12 NFL Players Who Will Bounce Back in 2017
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
It seems the attention span of the average fan has shortened in recent times. How soon people can forget. All it takes is one season away from the headlines for a player to be relegated to many fans' mental scrap-heaps. A player can have a season where he makes no headlines for a variety if reasons—injury, suspension, chemistry, or simply not having the stars line up the right way. That doesn't mean that player won't again recapture his prior form. It might make them a question mark, but each season proves that neglecting to acknowledge the full scope of a briefly-struggling or injured player's potential can be costly. Let's take a look at a dozen players who might bounce back in the 2017 NFL season.
AJ Green: The Cincinnati star receiver was on his way to a big season last year, despite the Bengals being off their best form. A hamstring injury in week ten put an end to his season, as Green was about to surpass 1000 yards. He looked as good as he ever had in some spots, even with opposing defenses singling him out more often than not. A full season should find Green near the top of the most-prolific ball-catchers in the league once again. With a better season from Cincy, look for a higher-profile season from Green in 2017.
Dez Bryant: While he had a handful of big games in 2016 and at times showed a good chemistry with new Dallas QB Dak Prescott, nagging injuries and inconsistent play limited Bryant to a lackluster 796 yards receiving in 2016. One should expect that Bryant will be a more-integral part of the Dallas offense this season, barring the resurfacing of the health issues that plagued his 2016 regular season.
Latavius Murray: Now with the Vikings, who lack offensive firepower, he should get more focus than he got in the pass-happy Oakland offense. Bothered with nagging injuries, he never really got untracked in '16, with 788 yards and a 4.0 rushing average. Also a useful short-pass option, look for Murray to pad his stats this season in a talent-starved Vikings offensive unit.
Martavis Bryant: With guys like Pittsburgh receiver Martavis Bryant, you don't want to bank on them getting on the straight and narrow. But with so many recent big talents flaming out over positive drug tests, one can just hope that Bryant doesn't join the list of casualties. On the Steelers' aerially-inclined offense, he will have opportunities to shine if only he can stay out of trouble.
Adrian Peterson: It's hard to make any concrete projections when, as of press time, we don't even know which team AP will be on yet. And in 2014 and 2016, he logged a total of 4 games of playing time. But in between that, he won the rushing title. Running backs at 32 with recent big-injury problems are hardly solid propositions, but those shoveling dirt on Peterson might be doing so prematurely.
Golden Tate: The term "bounce-back" doesn't have a ton of meaning for a guy coming off a 91-reception/1077 yard season. But Golden Tate wasn't himself for a big chunk of the season, accumulating most of those stats late in the season. And with only 4 touchdowns, he just wasn't as impactful as one would think. Based on how he finished the season and his track record, I'd expect better results this upcoming season.
Thomas Rawls: Injuries forced him to miss a lot of time last season and when he returned, he couldn't quite shake the injury bug. He struggled putting up 349 yards, but the previous season, he averaged a robust 5.7 yards per carry as a surprise boost for the Seahawks' running-game. One would like to see what he can do if he can string together some breaks on the injury front.
Todd Gurley: You have to almost think it can't get any worse than it was for Gurley in 2016. You kept waiting for him to spring loose, but it never happened in a year where he ran for 885 yards and averaged a paltry 3.2 yards a haul. In his rookie season in '15, he looked to be a lock for future superstar honors. Here's thinking that they're weren't many players who would have thrived in the Rams' dysfunctional 2016 offense and that he comes back stronger in 2017.
Cam Newton: The 2016 season started badly for Newton and never seemed to get much better, as the defending conference champion Panthers languished. Newton barely completed 50% of his passes, turned the ball over 16 times, and had by far his least-productive season with his legs. For a player on an upward trajectory, the defending MVP had a bizarre 2016 and look for things to stabilize this season.
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Tyler Eifert: This is a pivotal season for an obviously-talented tight end who can't catch a break from the injury bug. In the three seasons since his rookie campaign, he's missed big chunks of time, threatening to derail a promising career. This might be more a case of optimism, but it would be cruel if injuries messed up his season once again.
JJ Watt: Granted, things always change, but it's too soon for the league's top defensive superstar to start fading into the background. Just 28, Watt missed the last 13 games of the 2016 season with a herniated disk. Prior to that, he had played in every single game. If he can recapture his health, look for Watt to give the Texans' defense and a boost, while re-establishing his brand in 2017.
Demaryius Thomas: Always atop the receiver standings since becoming a full-time receiver for the Broncos in 2012, Thomas labored in 2016. Normally a 90-reception season with over 1000 yards wouldn't be considered a downturn, but with just 5 scores, Thomas' numbers were down across-the-board in 2016. With Denver quarterbacks coming into this season with more experience, look for a return to dominance in 2017. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!