10 Players That Will Bounce Back (Fantasy Football)

Jun 21, 2017

John Brown had health issues that held him back last season but he should be good to go in 2017

Remember when you drafted Todd Gurley last season and he failed miserably? Hopefully not, but there are sure to be some who do know that feeling and will treat him like the plague heading into 2017. Now, the Rams are probably bad enough again where that’s warranted so no, we’re not saying Gurley fits into what this piece is about. In other cases, we should expect some bounce-back play from some big name players out there.

We asked our featured pundits who they expect to return to form in the upcoming season after disappointing owners last year. See who they had to say and why you should consider picking them up.

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Q1. Name on WR you expect to bounce back strong from a disappointing 2016 campaign.

John Brown (ARI)
“Brown appeared in 15 games last year, but he wasn’t truly healthy for many of them. He dealt with complications from a sickle-cell trait, appearing on the injury report in 7 different weeks. Then he had a cyst removed from his spine shortly after the season ended. The Cardinals believe they’ve solved the sickle-cell issue and that Brown will return to being the guy who posted a 65-1,003-7 line back in 2015. That came despite the now-departed Michael Floyd seeing 89 targets.”
– Jared Smola (Draft Sharks)

“I’ve attached my name to John Brown this off-season and I’ll continue to do so. The breakout for Brown started his rookie year when he totaled nearly 700 yards and five touchdowns with Drew Stanton under center, and then went into the 2015 season where he was one of just three wide receivers to finish inside the top-24 with 105 or less targets. The others? Sammy Watkins and Doug Baldwin. Brown was dealing with his sickle cell trait, as well as a mass on his spinal cord last year, limiting him to just 25-35 snaps per game over the second half of the season. He’s someone you’ll want to bet on bouncing back this season. ”
Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Demaryius Thomas (DEN)
“If you can draft him in Round 4, Thomas is going to be a steal. By his standards, he had a down year with a 90-1,083-5 stat line. But keep in mind it was Trevor Siemian’s first year as a starter, and Thomas was still able to record 23 red-zone targets. That was good enough to finish in the top 10 in the league for targets in the red zone. If Siemian can just slightly improve his completion percentage and increase his touchdown totals, Thomas could once again be a top-tier receiver in 2017 PPR leagues.”
– Jack Delaney (Your Fantasy Football Coach)

DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)
“Hopkins seems like an obvious candidate to bounce back, if only because Brock Osweiler’s departure should bring the deep ball back to Houston’s offense. Hopkins’ average depth of target fell 2.5 yards from his incredible breakout 2015 campaign to 12.4 in 2016. He was also targeted 41 fewer times and his catch rate dropped 6.1 percent to 51.7. Assuming the combination of Tom Savage and/or Deshaun Watson can approach the same level of quarterbacking Brian Hoyer reached for the Texans in 2015, Hopkins should have little problem rebounding, even if he falls short of the production he posted two years ago.”
Doug Orth (FFToday)

Q2. Name one RB you expect to bounce back strong from a disappointing 2016 campaign.

Lamar Miller (HOU)
“Miller battled through injury, poor offensive line play, and dreadful quarterbacking in 2016. While most considered his first season a disappointment (and it was considering where he was usually drafted in fantasy), it was actually a minor miracle he topped 1,000 yards rushing in only 14 games considering the aforementioned factors. Miller is healthy once again. Houston’s front five should be improved with 2016 second-round C Nick Martin back from injury, as well as a slimmer-and-trimmer OG Jeff Allen, AND the offense will not be held hostage by Brock Osweiler anymore. D’Onta Foreman’s arrival should be considered more of an upgrade on Alfred Blue than a potential replacement for Miller, whose current ADP (late-second/early-third round) is reflective of last year’s numbers and not of his 2017 upside.”
Doug Orth (FFToday)

