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Fantasy outlook: Players rebounding from injury

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Alex Mayster
Editorial assistant

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Posted Aug. 03, 2011 @ 10:14 a.m. ET
By Alex Mayster

Drafting an injury-prone player is always a risk when it comes to fantasy football. Owners always want to stack their rosters with as much talent as possible but hope to do so without putting their chances of a deep playoff run at risk. Several of the league's elite missed big chunks of time with injuries last season and could fall deeper down some draft boards because of it. As fantasy football season approaches, Pro Football Weekly takes a look at five players rebounding from injury who could make a major impact next season.

Dallas Clark

Last year's rookie class included quite a few quality tight ends, which could lead to Clark slipping a bit in some fantasy drafts. Playing in just six games last season, Clark was on pace for a productive 925 yards and eight touchdowns. While some fear that TE Jacob Tamme might steal some of Clark's catches, remember that QB Peyton Manning has never found an open receiver he doesn't like and that the Pro Bowl QB already has longstanding trust in Clark.

Ryan Grant

While the Packers were able to do quite well without Grant lined up in the backfield, the five-year veteran figures to pick up right where he left of before missing almost the entire 2010 campaign with an ankle injury. Grant had improved his rushing yardage each season from 2007-09 and was coming off a season in which he scored a career-high 11 TDs. With QB Aaron Rodgers establishing himself as one of the NFL's top quarterbacks during Green Bay's Super Bowl run, there might be a few less eyes on Grant in '11. Keep an eye on backup James Starks, though, as he could take some carries away from Grant.

Sidney Rice

A hip injury kept Rice out of the Vikings' lineup for most of the season and, besides his 5-102-2 outing against the Bills in Week 13, Rice was not overly impressive the remainder of the season. Rice, who had a career-high 1,312 receiving yards in 2009, still has a ton of potential and doesn't turn 25 until Sept. 1. Quarterback issues loom in Seattle, which he signed a lucrative contract with, but Rice could find some open space sharing the field with TE Zach Miller and RB Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks' revamped offense also features an improved O-line, and the offensive coordinator is Darrell Bevell, who coached Rice in Minnesota. This looks to be a solid landing spot for the emerging wideout.

Tony Romo

A steady fantasy force since becoming the Cowboys' full-time starter in 2007, Romo surely let down some fantasy owners after a fractured clavicle ended his season after just six games in ’10. Dallas failed to live up to expectations in Romo's absence, with players such as WR Miles Austin cooling off quite a bit. Romo has proven he can get the entire offense involved and he should be able to put up big numbers once again, especially if WR Dez Bryant progresses as expected during his second NFL season.

Matthew Stafford

Stafford has missed more games (19) than he has started (13) in his two-year NFL career, but he showed he was more than capable of being an NFL quarterback in limited action last season. Stafford threw six TD passes in Weeks Eight and Nine and finished the season with a 6-1 TD-interception ratio and a passer rating of 91.3. He certainly has a lot of talent surrounding him in WR Calvin Johnson and TE Brandon Pettigrew, and could develop into a dangerous fantasy QB if he can stay on the field.

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