The 2018 Rotos: Best Fantasy Football Bounce Back - Roto Street Journal
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The 2018 Rotos: Best Fantasy Football Bounce Back

Football writers and fans love nothing more than vehemently declaring the death of a career. “This guy’s FINISHED,” they’ll say, booming their hot take out into the world for anyone who will listen. Sometimes they’re right; other times, they’re Max Kellerman. This installment of the 2018 Rotos is here to reward the guys who may have been declared finished by the Kellermans of the world but bounced back in a huge way after disappointing 2017 seasons. Whether their struggles were due to injury, lack of opportunity, or just plain regression, they fought through an offseason of criticism and shoved it right back into the mouths of those who had the balls to say it.

The nominees for 2018 Best Fantasy Bounce Back are:

  • Joe Mixon
  • Andrew Luck
  • Eric Ebron
  • Tyler Lockett
  • Emmanuel Sanders

Contenders

Tyler Lockett

2017 Fantasy Points (PPR): 124.3
2017 Scoring Rank: WR56

2018 Fantasy Points (PPR): 222.4
2018 Scoring Rank: WR16

Tyler Lockett has been a strong offensive and special teams performer for the Seahawks throughout his 4-year career, but as he was constantly surrounded by talents like Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin, his fantasy production never made him much of a commodity. That changed this year, as he set career-highs in targets, receptions, yards, and TDs. Lockett was given some added opportunity with Baldwin missing some time due to injury, and he took full advantage and turned in a tremendous 2018 season.

Emmanuel Sanders

2017 Fantasy Points (PPR): 114.5
2017 Scoring Rank: WR60

2018 Fantasy Points (PPR): 198.2
2018 Scoring Rank: WR23

A lot of things contributed to Emmanuel Sanders‘ lackluster 2017 campaign. He missed a few games with injuries, and even when he was available, he clearly wasn’t 100%. Making matters worse was Denver’s QB situation and their reliance on Demaryius Thomas to lead the WR corps. Sanders’ 2018 season was shaping up to be a strong one already, but once Thomas was traded to Houston at the deadline, Sanders became the most important part of Denver’s passing game. Unfortunately, a torn Achilles at practice cut his season short by 4 games and may put the start of next season in jeopardy, but Sanders still put up a strong season that had owners happy they stuck with him after a slow 2017.

Joe Mixon

2017 Fantasy Points (PPR): 141.3
2017 Scoring Rank:
RB34


2018 Fantasy Points (PPR):
243.4
2018 Scoring Rank:
RB10

Joe Mixon‘s rookie season in Cincinnati wasn’t a disappointment by any stretch, but still left something to be desired. Mixon was behind Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill on the Bengals’ depth chart, which severely limited his production. But with Hill in New England and Bernard’s role drastically decreased in 2018, it was the Joe Mixon Show in Cincy. Despite missing a few games early on with an injury, Mixon was one of the most consistent backs in football in 2018, dipping into single digits just a few times and putting up some monster games in between. He also solidified his role as a back who can catch passes, which further helped him to usurp Bernard’s role in the Bengals offense. Mixon’s talent is undeniable, and even if Hue Jackson takes over as his head coach in 2019, should still be off draft boards very early.

Finalists

Andrew Luck

2017 Fantasy Points (PPR): 0
2017 Scoring Rank: N/A

2018 Fantasy Points (PPR): 327.9
2018 Scoring Rank: QB5

After missing the entire 2017 season due to a shoulder injury that at its worst looked possibly career-ending, Andrew Luck was one of the NFL’s best at the QB position in 2018. His 39 TD passes were 2nd only to Patrick Mahomes, and his 4,593 passing yards were 5th-most in the league and the most he’s thrown for since his last Pro Bowl appearance in 2014. From second opinions, trips to Germany, and throwing Nerf footballs at mini camp to one of the best fantasy seasons from any QB is a comeback story that’ll make it hard to beat out Luck on this award.

Eric Ebron

2017 Fantasy Points (PPR): 132.4
2017 Scoring Rank: TE13


2018 Fantasy Points (PPR): 222.2
2018 Scoring Rank: TE4

When Eric Ebron signed with the Colts after the 2017 season, most of us saw him as a useless backup whose primary role on the team would be to lower the ceiling on RSJ favorite Jack Doyle. But after a season which saw Doyle miss significant time with injury and Ebron put up the 4th-most fantasy points among NFL tight ends, it’s safe to say we were wrong on that one. Ebron set career highs across the board in 2018 including a ridiculous 13 TDs, which was 2nd in the NFL to only Antonio Brown. Ebron also had 21 red zone targets on the year, which was 10th most in the league and definitely contributed to his gaudy TD numbers.

The Winner of 2018 Best Fantasy Bounce Back

Andrew Luck

Of course it had to be Luck. He was declared done, dead, and finished more than anyone else this offseason, and responded with an incredible season that many people didn’t see coming. He beat out some worthy opponents, most notably his teammate Ebron, and now will look to continue his impressive resurgence in the playoffs.

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