Bounce-back Candidates

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 jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Robby Anderson Sep 22 5:00pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson made three catches for 11 yards in a loss to the Patriots Sunday. Anderson was targeted five times but could get nothing done as the Jets had just 105 yards of total offense with third-string QB Luke Falk making his first career start. Of all the Jets offensive weapons, Anderson has suffered the most with starting QB Sam Darnold (mono) out of action as Anderson has always been a receiver reliant on big plays and the Jets simply can't throw the ball downfield given their current QB situation. The Jets have a bye in Week 4 but will face another tough matchup in Week 5 at Philadelphia. If Darnold plays, Anderson is a boom-or-bust WR3 but he should be avoided as long as Darnold is out.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Richard Sep 22 5:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard was on the field for a season-high 29 snaps in the team's Week 3 loss to the Vikings. It helped that Josh Jacobs was dealing with an illness and a hip injury earlier this week, not to mention the team trailed by three scores for most of the game. Richard didn't do much with his playing time, however, picking up 29 scrimmage yards on two rushes and three catches as his involvement in the passing game has faded this year. Owners of Jacobs shouldn't worry about the rookie losing his bell-cow status, as Richard is no threat to his workload. The 25-year-old doesn't carry any standalone value and will be off the fantasy radar as long as Jacobs is active.

From RotoBaller

Luke Falk Sep 22 4:50pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Luke Falk was dreadful Sunday in New England completing 12 of 22 passes for 98 yards. Falk didn't lead a touchdown drive and threw an interception in the ugly loss. Falk was serviceable in Week 2 when he was forced into action, but the Patriots Defense completely dominated today sacking Falk five times and giving up only 105 total yards. The Jets have a much-needed bye next week before another tough matchup at Philadelphia in Week 5. The team hopes starting QB Sam Darnold (mono) will be healthy enough to play, but if not all the Jets fantasy options need to be downgraded with Falk under center.

From RotoBaller

New England Patriots Sep 22 4:50pm ET

The New England Patriots Defense stifled an opponent once again as the team cruised to a 30-14 win over the Jets. The Jets were never in this game as the Patriots pass rush racked up five sacks while allowing only 35 rushing yards. The defense, technically, still has not allowed a touchdown all season as the Jets scored on a special teams fumble and a pick-six from backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham. The Patriots defense has risen quickly to become an elite unit in fantasy moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Sep 22 4:50pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman ran for a season-high 88 yards on 16 carries in addition to three receptions for seven yards against Indianapolis on Sunday. Freeman was productive despite failing to find the end zone against the Colts, but it was a step in the right direction after amassing just 41 yards on the ground through the first two weeks of the year. He remains a must-start in most fantasy leagues, however, but he will have to do more to keep that tag moving forward, including scoring a touchdown.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Sep 22 4:40pm ET

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell carried the ball 18 times for 35 yards and hauled in all four of his targets for 28 yards against the Patriots on Sunday. A 63-yard day is disappointing for fantasy owners, but considering the Jets only gained 105 yards of offense total things could have been worse for Bell. The Jets offense could get nothing going with third-string quarterback Luke Falk making his first career start on the road against a defense that is yet to allow a touchdown this season. If nothing else, fantasy owners can be satisfied Bell out-touched Ty Montgomery 22-2 and he is still the centerpiece of New York's offense. The Jets will be on bye in Week 4, but Bell will continue to be a must-start running back in fantasy moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Sep 22 4:40pm ET

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns on 29-for-34 passing in the narrow loss to the Colts in Week 3. After throwing five picks during the first two games of the year, his lone interception in this one was a step in the right direction. Despite Ryan's inaccuracies in the passing game, he remains one of the most productive fantasy quarterbacks in 2019, however, and should continue to have a place in starting lineups in a majority of formats. He will look to keep it going in Week 4 against the Titans.

From RotoBaller

Jakobi Meyers Sep 22 4:40pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers caught two passes for 38 yards in the team's 30-14 win over the Jets. Meyers was the star of the Patriots training camp but took a backseat after Antonio Brown signed with the team. Now with Brown out of the fold, Meyers is looking at an expanded opportunity moving forward. This performance was a small step in the right direction and his snaps should be on the rise in the coming weeks.

