Article: 2014 Third-Year Breakout Wide Receivers

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Each and every fantasy football season, a group of third-year receivers finally reach their ultra-productive point. Fantasy worlds call these players the Third-Year Breakout Wide Receivers. Below is one that really stands out to me: T.Y. Hilton.

Third-Year Breakout Wide Receivers

TY Hilton’s current ADP is at the back of the fifth-round at 58 overall. Hilton has shown an increase in production in each of his first two seasons, though his average yards-per-catch declined in 2013. Still, his overall stat line last year was 82/1083/5TDs, which proved to be a respectable WR2 (221 pts), and he was a 7th-round pick at that time (August of 2013).

We know the Colts are going to score points this coming year. A number of factors point to Hilton increasing his production in 2014. First, he falls into the “Third-Year WR Breakout” theory. Sometimes receivers breakout sooner, like AJ Green, Alshon Jeffery, or Anquan Boldin in year’s past, and other times a receiver just needs two full seasons under his belt before reaching that next level of production (ex: Dez Bryant, who went from 63/928/9TDs during his second year to 92/1382/12 during his third-year breakout season). Now couple all that with consistency, as Hilton enters 2014 with the same coach, quarterback and quick-strike offense that he has matured in. Thirdly, he won’t face many double coverages in 2014 with notable peers Reggie Wayne and newly-acquired Hakeem Nicks requiring attention.

When Reggie Wayne went down last year, Hilton filled the void admirably, producing better-than-expected results, yet I still believe the loss of Wayne impeded Hilton’s overall production. I took note of a recent report that stated that Hilton was working out of all four wide-receiver position during the Colts’ mini-camp. This was interesting, as this could make it tough for defenses to scheme him from week to week, but of course this would also require the presence of a healthy Reggie Wayne, and/or a version of Hakeem Nicks that can adapt to the offense.

I have nothing but respect for Reggie Wayne, but I have a difficult time believing that a 35-year-old NFL wide receiver can be productive the season following knee surgery. History suggests a negative impact. I’m not sure where he is in his rehab, but at his age, he won’t be able to pull off what Adrian Peterson did, where he was running lateral drills in a sand pit 9 months removed from his LCL, ACL, and MCL surgery. Sorry, Reggie, I won’t expect that from a 35-year-old receiver. I will expect to see more of LaVon Brazill.

Where Hakeem Nicks will fit into that Colts’ offense remains to be seen. Staying healthy is still a concern for Nicks, but the combination of Wayne and Nicks is sure to leave Hilton in some good spots all over the field in 2014. Plus, I expect to see the Colts’ 3rd-round draft pick, Donte Moncrief, stretch the field often in 2014; he has both size and speed and should be a great red-zone target, even as a rookie.

Hilton might be sitting at #58 overall right now, but come August, I anticipate him moving up fantasy draft boards. Dynasty league owners should start trying to acquire him now while he maintains low trade value.

2014 Projections: I have T.Y Hilton pulling in 92 receptions for 1,250 yards and 9TDs this upcoming year.

Full List of 2014 Third-Year Breakout Wide Receivers

Below are players already playing like studs and/or suspended:

Alshon Jeffery (already broke out in 2013)
Michael Floyd (already broke out in 2013)
Josh Gordon (already broke out in 2014; facing possible suspension in 2014)
• Justin Blackmon WR, JAC (suspended indefinitely)

  1. TY Hilton WR, IND
  2. Kendall Wright WR, TEN (semi breakout in 2013)
  3. Marvin Jones WR, CIN (semi breakout in 2013)
  4. Jarrett Boykin WR, GB
  5. Rueben Randle WR, NYG
  6. Jermaine Kearse WR, SEA
  7. Andre Holmes WR, OAK
  8. Stephen Hill WR, NYJ
  9. Rod Streater WR, OAK
  10. Cole Beasley WR, DAL
  11. Brian Quick WR STL
  12. Ryan Broyles WR, DET
  13. Mohamed Sanu WR, CIN