I'm not the first to talk about fantasy football breakout candidates and I certainly won't be the last. Every year as fantasy owners we fall in love with different guys for different reasons.
I'm not here to sell you on the following guys, I'm here to tell you why I believe they can be fantasy stars. If you choose to believe me or not, that decision is up to you.
Some of the fantasy wide receivers you'll see below aren't ideas of my own. In fact I've been told that there are no original ideas anymore, just improvements on someone else's.
A few of these guys my fellow writers love, and actually spoke about them on our most recent fantasy football podcast.
The bottom line is, locating wide receivers that may break out is one of the most important things you can do. Let's face it, fantasy owners who saw the writing on the wall for Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery in 2013 were likely in the playoffs, if not the championship game. Sure those owners didn't get there solely because of those guys, but it sure did help.
My Top 5 Fantasy Wide Receiver Breakout Candidates
This list may or may not look familiar. If it doesn't look familiar I recommend getting to know it. These guys are going to make some noise in 2014. All of the ADP's I refer to are for 10-team standard leagues and are courtesy of Pro Football Calculator.
Michael Floyd came out strong in his sophomore season with 1,041 yards and 5 touchdowns. Sure that's a nice stat line for fantasy owners. Now combine that with having the size and speed of a #1 WR and elite college production and you're looking at someone who could have a great 2014.
Currently he's being drafted in the late 6th round/early 7th round in standard leagues. Although he's more expensive than many breakout candidates, I think he could be worth the draft day price. Why you ask? He could easily go for 1,4000 yards in that offense coupled with 9-11 touchdowns for 2014. Now that's production I want, especially in the 6th round.
Ruben Randle is growing as a classic 3rd year breakout candidate, and rightfully so. He's about to become a full-time player under Ben McAdoo, who is going to focus on a quick pass offense with a three WR base. Randle has proven that he can be explosive after the catch with 31% of his career yards coming after a reception. Do you know who else is in that range? Brandon Marshall at 23% and Anquan Boldin at 34%.
Under the new offense Randle will likely fill the Jordy Nelson role, Victor Cruz in the Randall Cobb role and Odell Beckham in the Jennings role. McAdoo showed that his WR's in Green Bay can have value, I'll buy that Randle can have value in NY. In fact, it baffles me that Beckham is going higher than Randle. With his current ADP in the 10th round range, I think he can be a great fantasy value in 2014.
If you've listened to our fantasy podcasts or read some of our articles you already know that I'm a big fan of Aaron Dobson, as is most of the site. Except for Vinny. Dobson is currently rehabbing a foot injury and is not practicing, however that could keep his draft day price lower than it should be.
Dobson is currently being drafted in the 14th round, which is an absolutely steal for fantasy owners. I'll save you the stats but having Gronk healthy actually means great things for Aaron Dobsons value in 2014. Nick Walsh recently pointed out just how important Gronk really is for Dobson.
You could make the argument that Mike Wallace isn't necessarily a sleeper or a breakout candidate, however I believe he can be a great fantasy value in 2014. I'll admit I've been slow to come around on him, and I know Walsh will be excited to hear that I have.
We've heard glowing things from Miami about Mike Wallace so far in offseason reports. Although I hate offseason hype and reports, I may be buying this one. The new OC of Miami, Bill Lazor comes from Philly, where last year DeSean Jackson had a career year. Mike Wallace on the other hand had 73 receptions for a career-low 5 touchdowns. Now I think Wallace can only go up from his production in 2013 and if Lazor can work some magic we could be looking at something special.
Look for Lazor to make it a habit of getting Wallace the ball in 2014, not using Wallace to open up opportunities for other players to produce fantasy points. I'm warming up on Mike Wallace. Just enough to list him as a breakout candidate.
Am I crazy? No really, am I crazy?
Believe it or not there are other fantasy analysts who believe Hill could have a nice fantasy season. He may be more of a super sleeper than a breakout candidate, but hell, it's worth a flier late in the game.
If you look at this chart that shows his first two years compared to other stars, there is some room for optimism. Of course you don't want to be on the list with John Baldwin, but hell if he can turn into a Jordy Nelson or a Vincent Jackson after all the praise he had coming out of school, then he's worth that flier.
I'll take him with the last pick in the draft.
Finding Fantasy Football Value
It can't be overstated enough how important it is to find fantasy value wherever you can. The bottom line is that making the safe picks early will help ensure your team doesn't shit the bed, it won't win you a championship.
Do I necessarily believe I'll hit on all of these guys? No. However I expect some of them to pan out. And hell for the price they're gonna cost, you might as well take a chance.
You need to have a strategy as you approach the later rounds, and having some sleeper options as part of that plan is one of the best things you can do.
Develop your fantasy rankings, pick out players that you love and read fantasy experts thoughts on those guys. It's the only way you'll find true fantasy value as you head into 2014 fantasy drafts.See The Best Fantasy Team Names Ever Made
For the record, I never actually played football. I have no doubt that I would get crushed running across the middle for a pass, every single time.
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