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Bounce Back Busts from 2012 – (Wide Receivers)
Every year we have them and they can completely sink your team. Early round picks that end up $#!Ting the bed! In this edition of Bounce Back Busts I’ll be covering 2012 Wide Receiver BUSTS that have the ability to produce a Bounce Back season in 2013 and get back to being weekly fantasy producers. These players have either had new additions added to their team, lost players to Free Agency opening up a more predominant role or just plain out tanked last year.
8. Percy Harvin, Sea (12) reunites with OC Darrell Bevell, who coached him in his first 2 years in the NFL. Bevell’s familiarity with Harvin will only help his cause, but the upgrade at quarterback to Russell Wilson won’t be a bad thing, either. Harvin has averaged at least 80 total yards per game each of the last 2 seasons (that’s with shaky quarterback play) and had 6 games with at least 10 Fantasy points in 9 active games last season. Harvin should be considered a No. 1 Fantasy WR worth drafting in Round 3 or 4 in the majority of all leagues.
13. Larry Fitzgerald, Ari (9) has a new coach in Bruce Arians, who favors downfield passing, and a significant upgrade at quarterback in Carson Palmer. Fitzgerald was limited to 71 receptions for 798 yards and just 4 touchdowns, and he finished outside the Top 25 amongst Wide Receivers in Fantasy production despite being the 7th-most targeted receiver (156) in the NFL. Fitzgerald should be considered a low-end No. 1 Fantasy WR come Draft Day, worth drafting with a pick in Round 3 or 4. If he bounces back as expected, he should be a steal this season in all leagues.
17. Dwayne Bowe, KC (10) posted 72 receptions for 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2010. He was serviceable in 2011 with 81 receptions for 1,159 yards and 5 touchdowns, but he was TERRIBLE last year with 59 receptions for 801 yards and just 3 touchdowns. He has a new and skillful quarterback in Alex Smith, and that will help his outlook and production. Expect a lot of passes thrown Bowe‘s way (114 targets in 2012, 142 targets in 2011 and 133 targets in 2010). A lot of Fantasy owners might view Bowe as a guy to settle for as a No. 2 receiver but he’s actually one to feel good about drafting in Rounds 5 or 6, any later and he’s a great steal.
18. Jordy Nelson, GB (4) finished with just 57 receptions for 842 yards (14.7 yards per catch) and 7 touchdowns over the regular season and 2 postseason games, though he missed large chunks of 2 games because of injuries. Of his 7 touchdowns, 3 came in 1 game and all but 1 came AWAY from Lambeau Field. Nelson previously ruled Lambeau, scoring at least once in every home game in ’11. He was ultimately stung by a lack of targets in general, finishing 4th-best on the team with only 73 in the regular season. He also had just 8 plays of 20-plus yards after having 19 in 2011, and all of this came with MORE playing time this year than last when he was healthy. If you can land Nelson as a 3rd WR in a standard league or a low-end No. 2 Fantasy WR in deeper format, you’re ahead of the game. Figure Round 6 as a safe time to start looking towards Nelson.
19. Hakeem Nicks, NYG (9) is expected to rebound this season after an injury-plagued year in 2012. While Nicks played in 13 games last season, he was limited by knee and foot injuries and finished with just 53 receptions on 100 targets for 692 yards but just 3 touchdowns. Keep in mind before last year he had consecutive seasons of at least 76 receptions, 1,050 yards and 7 touchdowns with 18 total touchdowns over that span. So long as he shows he has no injury concerns, he’ll be appealing to Fantasy owners as a high-risk, high-reward No.2 Fantasy WR worth a pick in Rounds 5 or 6.
20. Pierre Garcon, Was (5) missed 6 games and was limited in 2 others because of a nagging toe problem last year. Then this offseason he had chest surgery, although he’s expected to be fine for training camp. Garcon showed last year that when he played, he was dominant. He had double digits in Fantasy points in 4 of the 8 games where he was close to 100% and finished the season with 44 receptions for 633 yards and 4 touchdowns. Staying healthy is obviously the most important thing he can do to keep him relevant in Fantasy Football but one recurrence of the toe injury could wipe out several games. If he can stay upright and assuming QB Robert Griffin III is healthy with his knee, Garcon should be solid No. 2 Fantasy WR worth a mid-round draft pick.
22. Steve Smith, Car (4) had 73 receptions on 138 total targets for 1,174 yards but just 4 touchdowns. He has the chance to improve on those stats, especially the touchdowns. As Cam Newton’s No.1 target, Smith remains a quality Fantasy receiver in all league formats, and he looks like a solid No. 2 Fantasy WR option heading into 2013. Expect owners to target Smith somewhere around Rounds 5 to 7, and he should be able to post quality stats again this season.
24. Danny Amendola, NE (10) got the dream job this off-season as he signed with the Patriots as a free agent. He is expected to replace the departed Wes Welker, and Amendola should be in line for a huge boost in production if he can stay healthy (he’s missed 20 games the past 2 years). He’s never been a big scoring threat with 3 touchdowns his career high, but he is a high-volume receiver with 153 receptions in his past 28 games and all those numbers could be on the rise if he can remain healthy. Owners should consider Amendola a low-end No. 2/high-end No. 3 Fantasy WR in standard leagues, that could approach 100 receptions as Welker‘s replacement if he can remain healthy, making him a potential No. 2 Fantasy WR option in PPR formats. Drafting Amendola in Rounds 6 thru 8 is the safest but don’t be surprised to see him taken by some owners as early as Round 4.
