Third-Year NFL Wide Receivers to Watch

There are a few commonly held beliefs in fantasy football. First, a player will have the game of his life the week you play against him. Another is that third-year wide receivers are often poised to make “the jump” and become bonafide NFL pass catchers, racking up beautiful fantasy stats to boot.

Let’s take a look at some third-year NFL wideouts and their fantasy prospects for 2013 (2012 stats).

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Already there

(Funny how the players in this group all have rock-sold franchise quarterbacks.)

A.J. Green CIN (97-1350-11) –  Any help Adriel Jeremiah Green can get from Andrew Hawkins and Mohamed Sanu will keep him near the top of the elite NFL wide receivers, even if his stats dip a little.

Julio Jones ATL (79-1198-10) – Prediction alert: Jones will surpass Roddy White as the top Falcons wide receiver, while both remain steadily in the top-10 overall.

Torrey Smith BAL (49-850-8) – As a Super Bowl winner and Joe Flacco‘s #1 target once Anquan Boldin was shipped off as a Super Bowl loser consolation prize, Smith is poised for an even bigger season in 2013. Jacoby Jones and a WR TBD should help keep Smith from being double-teamed ALL the time.

Randall Cobb GB (80-954-8) – In only 8 stars (15 games played)…departure of Greg Jennings to the rival Vikings and retirement of the ageless Donald Driver, Green Bay’s approach of “next man” will be in effect in 2013. Cobb will finally start (he started only 8 of 15 games in 2012 and zero of 15 games in 2011) and fellow Aaron Rodger‘s target Jordy Nelson keeps defenses honest.

On the cusp

Denarius Moore OAK (51-741-7) – Will be the #1 WR in Oakland, but like the other guys in this group, his production improvement is nervously tied to the play of his quarterback; whomever that may be.

Cecil Shorts JAX (55-979-7) – With four 100-yard games in the last eight games of the season, Shorts’ (and fellow wideout Justin Blackmon) fantasy improvement will be predicated on Jacksonville quarterback play.

Greg Little CLE (53-647-4) – Along with 22-year-old Josh Gordon, Little had a decent low end fantasy season in 2012. Brandon Weeden‘s improvement (if it exists) and changes from the front office down, could bode well for Little long term, particularly if the team drafts well and adds some additional offensive weapons.

Jeremy Kerley NYJ (56-827-2) – The Jets’ leading pass catcher by nearly 50% over TE Jeff Cumberland, Kerley proved to one of the few steady and consistent aspects of the team’s offense. Not the sexiest name, but could provide some late round value and a bit of upside depending on the Jets’ QB situation.

Deep and/or keeper leagues

Andrew Hawkins CIN (51-533-4)

Leonard Hankerson WAS (38-543-3)

Austin Pettis STL (30-261-4) – Currently slated to be the Rams primary slot receiver; prospects could change depending on what the Rams do in the draft

Dwayne Harris DAL (17-222-1)

Worth mentioning

Doug Baldwin SEA (29-366-3) With the addition of Percy Harvin, Baldwin will be fighting Sidney Rice and Golden Tate for pecking order.


Titus Young FA (33-383-4) – ’nuff said


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