Lamar Miller finished as a top-20 back in PPR leagues last season, but that wasn’t good enough if you drafted him in Round 1. Like the Dolphins, the Texans have figured out they need to keep his workload light. Bill O’Brien has said they used Miller too much at the start of the season, and the brass drafted D’Onta Foreman in Round 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft to give Miller a breather. And even though Foreman could steal some touches, it should keep Miller fresh. The 26-year-old back only recorded 241 total touches in 2015, but it was good enough to make him the fifth-highest scoring back in PPR leagues. In comparison, it took Doug Martin 321 total touches to finish as the fourth-highest scoring back that year. As long as he can stay healthy, he should have a better 2017 campaign.”
– Jack Delaney (Your Fantasy Football Coach)

Doug Martin (TB)
“I’m not going all in just yet, but I’m cautiously optimistic about Doug Martin. We saw the floor again last year — the 3rd time in 5 NFL seasons that he’s ranked outside the top 50 RBs in fantasy points. But we’ve also seen the ceiling: a pair of top 5 finishes. Coaches, teammates, and the media buzzed about him all spring. He’s still only 28 and the Bucs have built a potentially explosive offense around him. The cherry on top is that Martin’s ADP is currently sitting in the 7th round.”
– Jared Smola (Draft Sharks)

C.J. Anderson (DEN)
“Anderson is the player that makes the most sense to me, as he’s someone who was once viewed as a first-round type guy. While some are concerned about Jamaal Charles, I’ll have you know that it’s not even a guarantee he makes the final 53-man roster. If you don’t recall what happened prior to the 2016 season, the Dolphins signed Anderson to a hefty offer sheet that the Broncos matched. Despite a struggling offensive line, Anderson has averaged 4.55 yards per carry over the last three years, while the remainder of the Broncos backs have averaged just 3.92 yards per carry, including Devontae Booker’s extremely disappointing 3.52 yards per carry. The Broncos made significant improvements this off-season, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see Anderson back in the second round discussion next year. ”
Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)


Q3. Name one QB you expect to bounce back strong from a disappointing 2016 campaign.

Eli Manning (NYG)
“I’ll roll with Eli Manning, who was probably the main reason my net worth didn’t skyrocket last year. While he appears to be in decline and should not be drafted as anything more than a high-end QB2, I’m willing to gamble on his supporting cast alone this year, as Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram should give defenses fits. If Eli can’t make it work with this group and finish inside the top 15 fantasy QBs, then it might be getting close to the time when he considers joining his slightly more famous brother on Papa John’s commercials.”
Doug Orth (FFToday)

“We’ve seen Eli Manning struggle before, as he threw for just 3,800 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 27 interceptions in 2013. Some tagged him as through at that point, but he came back and threw for over 8,800 yards and 65 touchdowns over the next two seasons. Much of his numbers last year were pretty much in line with what he’d done in 2014-2015, but the touchdowns weren’t. The additions of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram, as well as the subtraction of Rashad Jennings, should mean big things for Manning in 2017. He’ll be streaky, sure, but you’re not paying for a top-12, or even top-15 guy, though he’ll finish there. ”
Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Russell Wilson (SEA)
“Wilson finished outside the top 10 QBs in most fantasy formats last year, despite setting career highs in pass attempts, completions, and yards. There were two culprits. First, a 3.8% TD rate that came in 2.3 percentage points below his mark through his first 4 seasons. And second, knee and ankle injuries that limited him to career lows in carries and rushing yards. Expect rebounds in both categories in 2017 and for Wilson to return to the top 5.”
– Jared Smola (Draft Sharks)

Andy Dalton (CIN)
“Injuries to his receivers prevented Dalton from improving upon his strong 2015 campaign. A.J. Green only appeared in 10 games, pass-catching specialist Giovani Bernard appeared in 10, and Tyler Eifert appeared in eight. Dalton’s teammates still need to stay healthy, but this offense will have a lot of firepower when the starters can stay on the field. The addition of speedster John Ross at receiver and Joe Mixon at running back make this offense tough to stop. Dalton also has sneaky value running the ball, with 11 rushing touchdowns in the last three seasons. Remember, he scored 35 total touchdowns when he was able to play in a 16-game season in 2013. Add him as a backup and he could become your weekly starter.”
– Jack Delaney (Your Fantasy Football Coach)

Thank you to the experts above for naming their bounce-back candidates. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and check out our latest podcast below for more fantasy advice.

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