Predicting the Best Bounce Back Players for 2016
Every season we see players that had a down year the season before (or at least failed to live up to expectations) bounce back to vastly outperform their ADP. Here are 7 players we see as locks to be those players in 2016.
One of the tricks of the trade when it comes to identifying bounce back players, tier jumpers, shape shifters, or whatever you want to call them is to identify systems that will improve in the coming season. Amongst the teams that fall into this category are the Broncos, Packers, Colts, 49ers, and Cowboys.
He may be the greatest ever, but Peyton Manning was horrendous in 2016. He threw for 9 touchdowns and 17 interceptions on the year, and really hindered the fantasy value of the entire team. Look through the list of starting QB’s in the NFL last season… there wasn’t one player that would provide less production than Peyton did here in 2015.
In games that Osweiler started, Thomas was a top 5 receiver averaging nearly 20 PPG in PPR formats. It doesn’t matter who wins the Denver QB competition, the system is going to improve in 2016, and Thomas will return to his top 10 wide receiver form.
Just give us contract years in general… Especially when it comes to RB’s with guaranteed roles in top 5 systems. One of the biggest reasons Eddie Lacy (and even Aaron Rodgers for that matter) struggled last season was injuries to the offensive line. They were rolling out midseason free agent signings, playing guys out of position, and really struggled to create push in the run game.
Couple that with the fact that Lacy never looked in great shape, and was injured several times throughout the season and you had the perfect storm for a down season. He came into camp lighter and faster, and the offensive line is finally back healthy. Getting Jordy Nelson back on the outside will also help move the safeties off of the line of scrimmage.
We aren’t buying him as being a top 5 back over the next three seasons, but if you are asking about the 2016 season, we are all in on Lacy having a career year and being one of the top RB’s in fantasy football.
Last season wasn’t a down year for Jarvis Landry by any means, however we didn’t get vindication for our preseason top 10 predictions. Matthew Berry and co had him ranked as the #28 overall receiver, he finished the season 11th in PPR leagues. We think he could make a run into the next tier as a top 5-10 receiver in 2016.
The reason is our projection for improved red zone production. For all of his forward thinking and innovation, Bill Lazor was a lousy play caller. The Dolphins had loads of talent on the offensive side of the ball, but could not score touchdowns. They ended the season averaging just 19 PPG, 27th in the NFL.
Adam Gase will have this team up towards the middle of the pack, which likely means 30+ touchdowns for Ryan Tannehill and 6-10 touchdowns for Jarvis Landry. If you want proof, look no further than reports out of camp that have Landry shredding the Dolphins D for dozens of touchdowns every practice. So much so that it led Miami Herald writer Armando Salguero to tweet several times that the two were almost too in sync and Tannehill needed to spread the ball around, then that Tannehill must have drafted Landry in a fantasy league he intends to win.
Again, look for systems that are poised to bounce back, and you will find bounce back players. C.J. is the Broncos 3 down back, goal line back, and this is a run-heavy offense that is trending up. The Broncos paid Anderson this offseason, and have been very clear that they expect him to push 300 carries this season. That’s nearly double his workload from 2015, and would undoubtedly push him into the top 5 RB’s in fantasy football.
We don’t expect him to get to 300 carries (only 5 guys have in the last 3 seasons) but we do expect him to jump to the 250 range. This would certainly push him way above his current ADP of 34, RB14.
We just mentioned that only a RB has gone over 300 carries only 5 times in the last 3 seasons, but despite what the Broncos are saying we don’t buy Anderson hitting 300. Well, barring injury, Hyde is a 100% lock to hit 300 carries. Of those 5 300 carry seasons, 2 were LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia.
Chip Kelly runs more than any coach in the NFL. He runs more by % and runs more by volume. They added Beadles and Garnett to the offensive line this offseason, and we expect the unit to be much improved in 2016. It’s hard to go down from what Geep Chryst did here in 2015, and we expect he combination of Chip Kelly and Curtis Modkins to have the 49ers ground game improved from day one.
Chip Kelly took over in Philadelphia in 2013 and in year one, LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing and DeSean Jackson became a top 10 fantasy receiver one year after recording just 45/700/2. We don’t expect Torrey Smith to jump into the top 10, but as the 49ers clear number one receiver, with elite speed and big play ability, he will greatly outperform his current ADP of 110.
Jordan Matthews finished a rough 2015 campaign the 18th best fantasy receiver, marking the first time Chip Kelly didn’t produce a top 10 fantasy wide receiver. As the clear number one here, I don’t see any way Torrey Smith doesn’t produce top 25 fantasy WR numbers this season. He’s a tremendous value as a late 9th round pick given his current ADP.
Just how important is Eric Ebron to the 2016 Detroit Lions? See Twitter reaction to his ruptured achilles, aka ankle sprain. The Lions have big plans for Ebron this season, and he’s had a great camp. Matthew Stafford has averaged over 4,600 yards and 29 touchdowns over the past 5 seasons, and never looked better than he did under Jim Bob Cooter at the end of 2015.
Ebron’s lack of production has been greatly overstated, his numbers last year put him as TE13 in a season where he missed 2 games and parts of 2 others. Megatron’s production has to go somewhere, and while Marvin Jones and Golden Tate are both in line for career years, we are betting Ebron picks up a huge chunk of those fantasy points in 2016.