Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/3/12
Here's a look at some players who disappointed in 2011, but might be in for a rebound this fall.

1. Roy Roundtree, WR, Michigan

After bursting onto the scene in his sophomore year with 72 catches and nearly 1,000 yards receiving, Roundtree really took a step back in 2011 with only 19 catches on the year.

Why? Well, the development of Junior Hemingway (now graduated) and Jeremy Gallon pushed Roundtree down the depth chart a bit. Also, the passing game was more of a “chuck it and let’s see what happens” attack which does not suit Roundtree well as he is more a possession receiver.

With improvements made this offseason by quarterback Denard Robinson in both his accuracy and decision-making, it should only help Roundtree get back to his sophomore year production.

2. James White, RB, Wisconsin

It’s not that James White lost a step from his stellar freshman season in which he amassed over 1,000 rushing yards, but Montee Ball was just too good to take off the field that caused White to see his yardage decrease in year two.

White not only saw his carries take a hit, but his average went from a whopping 6.7 yards per carry to 5.1. Still good, but not what was nearly expected from the talented back. White also did not reach the 100-yard mark in a single game all season, something that was thought to be a given before the year started.

Ball is back as the primary tailback, but look for White to bounce back as head coach Bret Beilema may want to limit the workload of Ball in his senior season as he preps for the NFL.

3. Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois

After an excellent start to the 2011 season, Scheelhaase fell off the map just like the entire Illini team. Following the 6-0 start in which the sophomore quarterback threw for 10 touchdowns to only three interceptions, the offense took a complete nose dive off the high board, completely stalling in route to a 7-6 finish.

Scheelhaase threw only three touchdown passes for the remainder of the season, adding in only two rushing scores as well. Those numbers were significantly lower than what was expected after a stellar freshman season.

Enter in a new offensive system under head coach Tim Beckman that should suit the skills of Scheelhaase perfectly. He will never pass for 30 touchdowns in a season because his is just not that kind of quarterback, but look for a big improvement in both touchdown passes and rushing scores for this dual-threat quarterback.

4. Marcus Sales, WR, Syracuse

Sales has had quite the ride while at Syracuse. After finding success in his first few seasons with the Orange, Sales had to sit out all of 2011 while his pending drug case was being determined.

After the charges were dropped, head coach Doug Marrone announced that Sales would once again be on the team, providing the offense with another proven commodity on the outside. After finishing in the bottom half of many statistical categories last season, Sales will be a welcomed addition that could provide a whole new dimension to a very stagnant offensive attack. Look for Sales to regain his role as the primary receiver for quarterback Ryan Nassib.

5. Danny O’Brien, QB, Wisconsin

After posting 22 touchdown passes and winning the ACC Rookie of the Year in just his first season as the full-time starter at Maryland, expectations were soaring for O’Brien. The redshirt sophomore had a decent game in the opener last year against Miami, passing for over 340 yards, but struggled with turnovers and consistency after that.

This had much to do with the new system in place under head coach Randy Edsall, ultimately leading to the graduation and transfer of O’Brien to Wisconsin. Now, O’Brien gets to fill the shoes of another ACC quarterback transfer from last season in Russell Wilson, who had a great deal of success in his lone year in Madison. While O’Brien is not nearly as dynamic as Wilson is in the pocket, he is capable of having an effective season if he picks up the system quickly.

6. Corey Robinson, QB, Troy

Along with maybe Seth Doege of Texas Tech, Robinson was one of the most frustrating quarterbacks last season in fantasy football. He plays in the wide-open system at Troy and has options upon options on the outside to get the football too. He actually had a solid season statistically, nearly matching his freshman totals with 3,400 yards passing and 21 scores.

Those easily could have been much higher, though, if not for the excessive amount of turnovers the team had, especially in the red-zone. Most of the weapons return for Robinson in 2012, so if those turnovers are limited, it could potentially be a big year for the junior quarterback.  

7. Ryan Griffin, QB, Tulane

Griffin has always been a fascinating prospect. He has the size and arm strength to be a very good quarterback, especially in the defensively-challenged C-USA. Last season, Griffin was solid, posting 13 touchdown passes and over 2,500 yards. Despite that, his total number of interceptions increased and his completion percentage dropped.

So while he was decent in 2011, when you have quarterbacks with less physical talent throwing for over 5,000 yards like Case Keenum, something isn’t clicking. Griffin will look to improve in his senior season under the tutelage of first-year coach Curtis Johnson and lead Tulane back to the postseason. In terms of fantasy, Griffin should not be considered as a starter by any means, but should do enough this season to warrant consideration as a No. 2 option.

8. Ryan Bass, RB, Idaho

Much of the buzz last offseason was the possible impact Bass would make at Idaho. Transfers going from the Big Six power conferences to one of the lower conferences are always intriguing selections in fantasy drafts. They face significantly less talent on a weekly basis, and face less competition when trying to win a starting role, hence making Bass an interesting prospect heading into 2011.

Things never transpired, though, as the junior running back only tallied 175 yards on the entire season, barely topping his numbers from the years prior at Arizona State. Injuries did play a role in his lack of on-field success, so the expectations are still there heading in 2012. Bass averaged 4.0 yards per carry in his limited attempts last season so pending health, he should be able to do some damage for a fantasy team this upcoming year.

9. Savon Huggins, RB, Rutgers

One of the more highly-touted running back prospects in all the country last season, Huggins was expected to come in and immediately seize the starting position. While he started fast, scoring twice in the opening week, he completely fell off the map and lost the majority of his carries before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 9.

Huggins finished with only 169 yards on the season, his career high being only 46 yards. Safe to say that was not was expected coming in. This season Huggins is back, as well as incumbent starter Jawan Jamison. While Huggins is the more talented of the two, Jamison is a tough, solid contributor that won’t give his starting spot away easily. Even if he does not win the starting role, it is tough to imagine Huggins won’t improve upon his dismal 2011 season.

10. Orleans Darkwa, RB, Tulane

Not too many players coming from Tulane these past few years were expected to make big contributions on fantasy rosters. That was until Darkwa posted nearly 1,000 rushing yards in his freshman season, leaving many to think that he could only improve in year two. Despite having his rushing yards decrease by only a single yard, many considered 2011 a major disappointment for the sophomore back.

Darkwa had nearly 30 carries more this past season, and was only able to top the century mark twice the entire season. Also contributing to the down season was injuries. Darkwa played banged up for a majority of the season, but is now fully recovered going into his junior season. If the passing attack can improve to take the pressure off of Darkwa, he should easily top the 1,000-yard mark.
Best of the Rest:
  • Sean Renfree, QB, Duke
  • Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
  • Robert Clay, RB, New Mexico State
  • Reggie Bullock, RB, East Carolina
  • Dayne Crist, QB, Kansas
  • E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
  • Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
  • Marcus Sullivan, WR, UNLV

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