We all know that a wide receivers third year is often their breakout year. Of this year’s third year receiver class who is the best? Who has the biggest chance to make an impact? Let’s take a look:
- Victor Cruz – New York Giants
- Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys
- Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
- Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers
- Mike Williams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Eric Decker – Denver Broncos
- Emmanuel Sanders – Pittsburgh Steelers
- Brandon LaFell – Carolina Panthers
- Golden Tate – Seattle Seahawks
- Jacoby Ford – Oakland Raiders
- Donald Jones – Buffalo Bills
- Andre Roberts – Arizona Cardinals
- Preston Parker – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Riley Cooper – Philadelphia Eagles
- Arrelious Benn – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- David Nelson – Buffalo Bills
- Damian Williams – Tennessee Titans
- Jesse Holley – Dallas Cowboys
- Anthony Armstrong – Washington Redskins
- Danario Alexander – St. Louis Rams
- With Mike Wallace still holding out in Pittsburgh, both Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are getting reps with the first team. Obviously Brown was already set as a starter, and that would’ve meant Sanders was in the third receiver spot. Considering both were already expected to play significant roles, this extra time is invaluable. With the running game questionable thanks to the injury to Rashard Mendenhall, both could hold significant value in 2012.
- We all know that Seattle has never been a place to go for wide receivers, but that was before Matt Flynn came over via free agency. Is Flynn a lock to produce big numbers? Of course not, but we have to like what he has done coming off the bench in Green Bay and the upside he has compared to the team’s other options. With Golden Tate already scheduled to start and Sidney Rice hurting (though he’s expected for Week 1), Tate could finally live up to the hype we have heard about all these years.
- Steve Smith is going to take a lot of the attention in the Panthers passing attack and Cam Newton’s ability to scramble is going to open things up even more. That should provide ample opportunity for Brandon LaFell, who is expected to start at receiver. He showed last season that he had potential and this year he could easily come into his own.
- How much do you think the presence of Peyton Manning will help Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker? We previously looked at their potential (which you can read by clicking here), so make sure to check that out to see why I think Thomas could take a major step forward this season. Still, at the end of the day both will benefit greatly and are viable fantasy options.
- Can Mike Williams rediscover the form he showed in his rookie season? The presence of Vincent Jackson will take some of the pressure off, allowing him to bounce back. I wouldn’t shy away from him based on last year’s struggles.
What are your thoughts of these rankings? Which third year receivers do you like best?
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Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings: