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8 Players That Will Bounce Back (Fantasy Football)

Jun 14, 2018

The only thing standing in between Jameis Winston and a big season is health

What do DeVante Parker, Amari Cooper, Terrelle Pryor, Jay Ajayi, Martavis Bryant, and Matt Ryan all have in common? They were all players we held great optimism for last August, only to have those expectations dashed to the rocks after seeing their frustratingly low production week after week. Granted, there are many more players who significantly sullied their value with a poor 2017 season.

Don’t let one bad experience with a bust completely influence your opinion on their 2018 value, though. Sure, many of last year’s busts will fade into fantasy obscurity, never to regain the relevance they once had. However, some of these disappointing guys are bound to rise again and help your team achieve fantasy glory. But who are those players? This is exactly what our featured experts are here to tell you today.

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Q1. Name one WR you expect to bounce back strong from a disappointing 2017 campaign.

DeVante Parker (MIA)
“Knowing what the expectations were, sure, Parker was a bust in 2017. But here’s the thing – he wasn’t nearly as bad as some are making him out to be. Despite missing essentially four full games and scoring just one touchdown, Parker finished as the WR57 in 2017.

Here’s his last 17 games with Ryan Tannehill before he got hurt and missed the entire 2017 season: 110 targets, 66 receptions, 1,028 yards, and six touchdowns. That’s essentially one season’s worth of numbers with Jarvis Landry on the roster averaging almost 150 targets. There were just eight wide receivers who hit 1,000 yards and scored six touchdowns in 2017. Parker has a 100-target floor with a 140-target ceiling, something that screams breakout.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Pierre Garcon (SF)
“Rookies Corey Davis and Mike Williams are great options, but for a receiver that’s been around for a while and seemingly forgotten after a down year, I’m taking Garcon. Yes, that same Garcon that’s been a target hog and reception maker for his career. If Jimmy Garoppolo actually becomes the savior of the 49ers — and the entire football world — as many expect, Garcon will benefit and bounce back into the WR3 conversation in PPR.”
– Jake Ciely (RotoExperts)

Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)
“After ranking as a top-25 fantasy receiver in each of his first three seasons with the Broncos, Sanders plummeted to a Donte Moncrief-ian WR62 finish last year. Don’t blame Sanders. The horses in Denver’s 2017 QB stable weren’t fit to give $2 rides to four-year-olds at a street fair. Case Keenum isn’t exactly the Justify of NFL quarterbacks, but he’s a much sturdier steed than the ones Denver trotted out last year. At a FantasyPros ADP of WR36, Sanders should turn an easy profit.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)

Mike Evans (TB)
“There was no shortage of disappointing wide receivers in 2017, but Evans is my answer here. The former Aggie proved to be quite the quandary a year ago, finishing 20 spots behind his 2016 standing of WR2. Look for him to improve in every statistical category — primarily touchdowns — as he gets back on track with Jameis Winston and re-enters the realm of the top-10 fantasy receivers.”
– Zach Greubel (Gridiron Experts)

Q2. Name one RB you expect to bounce back strong from a disappointing 2017 campaign.

Joe Mixon (CIN)
“So many have called Mixon a bust for his 3.5 yards per carry average in 2017, but I’d urge you to throw that stat in the garbage. Did you know that Le’Veon Bell had that same exact average in his rookie season with a bigger sample size? I draw that comparison because Mixon dropped 15 pounds this offseason to prepare for a bigger role in the offense.

He’s a three-down back who the Bengals drafted in the second-round last year. Once Jeremy Hill went down last year, we saw Mixon in a featured role where he totaled on 391 yards on 104 carries with three touchdowns, including another 16 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns through the air. While the yards per carry wasn’t impressive, neither was the offensive line, though they tried to address that this offseason trading for left tackle Cordy Glenn and drafting center/guard Billy Price in the first-round. He’s primed for a breakout.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Dalvin Cook coming off an injury — easy call. Let’s talk about a running back with as much, if not more, innate ability in Mixon. The Bengals addressed their offensive line, and while it won’t be top of the league, it will stop looking like they’re trying to play with only three linemen. Mixon will also (well, hopefully) stop trying to do so much every play and simply use his ability to make the most of what’s given. He should be able to reach the mid-to-upper RB2 range.”
– Jake Ciely (RotoExperts)

“I hate to be Chalky McChalk, but the easy answer is Mixon. In his rookie season, he was asked to run behind an offensive line that couldn’t have opened holes if opposing defensive linemen were made of cotton candy. The Bengals have since signed LT Cordy Glenn and drafted C Billy Price, so Mixon should have at least a little more space in which to operate. In light of his athletic profile and his college tape, Mixon is a strong bounce-back candidate.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)

Marlon Mack (IND)
“I could take the easy way out with Mixon, but Mack is primed for a bounce-back sophomore season as well. He was given too few opportunities in his rookie campaign behind a plodding Frank Gore, but now possesses the starting job in Indy’s backfield. Mack owns big-play potential, but will be hard-pressed for touches by rookies Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. Even so, if he stays healthy and runs more efficiently, he’s in line for a low-end RB2 to high-end RB3 campaign. ”
– Zach Greubel (Gridiron Experts)

Q3. Name one QB you expect to bounce back strong from a disappointing 2017 campaign.

Jameis Winston (TB)
“There are many people who continually dog Winston when it comes to fantasy football, but what they don’t realize is that there’s massive buying potential here. If you were to extrapolate the 11 full games he played over a 16-game season, he would’ve totaled 4,911 yards with 28 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 185 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns…and that was what people consider a “bad season.” What if I told you that would amount to 322.9 fantasy points, and enough to finish as the No. 2 quarterback in 2017? No, I’m not kidding.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

“Winston only needs to stay healthy to bounce back, as he was actually on pace for an enormous season. Winston had six games of 300-plus yards and another where he missed by just one yard. With DeSean Jackson back to 100 percent, Chris Godwin taking a bit step forward, and O.J. Howard’s continued development, Winston will be the top-10 quarterback owners thought they drafted last year.”
– Jake Ciely (RotoExperts)

“Winston lowered his interception rate last year and boosted his completion percentage, yardage per attempt, and passer rating, but the improvements were obscured by a shoulder injury that cost him three games and tamped down his counting stats. Winston’s FantasyPros ADP of QB18 suggests that drafters have fallen out of love with him — and makes him arguably the best QB value of 2018.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)

Marcus Mariota (TEN)
“Mariota was one of two starting quarterbacks who played in at least 15 games to throw more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (13). It was otherwise one of the most successful seasons in the history of the Tennessee Titans and Mariota still managed a QB17 outcome. New head coach Mike Vrabel and company figure to breathe new life into what was a relatively unimaginative offense. The fourth-year quarterback’s dual-threat ability designates him as a low-end QB1 to high-end QB2 threat. ”
– Zach Greubel (Gridiron Experts)

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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