The fantasy football season is finally over and for some of you, it is time to put 2013 to rest and look forward. Like you, several fantasy studs will be looking to bounce back in 2014 and it is never too early to put these guys on your radar.
Just take a look back at this year’s draft and you’ll see where fantasy players were evaluating backwards instead of looking forwarding and capitalizing on undervalued studs. Jordy Nelson, Josh Gordon, Matt Forte, and DeSean Jackson are just a few guys who were busts in 2012 and turned it around in 2013. Here are ten that have the potential to make some big comebacks next year.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins – Of everyone on the list I love RG III’s potential for a bounce back year. RG III had a lot of things working against him and should have a fresh start next season. Daniel Snyder reportedly loves RG III so the new coaching staff will have to roll with the former Baylor Bear. As much as people bash him he still had all double digit weeks but two when he started. We saw flashes of what this offense could be and as long as everyone is back healthy, a healthy RG III can only go up.
Eli Manning, New York Giants – The Giants will have a new offensive coordinator for the first time in Eli’s NFL career and that is a good thing. A healthy David Wilson is expected to return and could wind up forming one of the NFC’s most potent committees with Andre Brown. The offensive line has to get better and we have already seen what Eli can do with protection. Eli has been a stellar fantasy QB for years and I am willing to chalk up one bad season to a fluke. A new offensive coordinator should breathe fresh life into Eli and the entire Giants offense.
Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens – The impetus for writing this blog was Ray Rice. Rice burnt a lot and I mean a lot of players this season. You certainly can’t blame Cam Cameron this year. Rice was playing hurt with shoulder and hip injuries. Running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery will be replaced in the offseason. There is just no way that a guy as talented as Rice drops off that quickly at this stage of the game. One thing that is concerning is John Harbaugh’s desire to diversify the backfield. That said, Rice has enough talent to break big runs that I don’t see this being a big problem. It’s worth monitoring in the offseason but I wouldn’t let it dissuade me from taking Rice if he fell far enough.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland Raiders – MJD is a free agent and all indications are that the Jaguars are going to make a hard push to keep him. MJD quietly had a decent year but didn’t put up anywhere close to the numbers he has put up in past years. Jones-Drew still had 764 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns through 14 games. He could end up elsewhere and I could easily see a scenario where he winds up in a dual situation as the goalline back. It’s tough to say not knowing exactly where he is going but I have high hopes that the former fantasy king will rebound.
Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts – Okay I am going out on a real limb here. The only drawback here with Richardson is that I think the bar has been set so high that he just may never be able to reach it. Look, he just can’t be that bad. The guy had 11 touchdowns in 2012 with a Cleveland Browns team that is not nearly as complete as the Indianapolis Colts. I don’t think anyone can really explain what happened here other than he just didn’t learn the playbook fast enough. The guy was a stud in college and had a pretty decent rookie season. Don’t be fooled by the postseason, the Colts are a team that want to run the ball. The Colts invested a lot into bringing him over and I have to think that they will do everything possible to make him an integral part of the offense.
Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins – Wallace showed flashes of big things with the Dolphins yet never came close to realizing his full potential. I think this is a case of Wallace needing a full offseason to get comfortable with the system and his QB. He is far from done. There is still something there. I think once everyone gets on the same page Wallace could be a top 10 receiver. He should be a value next year with his projected ADP.
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans – Johnson will be getting a new coach and most likely a new QB. It is hard to analyze his upcoming year without knowing what the Texans look like or who they will draft. That said, Johnson showed that he still has it during a brief period with Case Keenum. Between Arian Foster coming back healthy and a better offensive mind taking over the coaching duties, I think Johnson bounces back huge next season.
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles – Here is a guy you need to put on your radar. Maclin has been out of sight and out of mind this year due to a preseason injury. He will be stepping right into one of the prolific offenses in the NFL. Foles and Maclin showed they had real nice chemistry last season and that was before Chip Kelley rolled into town. I love Maclin next year and I think he is going to be a tremendous value at his ADP. Beat writers are already predicting he’ll be the slot guy. Sign me up!
Danny Amendola, New England Patriots – What happened with Amendola this year? Injuries and a new offense produced one of the most disappointing seasons in his career. Fantasy players expected big things out of Amendola and Tom Brady. Unfortunately it never happened. Once again the key here is injuries. If Amendola can stay healthy I think he and Brady could put together some nice numbers. It’s always a risk but the risk will be worth the reward if Amendola slips far enough in your draft.