10 Players Who Were Last Year's Trash, but are This Year's Treasures
Sometimes good players have bad seasons, whether it's because of injury, personal issues, or a bad situation (much like Larry Fitzgerald had two years ago in 2012). If a player has proven to be a valuable fantasy asset, don't let one bad year discourage you too much. The best value you can get is buying low on a good player coming off a bad season. A lot of fantasy owners just look at the numbers, and forget about these guys. I'm here to make sure you're not one of those owners. Here are a few of the NFL's top players that will bounce back in 2014 after a subpar 2013.
Before reading the Running Backs, Read THIS:
I want to start my running back section by pointing out you will not find Trent Richardson or CJ Spiller on this list because Spiller can't stay healthy and Fred Jackson just doesn't seem to want to go away. Trent Richardson's just not very good. He has shown nothing to prove he's any good beside the fact that in 2012 the Browns just had no one else give the ball to, and they were satisfied with getting less than four yards a carry because hey three is better than the two yards they would get from anybody else. Donnie Brown was the superior back last year, and expect Ahmad Bradshaw to be the superior back this year. Also, don't be that guy that drafts Darren McFadden, this isn't the year just like the last four weren't.
QB Robert Griffin III, WAS - Solid/Safe Pick
After a spectacular rookie season, RG3 had a disappointing 2013. Coming off maybe the best rookie season a fantasy QB has ever had, it wouldn't have been a surprise if RG3's numbers declined a little bit. But rushing back from a torn ACL, distractions, and turmoil with the head coach led to a season that would not make RG1 or RG2 proud. However, this year I expect a big bounce back year from RG3. With a new head coach, a healthy knee, and a flashy new weapon in Desean Jackson the arrow is pointing up on Robert Griffin. The sky is the limit for Griffin this season. I will be ranking him just outside of the top 5, but there is no reason he can't end the season as high as the fourth ranked QB.
QB Eli Manning, NYG - Quality Backup
Eli and the Giants tend to follow up a bad season with a bounce back season. Last year the Giants were a mess in pretty much every area possible. They had no running backs left on their roster by the season's end, and they couldn't stop anybody, so everyone knew they were throwing anyway. That's not always a bad thing for a fantasy QB, but the line couldn't block anybody (and even if they could, the Giants' wide receivers all had disappointing seasons when it came to catching the ball, effort, and overall performance). I expect the Giants to be better in every aspect possible in 2014. They have proven to have good ownership, coaching, and leadership. The Giants and Eli will get it together and bounce back in a big way this season. They have an improved O-line and new young weapons on offense. The interceptions will always be there when it comes to the lesser of the Manning brothers, but he can cancel that out with big time passing numbers, especially in the 4th quarter.
RB Arian Foster, HOU - Solid/Safe Pick
Foster had a tough 2013 when it came to his health. He got hurt in camp, and never really seemed to bounce back fully. There is a health risk with Foster coming off back surgery, but all reports right now say he's looking and feeling great. Foster has been one of the most dominant backs of the last five seasons, and with his injury risk you can most likely draft him with great value. He is in a new system, but the Texans still want to emphasize the run; we all know Foster can catch the ball out of the back field. He will be ranked around 10 because of his struggles last year, but he can return to form and be as high as the #1 fantasy running back in the NFL.
RB Doug Martin, TB - Stud (low risk)
Martin had a great rookie season in 2012, but struggled early last year. He never got a chance to bounce back after suffering a season ending shoulder injury. That whole team was a mess early last season. It may have been Schiano, Freeman, or something we don't know about, but something was definitely wrong with the Bucs the first half of last season. I expect them to be much improved next season. With three giant targets and a new QB, defenses cannot key in on Martin. There should be plenty of running room for Martin. The only thing I would look out for is Lovie Smith spreading the ball around a lot more using duel backs. Mike James, another fine product of "The U", proved to be a more than serviceable back last season. But no matter how you slice it, Doug Martin is a definite number 1 back and that cannot be ignored in a league where that has become scarce.
RB Darren Sproles, PHI - Quality Backup
Sproles has proven to be PPR gold. Last season he just didn't seem to get the touches he needed to make a big time fantasy impact. I doubt he'll have that problem with Chip Kelly. He is the perfect fit for Kelly's offense and Shady McCoy has publicly stated he wants less touches. Expect Sproles to get plenty of touches, and go back to being a big time PPR asset once again in 2014.