The 2018 season is now officially over. Along the way, several players either did not perform up to their full standards or had their year cut short due to injury.
The latter was the case for many unfortunate players, including a promising rookie running back and a guy who was supposed to completely revamp an NFC West franchise.
In the under-performing category, one of the league’s highest-paid players disappointed his fans in a big way.
Let’s take a peek at 10 NFL players who are poised to bounce back in 2019.
Matthew Stafford, quarterback, Detroit Lions
The hope here is that Stafford’s down 2018 season was an exception to the rule. The 31-year-old veteran quarterback passed for a career-low 3,777 yards in 2018. With a new offensive coordinator in Darrell Bevell — formerly with the Seattle Seahawks — Stafford and the Lions should be in better position to improve. Bevell coordinated a Seahawks team that made the postseason in five of his seven years in Seattle. The healthy return of Kenny Golladay should also help Stafford better succeed.
Derrius Guice, running back, Washington Redskins
Guice got robbed of his rookie season after tearing his ACL last August. It was a rough break, but Guice is making great strides in returning to full health. He will hit the field this year after having averaged 6.5 yards per rush in college. Now, he could join forces with running back Adrian Peterson. With the quarterback situation in Washington looking to be a bit sketchy, the team will surely rely upon the run game.
A.J. Green, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals
Green’s season ended short when he couldn’t shake a toe injury that plagued him in 2018. But he is expected to resume practicing by June. Since the Bengals will be adjusting their offensive scheme under new head coach Zac Taylor, Green’s stock should be on the rise. The veteran receiver still remains nearly impossible to cover and was on course to tally 1,234 yards and 11 touchdowns prior to his injury in Week 9.
Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
The injury bug dealt Garoppolo a really bad hand when he brutally tore his ACL in Week 3. But the good thing is that Garoppolo has had plenty of time to rehabilitate since. When practices resume in the coming months, Garoppolo will hopefully pick up where he left off with his young offense. That includes a tight end George Kittle who is proving to be one of the best pass-catchers in the game. A possible addition of wideout Antonio Brown would also boost Garoppolo’s value.
Cameron Brate, tight end, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brate’s numbers took a dive in 2018. He managed only 30 catches for 289 yards. He did score six touchdowns however. Now that Brate will be playing healthy come September after revealing he dealt with a torn labrum in his hip last year, he should rebound. New head coach Bruce Arians should find creative ways to use both Brate and O.J. Howard. The end goal would be for the Bucs to help bring out the most in quarterback Jameis Winston.
David Johnson, running back, Arizona Cardinals
Johnson did not exactly have the great year many thought he would in 2018. Instead, he ranked ninth among his fellow fantasy running backs. But, this should change. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury indicated that Johnson would see more touches as a pass catcher, while also noting that Johnson will be used more on the ground. Keep in mind, because of a terrible 2018 season, the Cardinals are in good position both through the waivers and the draft to load up some upgrades around Johnson.
Derek Carr, quarterback, Oakland Raiders
Carr’s NFL future looks to be somewhat up in the air with the Raiders in complete disarray. If he stays with the Raiders, the hope would be the team adds some receivers for the poor quarterback to throw to. Carr threw for his highest yards to date (4,049), but managed to score only 19 touchdowns compared to 10 picks. If for some reason Carr finds himself traded to another franchise, the change of scenery should do wonders.
Hunter Henry, tight end, Los Angeles Chargers
After playing a few snaps this past postseason, Henry should return completely ready to take his game to the next level in 2019. He was productive in his first two years in the league, recording a total of 1,057 yards and 12 touchdowns. And that was working alongside veteran tight end Antonio Gates. We are not sure what the future holds for Gates, but Henry looks to be up for a steady workload from a quarterback who has always loved throwing to his tight ends.
Kirk Cousins, quarterback, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings went all in on Cousins last March. He did put up some decent stats, passing for 4,298 yards and 30 touchdowns versus 10 interceptions. He also led the Vikings to a horrible (by their standards) 8-7-1 record while padding his stats in garbage time. Now, Cousins says he wants to make amends for last season. Armed with excellent talent on offense, it is time for him to put his money where his mouth is.
Kerryon Johnson, running back, Detroit Lions
We already touched on Stafford improving under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Now, we predict Johnson should have a rebound season as well. The sophomore running back will work with Bevell who helped the Seahawks produce a top-five rushing team in four of his seven years working with Seattle. Plus, Johnson proved to be the most efficient of the Lions running backs in 2018 after averaging 5.4 yards per carry prior to his injury. It is beyond time for head coach Matt Patricia to let Johnson dominate the backfield and stop with the counter-productive running back committee in 2019.