Fantasy football bounce-back candidates for 2023

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Perhaps you had the No. 1 pick in your fantasy football draft last season and could not decide between Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor and Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp. This conundrum made sense. These were clearly the top fantasy options at their respective positions during the 2021 NFL season, with Taylor producing 2,171 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns and Kupp catching 145 passes for 1,947 yards and 16 TD catches. Each figure for each player paced the league.

Then came the 2022 season. Injury, as it so often does, got in the way and with it came ruined NFL and fantasy campaigns. The Colts and Rams won 21 games — and L.A. a Super Bowl! — during the 2021 season. Last season, they won a mere nine games. Taylor averaged only 13.3 fantasy points per game as a high ankle sprain held him to 11 games. Kupp dominated the first eight games of the season, averaging nearly 25 PPR points per game, then suffered his own high-ankle sprain in Week 10. It ended his season.

Every season we feature myriad players trying to bounce back to prior statistical relevance, and sometimes we can group these players into similar situations. We can do this with Taylor and Kupp, as they are two of the top players in the sport when healthy, albeit representing different positions. It certainly seems plausible Taylor and Kupp return to fantasy greatness, and fantasy managers will need to invest early, though perhaps not as early as last summer.

Taylor, 24, remained a productive and busy player last season, and even while compromised both by physical limitation and that of his team’s futile quarterback and offensive line play, he averaged more than 18 PPR points per game over his final four full contests, ending with the first week of December. The Colts will look different on offense this season — and this is a good thing — but Taylor will still be the featured player.

Kupp, 30, as with Taylor, was probably not going to match his amazing 2021 statistical season, but he was well on his way to getting close. If we extrapolate his numbers from his eight full games, they were outstanding. Kupp thrived despite spotty quarterback play as well. We assume Matthew Stafford bounces back in 2023, too. Kupp will be his featured wide receiver again.

Taylor and Kupp lead our annual list of bounce-back candidates heading into the 2023 season. Reasonable minds can debate what constitutes a “bounce-back” player, but in its simplest terms, these players did not perform up to expectations last season (or did not perform at all!), with something preventing them from doing so. Let’s separate them by position.


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