Welcome to my second installment of Bounce-Back players for 2012 where I will focus on the RBs this turn around. In my first series I tackled the WRs which you can read here.
Finding a player who could have a bounce back season could very well wind up being that X-factor individual to help you win your league—they're also a great compliment to fantasy football sleepers.
The RB situation is another interesting one with a few players that you would expect to see here (easy targets) while a few others may seem like long-shots (mentions without endorsements)—at this point in the year, you're sometimes damned if ya do, and damned if ya don't.
Let's take a look at who could wind being bounce-back candidates at RB for 2012, shall we?
Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
OK, so we have our first real easy target, but it isn't just McFadden's boat load of talent that has him pinned as a bounce-back candidate.
Yes, we will all hope—just like last year—that McFadden stays healthy, but the man still puts up solid numbers even without a single full season under his belt.
Still not the reason.
The Raiders are expected to incorporate a new zone-blocking system, and they are also expected to pass a bit more in 2012—two aspects that could benefit McFadden.
The Raiders are still envisioning McFadden as a "workhorse" back, but they can easily trim the fat if the passing game performs the way most of us think that it will, the thing is though, it WILL NOT have a negative effect on McFadden's fantasy potential.
McFadden is being projected as a first round selection/RB and depending on where you are in your own particular draft, you can make a serious case for selecting him as a first rounder, so long as you understand the man does have some risk involved given his history.
If he stays healthy, he'll bounce back in a big way.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Another victim of the injury bug in 2011, Charles is said to be 100% healthy and ready to take full control of his own destiny which certainly bodes well for fantasy owners.
While this seems a bit extreme, it does suggest that the Chiefs do plan on focusing on a run-first approach. This sort of situation will bode well for both RBs, but more-so for Charles who is the primary runner in KC.
I like Charles over MJD and McFadden (another comment likely to afford me an early commitment to the looney bin in the eyes of my peers and employers, but who cares, if I'm right they make money and so do you and let's be honest, that's what it's all about unless you're competing in a casual league, right?)
For the asking price, I really do believe you can't go wrong with Jamaal Charles and he is sure to bounce-back from his unexpected 2011 season.
Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions
Ya might wanna say "...bounce back from what Ray? His rookie season wasn't all that great and last year was a total waste."
The thing is, many of us writers and fans felt that 2011 was going to be Jahvid Best's year, but in fact was not.
Still Jahvid Best possesses all the traits that the Lions firmly believe they- as a team - need to rise to the next level, and quite frankly they're right.
The Lions know that they cannot rely completely on their passing game no matter how formidable it is, if they are to advance to the Super Bowl and win it all. To accomplish this they need an offensive offset; a formidable weapon in its own rite that will force defenses to account for it—they need a healthy Jahvid Best.
Best is the sort of runner who can run through the tackles, end to end, and can also contribute in the passing game making him a three-tier threat. Whether you're in a PPR league or a Standard format, Best is certainly an interesting consideration.
Given the fact that the Lions need best, and given the fact that Best himself says he is felling better than ever. Best has every chance to bounce-back from a disappointing START to his NFL career, and as a projected 7th round selection, he also has the potential to be a great value pick.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Just follow me here, OK?
In 2010 everyone said that Chris Johnson took a step backwards. The reason for this was because his 2010 statistical line was nowhere near his 2009 line.
I found this very funny. I couldn't believe that everyone really thought that a guy, who was the primary offensive focus that rushed for 2,006 yards with 14 TDs in 2009, was simply going to duplicate the same numbers the next year—the idea is genuine balderdash.
Defenses keyed in on Johnson often stacking the box with eight strong since they didn't have to deal with a threatening passing attack. In 2011 (Johnson's worst season to date) defenses were able to stack the box even further because Tennessee passed more on the intermediate routes than deep routes which certainly helps the D keep a marquee RB in check over four quarters.
This year, the Titans want to pass the ball deep more than they have in the past. With Nate Washington and rookie sensation Kendall Wright expected to man the outside role until Kenny Britt is available, and third year man Damian Williams expected to elevate his play, one can easily suggest this can happen.
OC Chris Palmer is very serious about his introduction to a vertical pass scheme. he is going to stick with this approach no matter what, so this is gonna happen. So how does that factor into Chris Johnson?
If the Titans want to throw the ball deep more often they need more play-action, and to hopefully utilize play-action you need a quality back who is as threatening as they come...get the big picture?
Johnson may not be involved as much in the passing game as he was in 2011, but he is certainly being viewed as a back destined for a bounce-back season.
He's projecting as a first rounder (eighth overall selection at the time of this article). Will you pull the trigger? I say you should!
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Matt Forte was viewed by many as a NFL back that was going to be the next "big thing" especially after his breakout rookie season (316 rushes, 1,238 yards, 8 TDs - 63 rec, 477 yards, 4 TDs).
It wasn't until 2010, however, that Forte sort of duplicated those same numbers, suggesting to many fantasy owners that 2011 was going to be his sleeper season.
But it never happened.
Matt Forte played in a schizophrenic system designed by Mike Martz that never truly let the man use his skill-set to help this team. The other issue with 2011 is the fact that Jay Cutler got injured and the Bears simply couldn't stick with their original game plan.
Mike Tice is now the OC and plans on using a run-first approach. He wants to try and get back to the old days of Chicago Bears smash mouth football, and I for one believe this approach will work wonders for this team and their faithful.
For fantasy owners, Matt Forte is being projected as a first rounder BENEATH Raiders' RB Darren McFadden, so if you miss out on McFadden, you get just as good of a back—arguably better, but we'll save that debate for another day—for the same price.
Forte is in line for one monster of a season, and he is also in line to not only bounce back from his 2011 output, but he is also flirting with a true career breakout season.