Fantasy Football 2013: The Second-Year Wide Receiver Flourishes

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

 

You are supposed to wait 30 minutes after eating before going swimming.

Myth.

I mean, come on. People say you can get a cramp, but if I’m swimming in three feet of water, I think I can overcome a little cramp. I’ll eat an entire pizza and jump into the pool for all I care. People have probably experimented with this theory to prove whether or not it was a myth. Let’s try another, shall we?

Wide receivers entering their third season are poised for a breakout year.

I’ll say it again. Myth.

Sure, a handful of success stories may prove this theory to be true. I mean, Dez Bryant absolutely went bonkers in his third season last year, catching 92 balls for 1,382 yards and 12 scores, finishing as the number three fantasy wideout in 2012. He was great, but there are just as many busts as breakouts in year number three.

As we watch the 2013 season progress, it occurs to me that many wide receivers are really coming on and emerging into big time players. And no, they aren’t in their third year. Instead, these wideouts are in their sophomore season, which makes me think that perhaps fantasy owners should begin to target second-year receivers, rather than those heading into year number three. Two guys, in particular, are heading towards superstar status (at least in fantasy land), but a handful of other pass-catchers continue to emerge. Let’s take a look.

Josh Gordon

Year

Yards

FPPG (PPR)

Rank

1 805 8.34 42nd
2 1,249 20.21 2nd


It’s Gordon’s world, and we’re all just living in it.

 

If you don’t think Gordon is a top-five wideout in fantasy right now, you may need to reevaluate your fantasy knowledge. Gordon posted his second-straight 200-yard outing on Sunday, hauling in 10 balls for 261 yards and two scores. He became the first receiver to eclipse 200 yards in consecutive weeks in NFL history. Oh, yeah. He also missed 20 snaps in this game, so his monster day could have been even scarier. After some monster games, Gordon is now the number two receiver in fantasy football, only behind Calvin Johnson. Gordon is just 50 yards behind Johnson on the year, and is first in receiving yards per game (124.9). Keep in mind this is all while having a shuffling of less than stellar quarterbacks tossing him the football, as well as missing the first two games of the season. He’s reached at least 125 yards in four of his last five games, scoring five times during that span. After going undrafted (that’s right), Gordon is exploding into a top-10 NFL receiver in year two. Seven of Gordon’s 10 games this year have resulted in double-digit fantasy points. Whether it’s real or not, the second-year theory has done wonders for Gordon.

Alshon Jeffery

Year

Catches

FPPG (PPR)

Rank

1 48 6.67 81st
2 70 15.78 6th

 

On Sunday. Jeffery broke the Bears single game receiving record, hauling in 12 balls for 249 yards and two touchdowns. The previous record was held by, you guessed it, Alshon Jeffery earlier on in 2013. This kid is a monster, posting his second 200-plus yard game of the season, which is two more than teammate Brandon Marshall has. Sunday’s valiant performance was a better fantasy day than Marshall has ever posted in his career. Between Jeffery, Gordon and Eric Decker’s huge days, it was the first time three receivers posted at least 25 standard scoring points in an ESPN league since 1960 (via Tristan Cockroft). After a rookie season filled with inconsistency, drops and injury, Jeffery is taking a monster step forward in his sophomore season. He has flourished alongside Josh McCown, who has targeted Jeffery 68 times during his time under center. Jeffery is knocking on the top-10 doorstep, even while playing alongside Marshall. He is that good. Keep riding him as a must-start option, especially when you look at some of the teams he faces in the fantasy playoffs (Dallas, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Green Bay).

Michael Floyd

Year

Catches

FPPG (PPR)

Rank

1 45 5.54 67th
2 54 11.41 21st

 

Not nearly the player as the previous two, but Floyd has really, really been coming on lately. Coming into the season, many thought Floyd would take that next step in his second year. The Cardinals acquired a serviceable quarterback in Carson Palmer and made some improvements in the offensive line. On Sunday, Floyd was one measly yard shy of his third straight 100-yard game, but he still found the end zone. Over his last three outings, Floyd has hauled in 18 balls for 396 yards and two touchdowns. They may not be Gordon/Jeffery numbers, but that’s certainly nothing to scoff at. Floyd has become a very nice complement to future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald. During his rookie year, Floyd went six games with either one catch or fewer. Fast forward to 2013, and he has only had less than three catches in a game once. The consistency is coming, and with a pedestrian running game, the Cardinals should continue to throw quite a bit, which is good for Floyd’s fantasy prospects.

Kendall Wright

Year

Catches

FPPG (PPR)

Rank

1 64 7.8 50th
2 71 10.9 23rd

 

He doesn’t score touchdowns, he doesn’t make big plays, but the fact remains that Kendall Wright continues to serve as arguably the most underrated PPR option. Wright has been so consistent for fantasy owners this season, and while he’s clearly made a leap from his rookie year, Wright was impressive in year one. He led the Titans in receptions with 64, and 13 weeks into the season, he’s on pace for upwards to 100. You want safety? Wright has caught less than five balls in just two games all season long, and is averaging about six catches per game. The Titans, now that they know what they have out of him, are using Wright more, as he is just one of 20 receivers this season to be targeted at least 100 times. This guy warrants far more attention than he is actually receiving, and it’s been fun to watch him progress even more during his sophomore season.

Those are just four sophomore receivers that come to mind. They have absolutely thrived in 2013, and there are still a few games left to be played. A piece of advice for those already planning for next season? Overlook the third-year receiver theorem and remember how productive receivers have been in year two. In fact, according to ESPN, when the fantasy team looked at the 57 wideouts to ever post 1,200 fantasy points in their career, they noticed that the biggest jumps occurred in year two. In fact, there fantasy points went up nearly 65 percent.

I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

 

 


Around the Web