2010 Third Year Wide Receivers
A common fantasy football draft strategy is to anticipate, or even expect, breakout seasons by third year wide receivers. This strategy, while having some merit, is certainly not bulletproof. In fact, wide receivers are one of the most difficult positions to gauge in comparison to QBs and RBs. The assumption goes that after being groomed for two seasons, a receiver will be more adept at playing at the NFL level (route running, chemistry). Left to blossom into a more prominent role, it is possible for a receiver to experience a big year in their third season.
In 2009, wide receivers like Calvin Johnson, Sidney Rice, Steve Smith (NYG), and Steve Breaston all experienced varying degrees of success in their third season. But for every boom, there is a bust. Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez, Dwayne Jarrett, and Craig Davis were among the majority who underwhelmed in their 2009 3rd year campaign. It is vital to recognize that a receiver must play for a team which gives him ample targets to make plays. Even the most talented wideout can’t contribute if he is not targeted often or consistently from week to week.
NOTE: There was not a single WR taken in the 1st round of the 2008 draft, hence no 3rd year WRs this season were 1st round picks.
DeSean Jackson is too explosive to ignore even with the departure of Donovan McNabb and newly minted starter Kevin Kolb. He finished second in the league in yards per reception (18.5) which is indicative of his big-play potential any time he touches the ball. Jackson may not ever lead the league in receptions since he is a bit undersized at 6’0”, but he makes up for that with game-changing speed and a nose for the endzone. Jackson’s fantasy value only increases if he remains the Eagles’ punt returner. A role which saw him add two more touchdowns and lead the league with an 85-yard return.
Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars
4for4 Wide Receiver Rank: 19
2009 Stats: 63 receptions, 869 yards, 7 TDs
Mike Sims-Walker is the only reliable receiver in Jacksonville which should help increase his ’09 total of 111 targets. David Garrard is a game manager that completes a solid 61% of his passes so while you may not see a ton of huge games from Sims-Walker, you can expect reliable receptions and yardage. There is little downside in a player who will develop into a reliable role. Given the Jaguars station as a team which must pass in order to catch-up in the second-half of their games, MSW is a safe WR2.