to protect Baker Mayfield against a tough Rams pass rush, which limited Beckham's ability to make plays down the field in the loss. Los Angeles cornerback Aqib Talib also deserves credit for playing solid defense against Beckham. Beckham has been busy through his first three games with the Browns, catching 19 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown. He will be a mid-range WR1 in Week 4 in a road game against the Baltimore Ravens.

From RotoBaller

Brandon McManus Sep 22 11:40pm ET

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus connected on his one field goal attempt in Week 3, while also going one for two on extra points. McManus connected from 30 yards out on his lone attempt of the afternoon. The missed extra point was his first one missed this season, as he has attempted three over the last three weeks. McManus looks to improve on his game in Week 4 as the team returns to Denver to face off the Jacksonville Jaguars.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Sep 22 11:40pm ET

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled in a 20-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Mayfield completed 18 of his 36 passes for 195 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His touchdown came on a two-yard pass to Demetrius Harris while his fourth-down interception in the fourth quarter essentially ended the game for the Browns. The Cleveland offensive line continues to be an issue as they rarely afforded Mayfield much time to throw against a fearsome Los Angeles defensive line. He also didn't help matters much by bailing early on some clean pockets and trying to make throws on the run. Things won't get much easier for Mayfield or the Browns in Week 4 in a road matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Treat Mayfield as a QB2 for that contest.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Sep 22 11:40pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers Defense showed up in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, helping the team remain undefeated. The Niners offense committed five turnovers but the defense played exceptionally well, recording two sacks and forcing two turnovers (one interception, one fumble recovery). Aside from a 76-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, the defense harassed unproven quarterback Mason Rudolph all day and kept the scuffling offense in the game. Through three contests, the 49ers defense has improved noticeably and could be a deep streamer in Week 5 against a leaky Cleveland Browns offensive line after emerging from their bye week.

From RotoBaller

Kenyan Drake Sep 22 11:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake saw his highest usage of the year in a 31-6 loss to the Cowboys but it meant little for his fantasy line, as he ended with just 38 yards on 12 carries. Drake also added three catches for 34 yards for a total of 15 touches in comparison to fellow back Kalen Ballage's nine, making him seemingly still the leader of the Miami backfield. But facing another difficult test in a Week 4 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers, Drake is a low-end flex option only for the most optimistic or desperate of owners.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Sep 22 11:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert rushed 12 times for 79 yards in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mostert committed a costly fumble in the red zone but continued his strong running, leading the team in rushing on Sunday. After cradling three catches in Week 2, Mostert did not record a reception. The fourth-year back has been a tremendous offensive spark plug, but his role is uncertain as Tevin Coleman (ankle) nears a return. With the Niners ground game rolling, Coleman may be eased back into the mix, making Mostert a likely RB3/flex once the team returns from its bye in Week 4.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Sep 22 11:30pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant continued his narrative of sub-par stat lines to start the 2019 season against the Green Bay Packers. Fant hauled in three catches for 37 yards in Week 3, once again being the top tight end on the team. The rookie also coughed up the football once on Sunday afternoon. Fant continues to search for a breakout game where he tallies more than four catches as he lines up against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4.

From RotoBaller