2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL: BOUNCE BACK CANDIDATES – TIGHT ENDS
We will be covering five players at each key position that will look to have a bounce back season in 2016. To be clear, this is players that will look to bounce back, not necessarily those most likely to bounce back. We are moving on to the tight ends for this article. All of these guys had down years and have high hopes of turning things around this year. Hopefully this benefits their team and your fantasy team.
Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins
Cameron is a bounce back candidate, but he needs to bounce back more than most. He’s entering his sixth season and is a bad year away from being labeled a one-year wonder. 2013 was it for him to this point. He was bad before and has been bad since. Many had high hopes for Cameron last season when he joined the Dolphins. The theory was that he’s the perfect fit in a young and improving offense at a cheap price in Fantasy leagues. Well, Ryan Tannehill didn’t play up to expectations, the coaching staff was fired and Cameron was awful. He ended up catching just 35 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns.
This year the high hopes are slowly revving up again. Adam Gase is a TE friendly coach and there has been a ton of talk about Cameron being the beneficiary. Personally, I don’t see it happening. I actually believe Dion Sims is even a better player. Don’t waste your pick on Cameron for the third year in a row.
Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers
Cook has always been a disappointment based on expectations. An athletic pass-catcher with high hopes that never live up to expectations. However, last year he didn’t even catch a touchdown and only caught 39 passes. His 481 yards was his lowest total since 2010. He’ll hope to not only bounce back this year, but maybe even breakout.
Cook has joined Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay after spending his career in Tennessee and St. Louis. So you can see why there are some that expect a spike in production. I’m not one of them. I’m not convinced he’s significantly better than Richard Rodgers and A. Rodgers doesn’t have a history of heavily utilizing his TEs. Cook will be competing for targets with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery, who are all better options on top of R. Rodgers and Eddie Lacy. He may be worth a late-round flier, but don’t get overly excited about Cook in 2016.
Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots
Bennett dealt with injuries last year missing five games, nonetheless, he wasn’t nearly as productive when healthy as he was in 2015 despite all the injuries to the Chicago Bears WRs corps and improved play from Jay Cutler. After a 90 reception 2014 campaign, he only caught 53 passes in 2015. His yards plummeted from 916 to 439 and his TDs were cut in half from six to three.
Now he’s joining the New England Patriots and has a shot to play the old Aaron Hernandez role. The Pats are expected to go back to more two-TE big offensive sets. If Rob Gronkowski was to miss any time, Bennett could put up high-end TE1 production. Currently Bennett has an ADP on of 139.61 and is an absolute steal because of his upside. Don’t let him slip by you.
Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills
When the Bills gave Clay “Gronk money,” most expected a big year from Clay after back-to-back solid years in Miami. Expectations were not met as he produced his lowest reception and yards total in three years. Head coach Rex Ryan talked him up, but it just didn’t pan out as expected.
Once again this offseason the team is talking about how involved Clay will be in the offense. I’m buying this one. He’s too good of a player and too versatile to not be utilized. Although, Ryan does tend to handcuff offenses. I believe he’ll have an impact all over the field as a traditional TE, spread off the line and even out of the backfield. He’ll be a steal this Fantasy season. He’s currently the 23rd TE coming off draft boards.
Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks
Graham blew out his knee last year and suffered a devastating patellar tendon injury. Still, he was struggling to fit into the Seahawks offense before that. After averaging double-digit TDs over the past four seasons, he caught only two touchdown passes in 11 games last season. He also caught only 48 passes after his lowest reception total of the past four years was 85.
If Graham was healthy, I believe he could find a way to fit into this offense and be an elite TE once again. However, this injury is tough to bounce back from. It rarely happens, at least not the next season. I have a hard time believing he’ll have a healthy season and be a worthwhile Fantasy option. With that said, he does have upside as a lottery ticket being that he’s being drafted as a TE2.