It's almost that time of the year. Football fans are already working on their big board for the upcoming NFL Fantasy Draft. Obviously, that means most of them aren't going to trust the guys that disappointed them in 2019.
Even so, some exceptions are going to prove their doubters wrong. Either if you play Fantasy Sports, enjoy sports gambling, or simply are a fan of sports, the players will be extra motivated to demonstrate the rest of the NFL what they're made of.
So, considering they had a full year to fully heal from their injuries, plus free agency or Draft additions, changes in the coaching staff, or being in a new environment, we're going to let you know about our top 10 bounce-back candidates for the 2020 NFL season.
10. Baker Mayfield
2019 Stats: 534 Attempts, 317 Completions, 59.4 Completion%, 12.1 Yards Per Completion, 3,827 Yards, 22 TD, 21 INT, 28 Rush, 141 Rushing Yards, 5.0 Yards Per Carry, 3 Rushing TD, 2 Fumbles Lost
The Cleveland Browns' never-ending search for a starting quarterback may have come to an end - for now, as Baker Mayfield looks like the answer for the future. However, he must significantly improve from his subpar performances in 2019 now that Freddy Kitchens is out of the picture.
Mayfield's talent as a dual-threat quarterback speaks for itself but it must translate into production now. He's got more weapons at his disposal this season and has reportedly put a lot of work on his accuracy. The speed is there, the arm power is there, it's showtime.
9. Todd Gurley
2019 Stats: 223 Rush, 857 Yards, 3.8 Yards Per Carry, 12 TD, 31 Receptions, 207 Receiving Yards, 6.7 Yards Per Reception, 2 Receiving TD, 3 Fumbles Lost
It's kind of bizarre to say Todd Gurley may be in for a bounce-back year if we consider the fact that he scored 14 total touchdowns last season but hey, those scoring totals must be looked at with a grain of salt. Also, that's just how much we expect from him.
Gurley was the best back in the game a couple of years ago and the Rams basically paid him to leave. He may not score as many touchdowns with the Falcons as he did in Los Angeles and health will always be a concern but if he's able to stay on the gridiron, he'll play with a chip on his shoulder and prove again why he took the NFL by storm in 2015.
8. A.J. Green
2019 Stats: N/A
A.J. Green didn't play a single snap last year although he was reportedly ready to pad up towards the end of the year. Injuries have always been a major issue with him but, when healthy, he's one of the most explosive and talented receivers in the league, and by a very long stretch.
The Bengals aren't expected to contend any time soon but their offense sure got a major boost this offseason with the addition of standout prospect Joe Burrow. If Green and he develop the chemistry he had with Andy Dalton, he'll put up huge numbers again, especially with his team playing catch up most of the time.
7. JuJu Smith-Schuster
2019 Stats: 42 Receptions, 552 Yards, 13.1 Yards Per Reception, 3 TD
Well, it's hard to blame JuJu Smith-Schuster for his subpar 2019 season considering Ben Roethlisberger only played 6 quarters all season so obviously, the team's offense took a major blow. Delvin Hodges and Mason Rudolph combined for just 18 touchdowns so that clearly didn't favor him.
But now that Big Ben will be back under center and the Steelers have added Eric Ebron and Chase Claypool, JuJu will have more opportunities to break loose and not being the team's lone threat in the passing game. The team trusted him to lead the way after Antonio Brown's departure so it's time he proves it was the right call.
6. Brandin Cooks
2019 Stats: 42 Receptions, 583 Yards, 13.9 Yards Per Reception, 2 TD, 6 Rush, 52 Rushing Yards, 8.7 Yards Per Carry
Brandin Cooks suffered a couple of concussions that condemned his season early. He missed three games and the Rams didn't get him involved in the passing game when he was actually healthy. Now, he'll have some pretty big shoes to fill as he'll join the Houston Texans after DeAndre Hopkins' departure.
Cooks has secure hands, runs great routes, and has an impressive ability to create separation once he receives the ball. He'll become Deshaun Watson's go-to-guy right away so he'll have to make the most of his opportunities. He's a huge deep-ball threat.
5. David Johnson
2019 Stats: 94 Rush, 345 Yards, 3.7 Yards Per Carry, 2 TD, 36 Receptions, 370 Receiving Yards, 10.3 Yards Per Reception, 4 Receiving TD
If you told me that the Arizona Cardinals would trade away David Johnson 4 years after his breakout 2016 season I wouldn't have believed you but hey, that's just business. He's far from the disruptive, tackle-breaking running back he was that year but he still has plenty left in the tank.
Johnson was the bell-cow running back for the Cardinals but he clearly wasn't a good fit anymore for them. Also, he lost his first-step and some quickness but he wasn't healthy all season either. The Texans' offense gets their backs involved in the passing game a lot so he'll have to prove that he's not washed and beat Duke Johnson for touches.
4. James Conner
2019 Stats: 116 Rush, 464 Yards, 4.0 Yards Per Carry, 4 TD, 34 Receptions, 251 Receiving Yards, 7.1 Yards Per Reception, 3 Receiving TD, 1 Fumble Lost,
The Pittsburgh Steelers had plenty of confidence in James Conner when they decided to move on from Le'Veon Bell. He posted huge numbers early on but was a major disappointment in 2019. Then again, it's hard to blame him with Ben Roethlisberger sidelined all year.
Conner had decent numbers until he was held back by a nagging shoulder injury. That'll be the challenge for him going forward, as he's struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. He also most improve as a pass-catcher.
3. T.Y. Hilton
2019 Stats: 45 Receptions, 501 Yards, 11.1 Yards Per Reception, 5 TD
T.Y Hilton isn't entirely to blame for his career-worst season in 2019. To be fair, Andrew Luck retired right before the start of the season, Jacoby Brissett vastly underperformed, and Hilton was hurt through most of the campaign. Now, there's no more room for excuses with Phillip Rivers under center.
Rivers did look pretty washed last season but he's a major upgrade at quarterback for the Colts. He's always been the kind of gunslinger who loves to take chances on deep passes and that perfectly suits Hilton's speed and skill set. Even if he doesn't post career highs, he'll definitely have a better season.
2. Odell Beckham Jr
2019 Stats: 74 Receptions, 1,035 Yards, 14.0 Yards Per Reception, 4 TD, 3 Rush, 10 Rushing Yards
Odell Beckham Jr may have been the most disappointing player on the most disappointing team in football last year. He was clearly disgruntled and upset about not being involved more in the offense. He posted a career-low 8.3 targets per game and that should only trend up this season.
But, when targeted, OBJ didn't make the most of his chances. Hip and groin injuries slowed him down for most of the season and he was clearly banged up but his body language didn't help either. He's got the potential to be the best receiver in the game, so never sleep on him.
1. Cam Newton
2019 Stats: 89 Attempts, 50 Completions, 56.2 Completion%, 11.4 Yards Per Completion, 572 Yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 5 Rush, -2 Rushing Yards, -0.4 Yards Per Carry
You poked the lion, now he'll prove why he's the king of the jungle. Everybody counted Cam Newton out and the former MVP signed a deal with the New England Patriots. He'll play with a chip on his shoulder and prove that he's one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks to ever play the game. He's a born winner, and he's upset.
Obviously, health will be a concern with Newton. He takes a lot of unnecessary risks and hits but if he's able to take care of his body, there's no reason to think the can't have an MVP caliber season. He's just 31 years old and will be extra motivated this year, and that's a scary thought. He also has some nice weapons at hand on Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry, and Mohamed Sanu.
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