Five Picks For The Comeback Kid Award Of The 2008 NFL Fantasy Season

Corey KoehlerSenior Analyst IJune 9, 2008

From injured to suspended to subpar performances, the follow five guys offer you a high-risk, high-reward scenario for the upcoming 2008 NFL Fantasy Football Season. These guys will all come with discounted values and there will be safer picks available in the early to middle rounds when you’d likely need to snag one of these guys, but if you dare to take a chance, the rewards can be great. Young quarterbacks Matt Leinart of Arizona and Jason Campbell of Washington were briefly considered for this list as each is coming off an injury, though neither has really fully proven himself in the league to be considered a Comeback Kid. The following five veterans are poised for a rebound year.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia
McNabb actually put up respectable numbers in 2007 coming off injury as he threw for 3,324 yards and 19 TDs against only seven INTs with a completion percentage of 61.5 in 14 games. But consider he had 18 touchdowns in only 10 games in 2006 before his injury, and its clear he was a bit off his game as the Eagles stumbled to a 8-8 mark. The Birds did win their last three games as McNabb became healthy and regained a bit of his mobility. With a speedy new weapon in rookie wide receiver DeSean Jackson and a clean bill of health for McNabb in 2008, expect numbers just behind Tom Brady and Peyton Manning without having to draft him quite so early.

Jake Delhomme, QB, Carolina
It took McNabb and Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer a year to get their feet back underneath when returning from knee injuries, so based on that information Delhomme could struggle. The difference is Delhomme is coming off an arm injury (Tommy John Surgery), so his feet won’t be a problem. If he’s lost arm strength expect dynamic wide receiver Steve Smith to minimize that with his feet. Delhomme throw for eight touchdowns in only three starts in 2007, and in a four-year span from 2003 to 2006 he averaged 3,332 passing yards and 22 TD passes. Expect numbers well above average as Delhomme is a great late round QB pick up.

Deuce McAllister, RB, New Orleans
On only 24 attempts in 2007, McAllister managed a 3.8 yards-per-carry average in that limited time for 92 yards. Those would be strong numbers if they were in one game, but they were spread out over parts of three games before his season-ending injury. In 2006, McAllister surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth time when he carried the rock for 1,057 yards and 10 touchdowns. Even though he’ll be splitting time with Reggie Bush, expect good numbers from this proven back.

Lee Evans, WR, Buffalo
To say the Bills are offensively challenged is an understatement, but Evans is definitely primed for a big year. He is entering a contract year and has yet to sign a new deal with Buffalo. And after suffering through a quarterback carousel the last few seasons, the Bills may have finally found a replacement for Jim Kelly in second-year man Trent Edwards, not to mention the addition of rookie wide receiver James Hardy to complement Evans and draw coverage away from the former Wisconsin speedster. After a breakout 1,292-yard season in 2006, Evans racked up only 849 yards last season. Expect numbers closer to 2006.

Adam “Pacman” Jones, CB, Dallas
This is a bit of a wild card pick in more ways than one. First he has to be reinstated by the league and then stay out of trouble. And second, you have to have kick return yardage counted in your fantasy league. If Jones is able to stay out of trouble and he fits for your league, you can expect a few punt returns and/or interceptions go for touchdowns from this explosive talent in 2008.