2019 was a bit of a strange year for some of the studs for fantasy football. I am going to tell you which guys are primed for a bounce-back 2020 season.
In 2019 some of my favorite IDP players suffered down years, all with different circumstances. These IDP guys are all still studs in my book, and I am in no way fading them. In fact, I am taking advantage of the down season and scooping these guys up as value targets. Do not be fooled by these down years. Players who have multiple top 10-15 scoring seasons at their positions do not normally just fall off. Take a look deeper here at my top IDP bounce-back candidates.
Deion Jones – Atlanta Falcons
2019 Stats: 110 tackles (68 solo), 8 tackles for a loss, 5 passes defended, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, and a touchdown.
Deion Jones was an absolute stud his first two years in the NFL and was one of the best coverage linebackers as well. He showed great promise his rookie season with 108 tackles, 11 passes defended, 3 interceptions, and two touchdowns. Jones followed that up with a top-5 linebacker season racking up 133 tackles (98 solo), 10 tackles for a loss, 10 passes defended, and 3 interceptions. He was well on his way to another top-5 season in 2018 but missed weeks 2-12 with a leg injury. Still, he came back and put up big numbers the last 5 games of the season, tacking on 44 tackles, 4 passes defended, an interception, and a touchdown during that span.
After that promise, 2019 came and Jones was drafted to be an LB1 in all leagues but underwhelmed as you see his stats above. This was not entirely his fault, though, as his running mate De’Vondre Campbell had a break out year in what was a contract year for Campbell. You can read his full impact here where I covered the Campbell effect. Even with Campbell coming up with 129 tackles, Jones still put up 110 of his own. His playmaking numbers did drop off in 2019 but I fully expect him to be unleashed by the Falcons defense. Jones is one of the big IDP bounce-back candidates, and actually he’s ranked as my overall LB2 as you can read here.
Foyesade Oluokun – Atlanta Falcons
2019 Stats: 62 tackles (36 solo), 2 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.
As mentioned above Deion Jones missed weeks 2-12 in 2018. Foyesade Oluokun came in and made 7 starts of the games and outplayed De’Vondre Campbell. He had 91 total tackles in 2018 while playing on only 48.3% of the team’s snaps compared to Campbell who had 94 tackles on 82.4% of the team’s snaps. Oluokun also started over Campbell in the final five games with Jones when he came back. Unfortunately for Oluokun, the Falcons chose to go with Campbell to start the 2019 season which relegated Oluokun back to bench duties. Campbell is gone now, and Oluokun is primed to be a full-time starter next to Jones leaving him being one of the top IDP bounce-back candidates.
Dee Ford – San Francisco 49ers
2019 Stats: 14 tackles (10 solo), 6 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 1 pass defended and 2 forced fumbles.
The 49ers traded for Dee Ford and gave him an extension after he produced 13 sacks and a league-leading seven forced fumbles in 2018. His 2019 was thought to be a failure by most looking at his stats, but I am actually buying him up everywhere. Ford only played on 22.3% of the team’s snaps due to lingering injuries and only made two starts. If you look closer at the stats, his sack rate (sacks/snap count) was higher than any other 49er player on defense. Ford will be going into the 2020 season fully healthy and the team shipped off stud defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Colts which they, in turn, drafted Javon Kinlaw.
Kinlaw is a nice replacement but I see Arik Armstead shifting inside much more this season, which is actually his true position. They will use the pass rush trio of Armstead, Ford, and Nick Bosa regularly for the 2020 season. With Ford seeing a regular amount of snaps, he becomes one of the better bounce-back candidates.
2019 Stats: 45 tackles (30 solo), 10 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles a 2 fumble recoveries
Demarcus Lawrence saw his tackle total dip from 64 in 2018 to 45 in 2019, and his sack total dropped from 10.5 to 5. Due to this lack of production, it seems that most people are fading Lawrence in their rankings. I am using this weak 2019 to scoop Lawrence up at a value. What you did not hear much about during the season was that he was playing through a shoulder injury. This was because he played in all 16 games. Shoulder injuries are very difficult for edge rushers to be productive through. The injury hinders their ability to use punch moves, hand fight, and use shoulder dips around the edge. Lawrence should come into 2020 healthy, buy him at a discount.
Jarran Reed – Seattle Seahawks
2019 Stats: 27 tackles (10 solo), 2 sacks, 1 pass defended, and a forced fumble.
Jarran Reed turned into one of the premier interior defenders in 2018. He came up with 50 tackles, 12 for a loss, 10.5 sacks, and 24 QB hits. Unfortunately, off the field issues landed him a six-game suspension in 2019, and he seemed to never be able to take off. Fantasy football owners who stashed him were soured by his performance. Now he is likely a guy who most will overlook. You cannot overlook the 10.5 sacks and 24 QB hits though, and he should have a nice bounce-back season.
Damarious Randall – Las Vegas Raiders
2019 Stats: 61 tackles (41 solo), 3 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and 6 passes defended.
Damarious Randall is coming off of a bit of a lost 2019 season. He missed 4 games due to a hamstring injury but also missed two games purely due to coach’s decision. 2019 was the first season in Randall’s five-year career that he failed to record an interception. In fact, he had no less than 3 interceptions in any of his other four seasons.
He also had a very productive 2018 with the Browns, Randall’s first year starting at safety. He had 85 tackles (72 solo), 2 tackles for a loss, 9 passes defended, and four interceptions during that season. Erik Harris was the starting free safety for the Raiders in 2019. He was able to rack up 74 tackles, 8 passes defended, and 3 interceptions. Nothing against Erik Harris, but Randall is the far superior player. All these factors point to Randall being one of the top IDP bounce-back candidates.
Eli Apple – Carolina Panthers
2019 Stats: 58 tackles (53 solo), 4 passes defended, and a forced fumble.
Eli Apple was poised to be one of the top IDP cornerbacks leading into the 2019 season. He was acquired by the Saints for the remaining 10 games of 2018, During that span, he was a top IDP cornerback. In his 10 games with the Saints, he finished with 52 tackles, 9 passes defended, and two interceptions. Apple also was playing across from one of the premier lockdown corners in the NFL, Marshon Lattimore. However, Apple disappointed in 2019 overall, but he did show that he’s a sure tackler. Only five of his total tackles were assisted.
Apple landed in Carolina to take over as the top candidate to replace James Bradberry who signed with the Giants. He is again playing across from a top corner in Donte Jackson, a spot where James Bradberry consistently scored. Apple now squares off with one of the most pass-happy conferences. He must deal with the Saints and Drew Brees, the Falcons and Matt Ryan, and the Buccaneers and Tom Brady. Apple will likely be one of the most targeted cornerbacks in the league.
All the players in this article played well below expectations during the 2019 season. In turn, this is causing many owners to fade them from their rosters. I, on the other, hand am an opportunistic person and see value in these guys. Go ahead and load up more on your offensive positions. Every one of these players is likely to drop below their 2019 ADP. All of these players are IDP bounce-back candidates, feel free to draft with confidence.
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