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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
After giving up a combined 102 points in their first two games, the Miami Dolphins Defense may now somehow be even worse in Week 3 when they travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys. The Fins achieved this level of pessimism by trading defensive back (and 2018 first-round selection) Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh on Tuesday for a package of draft picks highlighted by the Steelers first-round pick in 2020. By trading the only Fitzpatrick on the roster whose talent could possibly get in the way of their tanking, Miami virtually assured that every opponent they play this season will have a chance to light up the scoreboard. While the Miami defense shouldn't have been on anyone's radar in the first place, the trade of Fitzpatrick is still notable from a fantasy perspective as owners will no longer have to worry about their top receivers being shut down by the former Alabama standout. With a matchup against the high-powered offense of Dallas on the horizon, expect any Cowboy with a pulse to have a green light.
Dallas Cowboys free safety Xavier Woods (ankle) is expected to miss four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, according to a source. Woods is a key piece of Dallas' secondary, so this is a notable loss moving forward, although it's not likely to matter much in Week 3 with a putrid Dolphins offense coming to town. The Cowboys Defense/special teams is a must-start this Sunday and are an easy top-three fantasy option.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's (foot) Week 3 status against the Cardinals is up in the air after he aggravated a foot injury that he initially suffered in the preseason. Newton is rehabbing during practice on Tuesday. Cam hasn't looked good through two weeks, and perhaps his foot is the main reason why. He's run the ball five times in two games for a total of negative-two yards. His fantasy owners were really hoping he could bounce back this Sunday in a great matchup against the Cardinals, but it's looking like he might be extremely questionable. You better make plans now in case he's inactive. Either Kyle Allen or rookie Will Grier would start if Newton can't play, and the Panthers would likely feed the ball to running back Christian McCaffrey all day.
The good news is that Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant led the team in targets in a 43-0 loss to the Patriots on Sunday, with seven. The bad news is that he only caught three of those targets, finishing with just 22 yards. The worst news is that with the Dolphins down 37-0 in the fourth quarter, Grant missed his only opportunity for fantasy relevance, dropping a long pass from Josh Rosen that likely would've resulted in a 45-yard touchdown. But even if he had caught the pass, it still wouldn't change the fact that there are few reasons to roster Grant in Week 3 as the Dolphins pack it up and go on the road for the first time in 2019, traveling to Dallas to take on the 2-0 Cowboys.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams caught four of his six targets in Miami's 43-0 blowout loss to the Patriots on Sunday, ending with a total of 63 yards. While 48 of those yards came after the game was already out of hand in the second half, Williams was still Miami's most productive player on offense - even though that isn't exactly a difficult achievement. But even though he was Miami's best player on Sunday, it doesn't mean that he should find a home anywhere but in the deepest of fantasy leagues. With quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and his lack of magic leading a minor-league band of misfits into Dallas for a Week 3 matchup, leave Williams on the wire where he belongs.
New England Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn (toe) is considered week-to-week with turf toe, according to a source. His injury is not season-ending, however. With right tackle Marcus Cannon also injured, New England's offensive line has become a question mark moving forward. It's an upgrade to the Jets defensive line in Week 3, but fantasy owners won't be benching quarterback Tom Brady anytime soon. Marshall Newhouse is expected to take over at left tackle for however long Wynn is out.
Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy's (ankle) MRI exam showed no significant damage to his ankle and he has a shot to play in Week 3 against the Ravens, according to sources. Damien Williams was also injured in Week 2, so McCoy's fantasy value will depend on if Williams can play as well. As of now in a tough matchup with Baltimore, Shady will be more of an RB3/flex play. If Williams is inactive, undrafted rookie Darwin Thompson should see more work on passing downs, making him flex-worthy in deep PPR formats.
That inevitable moment has finally arrived. Head coach Pat Shurmur has named Daniel Jones the starting quarterback for the New York Giants. While many Giants fans will rightfully be excited by the move, it's important to temper expectations early on. Jones is going to be throwing to one of the league's worst collection of wide receivers on a team that will still allow running backSaquon Barkley to dominate the offensive game plan. Jones looked good in the preseason and can be fired up as a QB2 in certain matchups, but this doesn't lead to a notable bump for any of the Giants skill position players, as Barkley and tight endEvan Engram were always going to be top-five options at their positions. Assuming Eli Manning has started his last game for the Giants, he will finish with a fitting record of 116-116.
New York Giants QB Eli Manning was benched in favor of rookie QB Daniel Jones for Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: Manning loses all fantasy value for now. It's possible he is traded or released and lands in a spot that could rejuvenate some spot-start potential.
Detroit Lions QB Josh Johnson was released Tuesday, Sept. 17.
The Giants have named rookie quarterback Daniel Jones their starting quarterback for the Week 3 game, benching Eli Manning.
Dallas Cowboys FS Xavier Woods (ankle) is out four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain.
Updating previous reports, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) isn't having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and the recovery time isn't as long as the 12-to-15-month window it would take. His season is still over, though.
Fantasy Spin: Mason Rudolph will be a matchup play the rest of the way. If you own Big Ben in a dynasty league, it's hard to see holding on to him considering his age and the severity of the injury to his position.
Free-agent S Josh Jones (Packers) is working out for the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday, Sept. 17.
Free-agent CB Kayvon Webster (Saints) is working out for the New York Jets Tuesday, Sept. 17.
Free-agent RB Josh Ferguson (Texans) is working out for the Washington Redskins Tuesday, Sept. 17.
Updating previous reports, Kansas City Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy's (ankle) MRI didn't show any significant damage, and he could play in Week 3.
Fantasy Spin: McCoy will be in the mix for a flex play against the Baltimore Ravens, but it's hard to start a potentially gimpy McCoy in his limited role.
Pittsburgh Steelers SS Sean Davis (shoulder) sustained a torn labrum in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks, but his injury is not believed to be season ending. Once he returns, he will likely be out of the lineup as a starter following the acquisition of CB Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Updating a previous report, New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) will have further tests Tuesday, Sept. 17 on his hamstring after aggravating his injury in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns.
Fantasy Spin: Thomas just joined the Jets, likely rushed to play despite entering with a hamstring injury. He might be fine to play as soon as Week 3 depending on his tests, but fantasy owners will want to see him get a little more comfortable with the playbook and build a little more consistency first. In addition, the Jets appear to be down to their third-string QB, so it might be a while before Thomas bears any fruit for fantasy owners.