2024 Bounce Back Candidates

Heading into 2024, and each season, there are those players that struggled last year- but are bounce back candidates for the upcoming season. For the sake of this list, we aren’t just going to batter on players who weren’t able to play in 10 games this past season. (so the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins & Nick Chubb would all be excluded from this list).

Joe Burrow (QB, CIN)

Burrow (and the Bengals) struggled to start the season. Leading into the season, Burrow was dealing with a calf injury which limited his ability to move in the pocket. Then, just as he and the Bengals were getting on track, he suffered a wrist injury that ended his season.

As a result of those injuries, and the overall struggle of the Bengals will have left plenty of bad feelings towards Burrow for 2024. Losing his OC, who has become the head coach of the Titans, isn’t a big deal. Zac Taylor will still be calling the plays, and Dan Pitcher (was the QB coach) steps up to be the OC.

Joe Mixon may have gone, replaced with Zack Moss, but Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are both returning to the team. When you then throw in players like Jermaine Burton/ Trenton Irwin/ and Bengals TEs, Burrow has enough pieces to be fantasy-relevant as he was in 2022, and be in the second (or top of third) tier at the position.

Tony Pollard (RB, TEN)

Throughout his career, Pollard had been a decent handcuff/change-of-pace guy- limited by the volume of Ezekiel Elliott. Well, once the veteran left the team, it looked like Pollard would be allowed to get that volume and be a fantasy beast. While it was unlikely that he would be able to maintain his efficiency on an increased volume, he struggled across the season with a lack of TD scoring.

Joining the Titans, who let Derrick Henry leave this offseason, Pollard has another opportunity to be the lead back for a team. The Titans are unlikely to be as high-powered of an offense as the Cowboys were last season. But, there should be plenty of touches for Pollard out of the backfield, on the ground and through the air. There is the involvement of Tyjae Spears to content with, but with Pollard’s struggles with his redzone touches, there is potential for a return to being an effective fantasy option for 2024.

Aaron Jones (RB, MIN)

Jones, like others here, was rocked by injury and his struggle to find the endzone- as well as finding himself on a new team for 2024. The veteran was still a decent runner, and pass-catcher, he just struggled with an injury upsetting his season-long stats, and didn’t find the endzone as much as he did in previous seasons.

The Vikings backfield isn’t without risk, given the end-of-the-season performances of Ty Chandler, as it could limit his volume. The change in QB also brings more uncertainty, with either Sam Darnold or rookie J.J. McCarthy running the offense. But, a player of Jones’ talent should be able to be an effective piece of the offense (as well as finding the endzone more than the 3 TDs he scored last season).

Garrett Wilson(WR, NYJ)

Entering 2023, Wilson was possibly the most hyped player I could remember for a long time. After suffering with poor QB play in his rookie season, he was being given Aaron Rodgers to throw the ball- lasting of all of……..next to nothing. Rodgers tore his Achilles, and Wilson was back to getting a patchwork of QBs throwing him the ball.

Targets aren’t the issue, with the Wilson ranking 4th in targets for 2023, and 6th in 2022. The issue is, that without an effective QB, the offense has struggled to get him the ball in a way that he can showcase his talent. The expectation is that Rodgers is going to be healthy, and still able to throw it. To be honest, even if he is only able to get up to 75% of what he was with the Packers, he will be the best QB Wilson has had. The most expensive (in terms of ADP) player on this list, but if he manages to score more than 4 TDs, he will be a top fantasy option for the season.

Tee Higgins (WR, CIN)

As I mentioned with the Burrow mention, the start of the season was a struggle, before the Bengals had to move to a new QB. Higgins himself suffered an injury at the start of the season, which clearly hurt his fantasy production. Working as the WR2 in the offense, behind Ja’Marr Chase, Higgins needs both himself and the QB throwing him the ball to be fit and healthy.

Higgins has shown that he can perform to be a WR2 for fantasy, with some boom weeks, even when Chase has been leading the team in targets. With Higgins yet to have a long-term contract in place, he is going to be playing with massive motivation to get paid beyond next season.

Kyle Pitts (TE, ATL)

Is this finally going to be the season that Pitts repays the draft capital that was expended on him? Drafted towards the top of the NFL draft in 2021, he had a huge yardage season (with only a single TD) in his rookie season, and since then has struggled for production in the Falcons offense.

This offseason, the team added Kirk Cousins to lead their offense, and moved on from Arthur Smith. The Falcons overall are becoming an increasingly popular team this offseason. But, with the number of established (and potential breakout) TEs in the league, Pitts feels like he is being overlooked this draft season. If you can get him for the right price, he could payoff this season.

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