Imagine if Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon were actually interested in football. The 2014 third-year wide receiver class would be an even more plentiful fantasy diamond mine. Compared to a season ago, this year’s class still projects to have plenty of shine without Gordon and Blackmon, though.
Will there be a true-breakout campaign in 2014? Potentially, however there certainly will be plenty of receivers from this third-year class who have a huge impact on fantasy teams. Alshon Jeffery is a high-round pick and will be followed by plenty of receivers entering their third NFL season.
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2014 Third-Year Wide Receivers
The below members of the 2014 third-year wide receivers class are all in play in standard sized leagues.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears: After finishing sixth in receiving yards in 2013, there could be limited room for improvement for Jeffery. Last season, Brandon Marshall‘s end-zone targets paced the NFL, which could hinder Jeffery’s touchdown potential. However, the Bears’ offense under Marc Trestman will provide plenty of opportunities for Jeffery to turn in another top-10 season among his peers. Additionally, 2104 could see Marshall pass the torch to Jeffery by the end of the season.
Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals: Tickets on this hype train have been sold out for months. Which isn’t to say Floyd is being overrated, but expectations of fantasy stardom are likely premature. Yes, Floyd is the prototype for the third-year wide receiver breakout. He has improved each season, and he finished 2013 strongly. Bruce Arians had the Cardinals’ offense clicking to finish last season and Floyd should progress statistically again. Simply put, Floyd looks a lot better as your third wideout than your second.
Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans: It is difficult to issue a bust warning, because Wright is an excellent receiver to target in PPR formats. Instead, how about a beware of a letdown warning. Ken Whisenhunt is going to improve the Titans’ offense, and Wright should be targeted heavily, but is he going to score six times? In standard formats, Wright is a fringe third wide receiver, but he should thrive in PPR leagues again in 2014. Justin Hunter projects as a better red-zone option, and Nate Washington is still the down-field threat. Let someone else reach for Wright in standard leagues.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts: There are concerns all over the place for Hilton. First, his five 2013 touchdowns came in just two games. Hilton didn’t score after Week 8, and he posted duds in 10 games. With Hakeem Nicks joining the offense and Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Allen returning from injuries, Hilton has more competition for targets. Additionally, expect the Colts’ running game to improve and be utilized more this season. There are positives, though. Hilton is explosive and learning every receiving spot on the field. He could also outplay Wayne and Nicks, and potentially quite easily. The inconsistency of his 2013 season, paired with a potentially smaller role in the offense make Hilton a weekly high-risk, high-reward play.
Rueben Randle, New York Giants: A six-game stretch in the middle of the 2013 season saw Randle go good for six touchdowns, 18 receptions and 298 yards. The Giants offense will be improved in 2014, under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Randle should be a featured more, and hopefully more in the red zone. The Giants drafted Odell Beckham Jr. in the first round this spring, but he is already dealing with a hamstring injury. Expect Randle to adjust to McAdoo’s playbook quicker and be Eli Manning‘s No. 2 target. Randle should post No. 3 wide receiver numbers, and he can easily be selected as your fourth wideout, at this point. He is the candidate to have a true-breakout season in his third season.
Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers: With a firm grip on the No. 3 wide receiver job, at least currently, Boykin is a nice wideout to target for your bench. He is a Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson injury away from being a weekly No. 2 wide receiver in the fake game. It isn’t like Cobb and Nelson have Cal Ripken Jr. streaks accumulating, either. However, the Packers’ offense will provide plenty of opportunity for Boykin, even if he remains third in the pecking order. Aaron Rodgers will spread the ball around enough to give him flex value in deep formats and during bye weeks. The Packers drafted three wide receivers this spring, though. So Boykin will have to maintain his job, but expect him to do just that.
Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals: Take away the four-touchdown showing in Week 8 last season and you have a fringe No. 4 fantasy wideout. Not all is lost, though. Jones proved to be a worthy red-zone target, and he has cemented himself as the Bengals No. 2 receiver. Therefore, projecting additional receptions and yardage is easy. However, double-digit touchdowns will be a tough mark to duplicate. Jones may also suffer slightly from new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s commitment to the running game. Regardless, lining up opposite A.J. Green makes him late-round target, who should flirt with being a No. 3 fantasy wideout.
2014 Third-Year Wide Receivers: Rapid Fire
The below 2014 third-year wide receivers should only be targeted in deep leagues.
Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders: Primed for a breakout in year three. He has good size, and Matt Schaub is an upgrade at quarterback. Streater’s value could rise, if he earns the No. 2 receiver job in training camp. A case could be made for him as a late-round flier in standard leagues. However, taking a wait-and-see approach is advised, at this stage. Editor Update: Streater has been diagnosed with a concussion, according to head coach Dennis Green.
Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams: A popular sophomore sleeper last season, Givens regressed in 2013. He dealt with a nagging ankle injury, which likely zapped some of the explosiveness he flashed in his rookie campaign. Givens has competition with Kenny Britt, Austin Pettis and fellow third-year wideout Brian Quick is in the mix. He could provide late-round value in deep leagues.
Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams: Obviously, as with Chris Givens, there is competition for targets and playing time in St. Louis. Quick has a size advantage going for him, and has been praised by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer this offseason. He shouldn’t be targeted until the final rounds in deep leagues. He is also more inclined to standard scoring formats.
Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals: Leapfrogged by Marvin Jones last season, Sanu will need an injury to emerge as a viable fantasy option in 2014. There are too many options in the passing game ahead of him, even when he is on the field. If Sanu climbs the depth chart, he will be worth a look in all formats. For now, he is only a viable option e is on the field. If Sanu climbs the depth chart, he will be worth a look in all formats. For now, he is oin deep formats.
Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions: With the addition of Golden Tate, Broyles is third on the Lions’ depth chart, at best. He has a lengthy injury history. Most recently, he tore his Achilies’ last season. However, early reports highlight his devotion to returning and improving his foot speed. At this point, Broyles isn’t worth a draft selection. Wait for him to prove his health.
Which Third-Year Wide Receivers are you targeting in 2014?