Bounce Back Wide Receivers
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of bounce back is;
: to return quickly to a normal condition after a difficult situation or event. Example – After losing the first three games of the series, they bounced back to win their next eight games.
This series of articles touches on players that I feel will bounce back from the previous season and deliver more fantasy value to your roster. I appreciate any feedback you may have either in our Facebook Community or on Twitter. You can find me on Twitter @RedZoneSully.
Day three is here and its time to talk Wide Receivers.
Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders
In the previous two parts of this bounce back series, I have listed Derek Carr and Doug Martin as bounce-back players at their respective positions. Let the Raider love continue with Amari Cooper. Cooper averaged 221.8 fantasy points in his first two seasons finishing as a WR2. Cooper finished as the WR21 in 2015 and followed that up as WR14 in 2016. There were high hopes for Amari to break into the top 12 at WR in 2017, however, he failed to do so and slide back to the end of WR3 territory. Cooper ended up as WR36 with 158.4 points. The reality here is that is was much worse than a typical WR36 finish. Cooper put up 11/210/2 line on the Kansas City Chiefs in week 7. That 44-point game made up 28% of his season total. The reality for me is that Amari Cooper is simply too talented of a WR to simply fall off and fade away. He remains the #1 target in an improved offense, and he is only 23 years old. Cooper at 23 has 2 1000-yard seasons on his resume and has scored 18 TD’s. Cooper will have Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson with him this season keeping the defense honest and limiting the number of double teams he will face. He will continue to score touchdowns. Despite Cooper’s down season last year, he recorded his career high of 7 scores and averages 6 a season over his three-year career. Derek Carr will be better this year and Amari Cooper will be the catalyst in making that happen. When John Gruden referred to Amari Cooper as the “headliner”, and “focal point” of the offense, he was 100% correct. Amari Cooper bounces back and breaks into the top 12 this year.
Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There are only three players in the history of the NFL to have amassed at least 300 catches, at least 4500 receiving yards and at least 30 receiving touchdowns before blowing out the candles on their 25th birthday cake: Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, and Mr. Michael Evans. Evans started his career in 2014 as part of one of the greatest WR draft classes in recent memory. He posted 245.1, 210.8, and 304.1 points in his first three seasons, finishing as WR13, WR23, and WR3. Heading into 2017 great things were expected for Evans. He slumped to 203.1 points and a WR17 finish. Including the down season of 2017, Evans has eclipsed 1000 yards every year. He remains the go-to for the Buccaneers regardless of his starting quarterback. Evans led the league in 2017 with 41 RedZone targets and was second in end zone targets with 20. Touchdown predicting is a fool’s exercise, but what the hell. Evans averaged 9 touchdowns a season entering 2017. His career high is 12 which he achieved in 2014, and 2016. In 2017 he recorded 5. Evans will remain a league leader in RedZone targets this season and his TD catches will come back to the 7-10 range. There is no concern for me regarding his quarterback this season. He will start with Ryan Fitzpatrick before getting Jameis Winston back for week 4. Both quarterbacks will look to target Evans and he will finish back inside the top 10 at his position where he belongs.
Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears
A-Rob comes to the Chicago Bears via free agency and immediately becomes the #1 target for second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why Jacksonville didn’t slap the franchise tag on this guy. Robinson broke out in his second season with the Jags and posted 80/1400/14 line, 304 points, and a WR6 finish. 2016 saw a reduction in catches, yards, and TD’s for Robinson. His quarterback Blake Bortles also saw a big decline in his production from 2015 to 2016. Bortles saw his completions decrease by 13, his yardage by 523, and his TD passes by 12. When your quarterback slides back that much, your #1 WR is bound to follow. In 2017, A-Rob played 1 game, had 1 catch for a total of 17 yards before suffering a torn ACL, ending his season. He is back and reportedly ready to go for 2018. A-Rob has #1 overall WR upside and in this new Bears offense, he is poised to bounce back. Mitch Trubisky is my breakout quarterback in 2018, and A-Rob os one of the main reasons why. The Bears have put together a very talented offense and this will not be a team that is easy to defend. Robinson will get open and Trubisky will hit him. Robinson is in line for his 1st 100 catch season and another trip back into the top 12 at WR.
TY Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
TY Hilton is likely the happiest guy in Colts training camp. He must be thrilled that he has his starting quarterback Andrew Luck back under center and healthy for 2018.
The numbers below don’t lie, there is no doubt that TY Hilton is a different receiver with Andrew Luck than without (with all due respect to Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst, Josh Freeman, Scott Tolzien, and Jacoby Brissett). Hilton broke out in 2014 and finished as WR12, the following season Luck missed 9 games and TY dropped to WR22. Luck returned for a full season on 2016 and TY finished as WR5. Does anyone else see a pattern here? Last season TY Hilton recorded his lowest catches and receiving yards totals since his rookie season, and the lowest number of TD’s in his career. TY finished as WR27. Welcome back Andrew Luck and welcome back to the top 12WR TY!
|wdt_ID||Stats Type||With Luck||Without Luck|
Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs
If you are a member of the Dynasty RedZone Fantasy Football Community on Facebook and/or you listen to the Dynasty RedZone podcasts, then hearing Watkins being labeled as a bounce back will not come as a surprise. Watkins, (another member of the stellar 2014 draft class), has had his ups and downs throughout his career. He was poised to break out in his third season until he was derailed by a foot injury. Watkins missed games from week 3 to week 11 and never looked anywhere close to himself when he returned in week 12. The other challenging piece for Sammy was his address. Buffalo is not exactly a WR mecca, to put it mildly. Sammy Watkins was traded to the Los Angeles Rams on August 11, 2017 and caught a total of 2 passes from Jared Goff in the preseason. Goff, by the way, completed 24 passes last preseason. The chemistry that a QB and WR need never had the chance to develop. Watkins simply became a deep threat and decoy in LA. Sammy has a fresh start this year in Kansas City as he joins a very talented offense and has been working with Patrick Mahomes throughout OTA’s, Mini-Camp and now into main Training Camp. Sammy will have that required chemistry with his QB and will lead the team in WR targets, catches, yards, and TD’s in 2018. Sammy is back in the low-end WR1 high-end WR2 conversation.