From RotoBaller

Josh Gordon Sep 22 4:30pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver caught six passes for a team-high 83 receiving yards in the Patriots 30-14 win over the Jets. Gordon got off to a slow start but finished the game with 11 targets and some big-time catches. The talented receiver appeared to injure his hand in the second half but came back and immediately made some plays. Gordon's ability to win one-on-one matchups with his size makes him a force outside the numbers. A huge fantasy performance is on the horizon for Gordon moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Sep 22 4:30pm ET

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw for 242 yards and a touchdown in the team's 34-14 loss to the Vikings Sunday. He also threw one ugly interception, but he managed to save face with a 75-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes of garbage time. Carr's 27-for-34 completion rate (79.4%) was decent, but his early-season mediocre results aren't moving the needle much for his fantasy appeal. He'll get an easier matchup in Week 4 at Indianapolis versus a banged-up Colts secondary, but managers should look elsewhere for a potential streamer.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Dorsett Sep 22 4:30pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett caught six passes for 53 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown catch in the team's 30-14 win over the Jets in Week 3. With Antonio Brown out of the fold, Dorsett's snaps were on the rise and he delivered. Dorsett ran crisp routes as quarterback Tom Brady targeted him seven times. Moving forward, fantasy owners can expect Dorsett to play a bigger role in the offense but will have to fight for targets with teammates Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Sep 22 4:20pm ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 28-of-42 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns in the Patriots convincing 30-14 win over the Jets. Brady now has multiple touchdown passes in each of his first three games this season after another sharp performance. The Patriots built an early lead but that did not prevent their offense from throwing the football and posted only 68 rushing yards the entire game. Brady now has seven touchdown passes this season with zero interceptions as the Patriots offense currently is a force to be reckoned with.

From RotoBaller

Sony Michel Sep 22 4:20pm ET

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel carried the ball nine times for only 11 yards with one touchdown in the team's 30-14 win over the Jets in Week 3. Fantasy owners certainly became excited when Michel scored on the Patriots first possession but mostly disappeared from the game plan after that. Michel remains the starter and more talented back but slowly is losing snaps to Rex Burkhead. Michel's limited ability in the passing game is costing him opportunities at this point. The second-year back will try and bounce back next week.

From RotoBaller

Rex Burkhead Sep 22 4:20pm ET

New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead led the team with 11 carries for 47 yards and one touchdown in the team's 30-14 victory over the Jets. Burkhead also added six catches for 22 yards and is earning more snaps by the week. The Patriots offense has leaned heavily on the arm of Tom Brady to begin the season and Burkhead has value in the backfield as well as the passing game. Running back Sony Michel is a more talented player but Burkhead is earning plenty of touches in the backfield. Burkhead will be a streamer to watch heading into Week 4.

From RotoBaller

Darren Waller Sep 22 4:10pm ET

Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller dominated targets once again in the team's Week 3 loss to the Vikings. He caught a team-high 13-of-14 targets for 134 scoreless yards, proving to have one of the safest floors among tight ends so far this season. Waller's role has grown every week since a six catch 63-yard performance in Week 1, and his early-season success is only looking like the tip of the iceberg. With the offense likely playing from behind in the majority of games this season, Waller is shaping up to be an every-week starter in all fantasy formats. He'll look to get his first TD of the season in another plus matchup in Week 4 at Indianapolis, who most recently gave up two scores to Falcons tight end Austin Hooper.

From RotoBaller

Tyrell Williams Sep 22 4:10pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams failed to make an impact against a tough Vikings Defense for the majority of the team's Week 3 contest, but his late-game TD saved his fantasy day. He picked up three catches for an unimpressive 29 yards as he hauled in an 11-yard TD on a slant in garbage time. There will undoubtedly be better days for the 28-year-old who came into this game leading the team with 151 receiving yards and two scores. Williams will re-enter WR3 status in Week 4 when the team travels to Indianapolis to take on a banged-up Colts Defense.

From RotoBaller

J.J. Nelson Sep 22 4:10pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver J.J. Nelson had a nice welcome back game after dealing with an ankle injury throughout the first few weeks of the season. He hauled in a 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter on a flea-flicker from quarterback Derek Carr, finishing the day with four catches for 36 yards. Nelson is a boom or bust option in fantasy and is better off left alone on waiver wires. His big-play ability is admirable, but he's never shown much consistency over his career and won't develop into a primary target in this offense.

From RotoBaller

Minnesota Vikings Sep 22 4:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs struggled to get anything going in the team's Week 3 loss to the Vikings. He picked up 44 yards on 10 carries while failing to haul in either of his two targets in the passing game. With the team playing from behind for the entirety of the game, Jacobs wasn't relied upon as often with the offense in pass-mode. Jacobs remains the bell cow back, but his ceiling is capped on a team that likely won't need to run the ball more than 25 times in a game very often. The rookie will get a more favorable matchup in Week 4 against a Colts Defense that has struggled to stop the run this season.

From RotoBaller

Darius Slay Sep 22 3:33pm ET

Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury during the Week 3 game and is considered questionable to return.

From TheHuddle

Takkarist McKinley Sep 22 3:33pm ET

Atlanta Falcons DE Takkarist McKinley (knee) suffered a knee injury during the Week 3 game and is considered questionable to return.

From TheHuddle