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Fantasy Football Edge: Bounce Back Performers

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By Moe Koltun, Matt Cott, and Matthew Schwimmer of Roto Analysis

When a highly drafted player struggles to start the year, it’s always tough to know what to do. Do you continue to start them off of pedigree or do you bench them for the hot hand? What can be even more confusing is when those same players finally bounce back. This week we’re going to focus on four players who started off slow, but may finally be back on track.

Chris Johnson, Titans RB

After not recording a rushing touchdown for seven weeks, Johnson got two last weekend en route to 29 fantasy points. His schedule should allow him to continue that with two Jaguar matchups and the Raiders coming up. Over the past four weeks CJ has averaged 15.8 fantasy points per week. That’s a top 5 RB pace. Despite the presence of Shonn Greene and his lack of touchdowns, Johnson has the talent to have a huge second half –we have him in the back end of our top 10 the rest of the way.

Stevan Ridley, Patriots RB

After a disappointing start to the season, Stevan Ridley has scored six touchdowns in his past four games after failing to reach the endzone in his first four contests. In addition, to these scores, Ridley has eclipsed the 75 yard mark three times in the last four games. The Patriots seem to face a rather favorable rushing schedule the rest of the way and with Gronk and Danny Amendola finally back and healthy, Ridley should be able to find more running lanes. Yes, Shane Vereen will likely be back after the Patriots bye, but that shouldn’t affect much. They play a very different role in the offense and it was only ten weeks ago that Ridley was ranked a top-10 back while Vereen was a strong flex play. Expect the other Patriots to see fewer carries and be comfortable with Stevan Ridley as a RB2 the rest of the way.

C.J. Spiller, Bills RB

There’s no pretty way to describe how C.J. Spiller has played this year. It’s been ugly and his usage has been a lot lower than many expected. That being said, Spiller was dealing with a high ankle sprain and seems to be improving weekly. Last week, Spiller showed the burst that made him a first-round pick in drafts this summer by rushing for 116 yards and catching another 39 yards worth of passes. While Fred Jackson is not going to disappear, the Bills know that Spiller is the more explosive back so if he is healthy, expect him to continue to get more usage. While that doesn’t make him the top RB many hoped he would be this year, he should finish the year as a high-upside backend RB2 or potential flex play.

Andre Johnson, Texans WR

Similarly to Chris Johnson, Andre had no touchdowns through his first seven games but went off for three in one half last weekend. Case Keenum is proving to be a decent fill-in and should maintain fantasy value for Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. At age 32, Johnson has proven that he still has plenty left in the tank. His insane finish to last season gives him 1,849 yards in his last 16 games. He is a clear top 15 option but probably not top 10 – his lack of TDs will hold him back the rest of the way.

Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblemsMatt @KidCotti21and Matt@Schwimingly. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.

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