10 Fantasy Football Bounceback Candidates for 2019
The term bounceback has a clear definition but has many sources that lead NFL players to that point. It can result from an injury that either hampers or shortens a season. A team could be experiencing a larger decline that impacts certain fantasy performances. Shifts in a team, be it personnel or scheme, can be a factor as well. And then there are personal and other mental issues that can be a more difficult factor to diagnose.
In all these cases, the hope is that an offseason cures whatever ails a suddenly underperforming player. And then, it is up to the fantasy community to try and identify those instances where the bounceback is coming versus the inevitable decline that may be beginning. This will be a positional look at the former, focusing on players who are in line to return on those expectations that weren’t delivered on a season earlier.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
This is the easiest call at the position for a bounceback. Carr went from Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to throwing 183 targets to Jordy Nelson, Seth Roberts, and Marcell Ateman in 2018. The offseason was kind to Carr with the additions of Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson, and rookie running back Josh Jacobs. As the 23rd quarterback off the board currently, Carr has built-in equity here. In a down year, Carr was the QB17, so even a lack of a bounceback represents profit but any kind of rebound could propel him into the weekly starter conversation.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winston’s 2018 season is difficult to define as a letdown with just one issue. A three-game suspension already tempered season-long expectations, but his return was marred with interceptions—Winston totaled 10 in his first four games back. That led to his benching mid-season until he entered again in relief and held the job through the season. In those last seven games, Winston had 13 touchdowns against just four interceptions and was the eighth-ranked fantasy quarterback (ahead of Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers) during that time. Now, Ryan Fitzpatrick is gone and Bruce Arians is calling the offensive plays. With perennial WR1 Mike Evans, a maturing Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard, and no running game, Winston is in line for a lot of volume and players who can make good on it. As the 16th quarterback being drafted, Winston has a good chance to return top-12 numbers for a price that builds in the necessary risk.
Second-Year Running Backs Not Named Saquon Barkley
Putting them together like this makes it easier. Ronald Jones, Royce Freeman, and Rashaad Penny had high expectations last year but were outperformed by less-heralded options. For this group, none of them saw changes to the backfield that would prevent them from emerging in year two. That said, other players did make their claim to be the lead back for 2019. That has suppressed some values and made the choices less clear, but none are being drafted in the top 30 at the position with Penny the earliest (33rd) in round seven of 12-team leagues.
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