Every year there are players that don’t live up to the preseason hype, whether it be because of injuries, coaching, or the roster situation around them (specifically at QB for skill players). Every year there are also a handful of these same players that bounce back and have a surprisingly good year after a down year. Here is the list of the Top 10 players I think have the best chance of bouncing back and having a good year on the field and in Fantasy in 2018:
1. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Last year would definitely be considered rough for the previous season’s MVP as Ryan’s production dipped way down in 2017 as he finished #17 among QB in Total Fantasy points scored and only scored 14.3 PPG. Most of that can be credited to the fact that great Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan left for the San Francisco Head Coaching job in the off-season. With Steve Sarkisian calling plays there was more balance and less big plays to be had. Now after working with each other for a year, I think the Falcons offense will more resemble the squad that led them to the Super Bowl two years ago. While I don’t expect Matt Ryan to get back to MVP form this year, I think he will finish as a Top 10 Fantasy QB when it’s all said and done.
2. Houston Texans D/ST
While defenses aren’t always thought of as a key to winning in Fantasy, good ones can score a ton of points for your team. The Texans defense struggled through last year (scoring 4.7 PPG) while dealing with a lot of injuries including to their star pass rusher J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus. They were also able to add talent on the back end by signing Tyrann Mathieu and drafting fellow safety Justin Reid in the 3rd Round. The Texans had one of the top fantasy defenses two years ago and I expect them to get back to that dominant form in 2018.
3. Jimmy Graham, TE, Green Bay Packers
On the surface it doesn’t seem like Graham had much of a down year last year as he finished 8th overall among TE in fantasy points scored in a weak season for the position. But by playing in a system that didn’t fully utilize their TE as receivers, he did not get the production that is expected out of a player of Graham’s caliber. Now Graham is in Green Bay where he will be catching passes from the best QB in the game and playing under a Head Coach in Mike McCarthy that will utilize him to his full potential. While Jimmy has lost a step as he’s gotten older, he is still a major receiving threat from the TE position and all signs point to him getting back to the type of production he was putting up in New Orleans with Drew Brees and Sean Payton.
4. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Yes, T.Y. still almost got to 1,000 receiving yards. Yes, he still had major impacts on the way the Colts offense was defended. But without Andrew Luck at QB his production took a major hit last season finishing #27 at the WR position fantasy points scored. If Andrew Luck is indeed healthy and behind center for the Colts again this season, then there is no question Hilton will get back to finishing Top 5 in the league in receiving yards. Even if Andrew Luck isn’t fully healthy at the start of the season, having a full off-season to work with backup QB Jacoby Brissett is going to make a world of difference for both players. Whether it is Luck or Brissett throwing passes for the Colts this season, expect Hilton to easily crack 1,000 yards receiving again this year.
5. Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
It wasn’t that long ago that Andy Dalton was one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the league (if he is really a franchise QB is a discussion for another time). Last season a dip in talent to the OL and injuries to the skill players around him caused him to take a nose dive as a fantasy option. This off-season, however, the Bengals fortified the front by trading for OT Cordy Glenn and drafting OG/C Billy Price. They should also get a better versions of John Ross and Joe Mixon as they get acclimated to the NFL after their rookie seasons, Giovanni Bernard returns from injury, and A.J. Green still lines up on the outside. All this points to Dalton returning to form with a floor of at least a solid QB2 and a ceiling of being a Top 10 fantasy QB if everything goes right.