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8 Fantasy Football Bounce-back Candidates

Jun 15, 2016

After a forgettable 2015, Eddie Lacy appears dedicated to right the ship this upcoming season

After a forgettable 2015, Eddie Lacy appears dedicated to right the ship this upcoming season

The sound of pads and helmets coming together is starting to fill the air. That’s right folks, mandatory minicamps have kicked off for various teams and we’re getting some of our first looks at players returning from last season. Speaking of last season, there were plenty of early-round picks that contributed to the derailment of fantasy teams. So what’s the takeaway? “I’m not drafting that bum again.” Wrong (kind of). You shouldn’t avoid a player ONLY because he burned you last season. Now if he has crushed your chances multiple times, then sure, look elsewhere.

The point is that in the course of a career, it’s not that uncommon for a player to fail expectations. That’s even truer when talking about a team sport like football. You don’t have to listen to me, though. Instead, our featured experts below were asked to give some reasoning behind who you should expect to bounce back from a poor 2015 season. Take a look below before you automatically cross one of these names off your draft list.

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Q1. Name one RB you expect to bounce back strong from a disappointing 2015 campaign.

Eddie Lacy (GB)
“Eddie Lacy is the obvious and strongest choice. The Packers have improved their line, Lacy has re-dedicated himself to conditioning and he is still running behind the best quarterback in the NFL. Lacy was a star his first two seasons, last year was more of an anomaly than regression to the mean.”
Adam Inman (FFLockerRoom)

“In 2015 it looked like Eddie Lacy may have eaten himself out of usefulness for the Packers. Struggles with weight have gotten the better of plenty of NFL players over the years. Going into the 2016 season it looks like Lacy is righting the ship. He has sought the aid of multiple trainers and given the P90X routine a go; he reportedly has his weight under control. He’ll be returning to a Green Bay offense with an elite QB and a great deal of potential. An in shape Lacy could return to past form on a top tear offense this season.”
Kelly Smelser (Punch Drunk Wonderland)

Eddie Lacy is the perfect bounce-back player. There will still be plenty of people who doubt him. I love the fact that he is coming into this season the healthiest he has ever been. To add to the mix, Green Bay will have a healthy wide receiving core to help keep the defense honest.”
Chris Heil (Fantasy Sports Rants)

Jeremy Hill (CIN)
“While it would be easy to say Eddie Lacy here (who I do like in 2016), I’m going to go with another guy who I believe will bounce back, but has a cheaper price tag. Jeremy Hill may not be the top-10 running back that people thought they were getting when they drafted him last year, but he also isn’t a guy who is as bad as his 2015 season let on. After starting the year sluggishly, Hill finished the season with three of his final six games producing 85 or more rushing yards. Gio Bernard isn’t the goal line back in that offense, Hill is. Opportunity means everything to a running back, and Hill is going to see plenty of it in a high-scoring offense. ”
Mike Tagliere (Pro Football Focus)

Q2. Name on WR you expect to bounce back strong from a disappointing 2015 campaign.

Torrey Smith (SF)
“As I’ve been researching this entire offseason, Torrey Smith is the player you need to own on your fantasy teams. Despite finishing the season with the 75th most targets, Smith’s efficiency had him finishing as the No. 49 wide receiver. Only Sammy Watkins, Doug Baldwin, Allen Hurns, and DeSean Jackson averaged more fantasy points per target. Before coming to San Francisco, Smith had finished as a top-23 wide receiver in each of his first four seasons, despite seeing more than 113 targets just once. In Chip Kelly’s offense that runs close to 70 plays per game, it’d be shocking to see Smith finish with anything less than 125 targets. He’s one of the biggest steals I’ve ever seen, at his current ADP.”
Mike Tagliere (Pro Football Focus)

Torrey Smith is now the number one pass catcher on a team that should be throwing the ball and chasing points for the majority of the season. Coupled with the Chip Kelly offense (which breeds deep shots and fantasy football wide receiving studs: Jackson, Maclin, Matthews), Smith is set up to crush his finish from last season which saw him barely squeak into the top 50 WRs in standard leagues.”
Adam Inman (FFLockerRoom)

Golden Tate (DET)
“He is being drafted like a wide receiver that’s going to have a bounce-back year and I agree completely. Golden Tate finished as a WR3 last year in standard leagues. He is now the main threat in a very pass happy offense.”
Chris Heil (Fantasy Sports Rants)

Randall Cobb (GB)
“Let’s stick with the Packers on this one. Randall Cobb struggled in 2015 largely as a result of teammate Jordy Nelson being out for the season. Cobb showed that he struggles if he has to be the go-to guy who potentially receives extra coverage from defenses. We’ve known that. He has always seemed like the excellent “two” in a receiving corps’ one-two punch. Jordy Nelson’s return should mean good things for Cobb’s role and production.”
Kelly Smelser (Punch Drunk Wonderland)

Q3. Name one QB you expect to bounce back strong from a disappointing 2015 campaign.

Colin Kaepernick (SF)
“Kaepernick has had a bizarre NFL trajectory. It started with a meteoric rise followed by a mind-boggling free fall. Many pointed to defenses being able to adjust while he struggled at making reads. Fall from grace and drama aside, Kaep will be a Niner in 2016 and will be battling Blaine Gabbert for the starting job. He should win out. He has the skill set that Chip Kelly wants, and despite the lack of real receiver depth, I feel like Kaepernick should be able to return to form as a dynamic player.”
Kelly Smelser (Punch Drunk Wonderland)

Colin Kaepernick is set up to have a huge bounce-back season. He is going to have the fast paced offense with short quick throws which really will help him out. The 49ers should be down a lot and I love the garbage time points. He is a total sleeper that you can snag late in drafts or possibly off waivers.”
Chris Heil (Fantasy Sports Rants)

Ryan Tannehill (MIA)
“Before collapsing in 2015, Ryan Tannehill had been on a great path. Starting as the QB24 his rookie year, to QB16 his sophomore season, and then QB8 in 2014, Tannehill had the look of a guy who could be your late-round QB1. The entire Dolphins team struggled in 2015, only to find them with a new head coach going into 2016, Adam Gase. His offenses ranked No. 1 and No. 2 before going to Chicago, where he worked with Jay Cutler who had, arguably, his best season, despite throwing to Marc Mariani, Josh Bellamy, and Zach Miller for half the season. Add in Devante Parker as a full-time player, and Leonte Carroo via the draft and Tannehill might be the guy you thought you were getting heading into last year.”
Mike Tagliere (Pro Football Focus)

Robert Griffin (CLE)
“While Andrew Luck was enticing, I’m going all in on Robert Griffin III. The Browns took Corey Coleman in the first round to help stretch the offense, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that they’re from the same college system and should immediately show chemistry. Hue Jackson and his innovative offense should highlight Griffin’s strengths while helping mask his deficiencies. Cleveland is another team that should quietly be a nice pool of fantasy value as the Browns will likely be chasing points most weeks. If you’re streaming QBs look Griffin’s way. He will have a chance to be a top 12 fantasy QB several weeks during the season.”
Adam Inman (FFLockerRoom)

More Bounce-back Candidates:

Thank you to the experts for naming their bounce-back candidates for the 2016 fantasy football season. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more advice.

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