4 Bounce-Back Wide Receiver Candidates (2019 Fantasy Football)
Let’s take a look at four wide receivers who have a good chance to bounce back in 2019.
Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE)
It can be tough to call someone who just finished as the WR15 in PPR scoring a bounce-back candidate, but Odell Beckham Jr. is primed to remind fantasy owners just how good he is. If you play in dynasty football leagues, we’re just a year out from seeing Beckham as the number one wide receiver. DeAndre Hopkins and Davante Adams have solidified themselves as the top two options this year, but Beckham just might realistically have the same upside.
In 2018, Beckham finished as the PPR WR15 despite dealing with a bruised quad in Week 12 that ended up lasting for the rest of the season. In 2017, he fractured his ankle and played in just four games, but he was averaging 18.5 PPR points per game during that time. In 2016, he finished as the WR4, in 2015 the WR5, and in his rookie campaign in 2014, he finished as the WR7 in just 12 games where he averaged 24.6 points per game. It’s safe to say we’ve seen Beckham dominate in the NFL and put up elite numbers consistently when he’s on the field. Not to mention, it’s all been done in New York with Eli Manning.
Heading into 2019, Beckham is now paired with Baker Mayfield and a young Cleveland Browns offense that looks to be one of the top offenses in the league. His former LSU teammate, Jarvis Landry, is also in Cleveland and just quietly finished as the WR18 last year. As one of the higher projected quarterbacks in 2019, Mayfield is going to be throwing the ball all over the field, and we’ve seen him complete the deep ball far better than Manning did in New York.
Mayfield was not just good in 2018; he put up some historic numbers. Per Pro Football Focus, Mayfield’s rookie season was the highest-graded one since 2006 with a score of 84.5. That’s only behind Russell Wilson, who was graded at 90.5 in 2012.
The Browns have more than enough weapons on that offense, and guys like Landry, Nick Chubb, and David Njoku will definitely need to be watched closely by opposing defenses. Beckham will still see number one coverage, but he should definitely be targeted enough and is beyond good enough to bounce back to his former elite wide receiver status. No one should be surprised when he finishes as a top-five wide receiver in 2019.
Allen Robinson (CHI)
Coming into his second season in Chicago, Allen Robinson enters his sixth season in the NFL. It’s been a very long time since we saw Robinson put up 14 touchdowns and 1,400 yards back in 2015 with the Jaguars. Since then, we’ve seen him produce a couple underwhelming seasons coupled with one where he spent almost the entire year on the IR. Heading into the 2018 season, Robinson was one of the more popular free-agent signings, as he signed a three-year, $42 million deal with more than $25 million guaranteed. One of the things that was expected with this signing was that he’d still be recovering from his torn ACL in 2017.
This Bears’ offense is one that just about everyone in the fantasy community was going crazy about last year. Matt Nagy, Mitch Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Robinson, Anthony Miller, and now rookie David Montgomery are all young and exciting parts of this offense that produce some valuable pieces for fantasy purposes. Trubisky is a popular breakout candidate in 2019 and should continue to improve as he learns and runs this offense.
One of the most promising things about Robinson is what we saw last year in the playoffs. The Bears played the Eagles in a Wild Card game where they lost 16-15. In a game as important as this, we saw Robinson catch 10 passes on 13 targets, which was good for 143 yards and a touchdown. It is very telling to see a team target someone this much in a game that is so important. I believe that Trubisky and Robinson will continue to grow on their 2018 season, and as the WR40 last year in PPR scoring in 13 games, he has a great chance to jump back into that WR2 range.
Will Fuller (HOU)
If there’s one statement that we hear more than anything else in fantasy football, it’s the phrase “if he’s healthy.” This is the case for so many different players that we’ve seen produce good fantasy numbers and then miss time due to injuries. Will Fuller has been a great example of this, as he’s played in 31 games in 14, 10, and seven games, respectively, in his first three seasons in the NFL. During that time, we’ve seen him put up six games with 100+ receiving yards. He’s totaled 13 touchdowns and has shown that he’s more than just a deep threat, but someone that Deshaun Watson has a nice connection with and targets often when he’s on the field.
While Keke Coutee has been someone that many owners have seen as a sleeper this year, unfortunately, he was carted off in the first preseason game against the Packers. The injury timeline is not certain right now, but this definitely would mean that Fuller solidifies himself as the WR2 on that Texans’ offense across from DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans also addressed their offensive line issues in the 2019 NFL Draft, and let’s face it, they can’t get any worse. Watson is heading into 2019 as a top-five fantasy option and rightfully so.
It’s always nice to have the WR2 opposite of an elite receiver such as Hopkins, and Fuller should slide into this role. After finishing as the WR69 (nice) in 2018, Fuller has an excellent opportunity to bounce back and definitely outperform his 2018 performance.
Marvin Jones (DET)
This bounce-back candidate is probably one of the picks that make you say “ew.” Marvin Jones is someone that is going very much under the radar heading into the 2019 season. Jones suffered a knee injury in Week 10 last year, leaving Kenny Golladay as the only receiver to pick up for the slack that Golden Tate and Jones left. While I do like Golladay a lot as someone who should take a nice step forward in 2019, Jones isn’t someone that should be totally ignored.
In his nine games played last year, Jones had 35 catches on 62 targets for 508 yards and five touchdowns. He was averaging 12.9 PPR points per game last year, which is not something that should be overlooked. In Weeks 1-9, Jones was the WR27 in PPR scoring. As someone who is going undrafted in many leagues, there is no reason that Jones won’t bounce back and out-perform his current ADP. As long as he’s on the field, and with Golladay receiving the majority of the attention from defenses, Jones’ only real competition for targets will be him and rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson.
With Theo Riddick out of Detroit, that’s 74 targets that will be up for grabs in 2019. Don’t expect great numbers out of Jones, but in most leagues, he is someone you can get for free. In deeper leagues, Jones is someone you may end up starting as a flex option fairly regularly.