10 bounce-back wide receiver candidates [2024]

Finding wide receivers who can bounce back from bad seasons, particularly at good value, can make all the difference in your fantasy fortunes.

Fantasy analysts have a tendency to copy and paste results from the previous year into their rankings the following season. But we have to be mindful of players who are candidates for bounce-back seasons.

Finding the right players who are primed for bounce-back seasons but who are still being ranked based on the previous year’s results can make all the difference in your fantasy fortunes.

Here are 10 bounce-back wide receiver candidates for the 2024 season.

DK Metcalf, WR/Seattle Seahawks

Metcalf went from a mid-WR2 in 2022 to a low-end WR2 last season, so it’s not as if he’s got much room to make up. A lot of fantasy owners are worried about the mouths to feed in that Seattle offense with Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba looking for better 2024 seasons. But I think the target struggle will be between the two latter players with Metcalf retaining a big workload.

Garrett Wilson, WR/New York Jets

Wilson is hands down one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. It’s just unfortunate his quarterback play has been hot garbage the first few years of his career. Hopefully, Aaron Rodgers will stay healthy this year and give Wilson a chance at being the WR1 that he is made to be. At the very least, he’s bound to improve from the borderline WR2/WR3 he was last year.

Terry McLaurin, WR/Washington Commanders

McLaurin has been a WR2 essentially since he entered the league. That’s about all he is, in my opinion. He caps out at that ceiling. But last year he was in mid-WR3 territory, a very disappointing finish for him in a dismal Washington season. With a new offense in place led by a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, he’s bound to see his numbers shoot right back up into WR2 territory where they belong.

Jaylen Waddle, WR/Miami Dolphins

Fresh off a new contract extension, Waddle is ready to roll this season. His sporadic and lingering injury issues will always give you pause — and heartburn — but when he plays, he is so explosive. He will constantly push the threshold toward WR1 territory, but the two things that hold him back are health and Tyreek Hill. If anything should happen to Hill, or even if both receivers are healthy and Tua Tagovailoa plays a full season, Waddle’s elite speed can still help him rack up the yards and push for that upper tier.

Drake London, WR/Atlanta Falcons

Calling London a bounce back candidate might be a bit of a stretch given that he was nothing better than a mid-WR3 in 2022 and fell to a low-end WR3/high-end WR4 (depending on your league’s scoring) in 2023. Still, it would qualify for a bounce-back season and it could also encroach upon a breakout season if Kirk Cousins helps him reach his full potential. He’s looking at his best season yet as a pro and should be at least a reliable WR2.

Cooper Kupp, WR/Los Angeles Rams

Kupp’s age and recent injury history have dropped him from the top of the league at his position. Not to mention, the emergence of Puka Nacua has left Kupp as an afterthought by much of the community. But I’ll say it: if both play the same number of games, it’ll be Kupp that has the better stats when all is said and done. I just don’t know if you can bank on him staying healthy though. At the very least, he should be a solid WR2 with incredible spike weeks.

Diontae Johnson, WR/Pittsburgh Steelers

Poor Diontae Johnson fell victim to horrendous quarterback play in Pittsburgh. He’s going to a Carolina team that was the worst in the NFL last season but — theoretically — has a better quarterback. I believe Bryce Young was set up to fail last year and that he still has tremendous upside — although not at the same level as C.J. Stroud, so the Panthers blew that pick. Young will likely target Johnson with the same security blanket feeling that he did with Adam Thielen last year, and Johnson should do more with those targets.

Tee Higgins, WR/Cincinnati Bengals

There is a lot to worry about with Tee Higgins’ health. He’s missed a few too many games and has appeared on far too many injury reports for any fantasy owner’s liking. But when healthy, he has the ability to put up monster numbers. And if it weren’t for Ja’Marr Chase being there, he’d be pushing for WR1 numbers on a regular basis. But with an uncertain contract and future, you can bet he has on his mind the idea of putting up his best season as a pro, and will certainly improve from last year’s numbers.

Christian Watson, WR/Green Bay Packers

Buyer beware with Watson. The guy has explosive playmaking ability but can’t stay healthy. You can’t expect him to play a full season, but you also can’t fathom him continuing to miss massive amounts of games. He pretty much finished completely off the fantasy radar last year so he’s all but guaranteed a massive bounce-back campaign. Just be careful of how high you buy in on him. A WR3 with upside.

Christian Kirk, WR/Jacksonville Jaguars

Kirk had a down year last year after a breakout campaign in 2022 with the Jaguars. I don’t expect him to rebound to borderline WR1 stats like he had in his first year with the Jags, but I also don’t expect Gabe Davis or rookie Brian Thomas to command more targets than Kirk gets. Kirk is another buy-low candidate with boom potential.