25. Greg Jennings, Min (5) will be in a familiar role as the No. 1 receiver with the Vikings, though he won’t quite have the same kind of quarterback throwing to him. Health has been a factor for Jennings as he missed 3 games in 2011 with a leg injury, and groin and abdomen injuries kept him off the field for 8 games last season. But once he was healthy he finished strong. Including 2 postseason games among his final 4 contests, he scored 4 times and caught 25 receptions for 280 yards. The good news is that Jennings can be had a much later point in drafts compared to recent years as you can probably make it to Round 6 and still see him there. Consider him a low-end No.2/High-end No. 3 Fantasy WR with a ton of upside.
26. Torrey Smith, Bal (8) is expected to bring big things as he enters his 3rd season with the Ravens. His stats have turned out to look similar through 2 years, getting roughly 50 receptions for 850 yards per year with 7 touchdowns as a rookie and 8 as a sophomore last season. Smith also said he buys into the 3rd-year receiver theory. And he said his goals this season are 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Smith has a ton of potential heading into his 3rd year, and he presents a ton of upside as a No. 3 Fantasy WR with a mid-round pick. If Smith picks up the slack with Anquan Boldin gone and matures in his 3rd year, this could be a fantastic breakout campaign.
27. Antonio Brown, Pit (5) desperately needs to step up as the Steelers best receiving threat in 2013 after he struggled last year. Missing 3 games with a high-ankle sprain, Brown failed to duplicate his team MVP season of 2011, when he was a 1,000-yard receiver and kick returner. Brown caught nearly as many passes (66) as he did the season before (69), but his yardage dropped from 1,108 to 787 and his punt return average declined from 10.8 yards to 6.8. Brown has even more value in leagues that award fantasy points for all purpose yards. Brown remains a nice No. 3 Fantasy WR and a spot starter in standard leagues, with the chance to be a weekly starter if he can play at a more consistent level without Mike Wallace opening up the field for him. On the bright side, Brown is an excellent value pick with upside as a mid-round selection.
30. Miles Austin, Dal (11) has played 16 games in 3 of the past 4 years and he was the No. 26 Fantasy receiver last year with 66 receptions for 943 yards and 6 touchdowns. He had 8 games with double-digit Fantasy points, including 6 of the first 7 games to start the season. He’s battled hamstring problems the past 2 years, which is something that has dropped his value including the emergence of Dez Bryant as Tony Romo’s go-to wide receiver. If you can snag Austin as a No.3 Fantasy WR with a mid-round pick you will be in good shape. If he gives you 16 games again he has the potential to be a Top-25 receiver, and if you consider him a spot starter, injury or bye-week replacement, that’s good value for a receiver of his caliber.
35. Desean Jackson, Phi (12) had just 58 receptions for 961 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2011. He then dropped to 45 receptions for 700 yards and only 2 touchdowns in 2012, including being out the final 4 games with a rib injury. From 2009 to 2010, Jackson produced 2,200 receiving yards and 17 total touchdowns but he has to stay healthy and prove he can be a consistent fantasy producer. Hopefully the addition of Chip Kelly can help Jackson get back on track. The good thing about Jackson this year is you can draft him with a mid-round pick (Rounds 6-8) compared to the past 2 years when he has been a much earlier-round selection. If you land Jackson as your No. 3 WR you’re in pretty good shape. IF Jackson gives owners 16 games he could reach 1,000-plus receiving yards again with at least 6 touchdowns.
41. Kenny Britt, Ten (8) is going into a make-or-break season. He’s healthy, he has no outstanding legal issues and he’s entering a contract year, the perfect blend for him to finally buckle down and focus on football. Britt finished last year with 3 touchdowns in his last 6 games and 3 games with 10-plus Fantasy points in his last 5 games, so there is some hope that he can be productive and helpful in Fantasy. There is plenty of risk with a guy like Britt but Fantasy owners can get him with an un-risky choice such as a middle- to late-round pick as a No. 3 or 4 Fantasy WR, he could prove profitable. Think about Britt as nothing more than a mid-round choice as a borderline No. 3 Fantasy receiver.
48. Santonio Holmes, NYJ (10) is trying to come back from last year’s foot injury and prove he can still be a reliable weapon for the Jets and Fantasy owners. Since coming to the Jets in 2010 he has been a disappointment, and in 2012 he appeared in just 4 games before hurting his foot. A new quarterback is a possibility, and Holmes would benefit with an upgrade over Mark Sanchez even if it’s rookie QB Geno Smith. The Jets did get a new offensive coordinator with Marty Mornhinweg replacing the fired Tony Sparano, and the Jets will now have a West Coast-style offense which should and could give Holmes the chance for more targets and receptions along with being on a team that is likely to be trailing a lot. Because of that he’s worth a late-round pick, and don’t be surprised if Holmes (with the help of a quarterback upgrade over Mark Sanchez) turns into a viable No. 3 Fantasy WR option.
Other Bounce Back Bust articles include
Top 7 Bounce Back Quarterback’s
Top 10 Bounce Back Running Back’s
Top 9 Bounce Back Tight End’s