Third year receivers are always one of the hottest topics in fantasy football for several reasons. The idea is, a guy in his third year has had more than enough time to marinate and learn the system, often leading them towards breakouts years, or in some cases, sleeper candidacy.
With a third year receiver, the player in question simply becomes more valuable from a fantasy aspect.
But not all of the third year guys are bound for glory in the 2011 fantasy football season, so today I want to quickly run through the 10 best 3rd year receivers for you guys.
Let’s take a sneak peak, shall we?
The Fab Five
1. Hakeem Nicks – Giants: Arguably the best 3rd year receiver in the National Football League, Nicks is primed for his best fantasy football season yet in 2011.
Nicks is slated to be the number one guy in the Big Apple, and with four year receivers becoming unrestricted free agents (as expected from the CBA talks) that means teammate Steve Smith is bound for the open market, paving the way for a monster offensive focus on Nicks.
UPDATE 8/4: (Paul Dottino on Twitter is reporting that the Giants are in no rush to sign Smith because the impression is he will miss up to a month anyway as he recovers from microfracture surgery on his knee, meaning Nicks’ first four weeks of the fantasy season should definitely be huge).
I have him currently ranked 4th in my Early WR Rankings, but you can expect that rank to potentially rise this summer.
2. Percy Harvin – Vikings: Harvin’s situation is similar to Nicks in the sense that four year man Sidney Rice is scheduled to hit the open market as well, and head coach Leslie Frazier has already come out and said they will focus on Harvin more in the 2011 season.
I am putting him second over Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, only because I believe Harvin will see slightly more targets than Maclin, with the Eagles flirting with running the ball more in 2011…tentatively.
Update 8/4: (With Sidney Rice in Seattle, the Vikings were forced to run out and grab Devin Aromashodu (Bears) and Michael Jenkins (Atlanta) as replacements. Clearly, the Vikings haven’t found THAT guy to line up opposite of Harvin yet, but there will be enough weapons on the field for fantasy owners to enjoy a solid year from Harvin).
3. Jeremy Maclin – Eagles: Maclin was last year’s 13th overall fantasy receiver, but again, the Eagles are expected to run more in 2011, and I don’t see Maclin getting 70 receptions for two straight years.
Maclin is still a viable threat in the field, and it isn’t as if the Eagles can exclusively feature DeSean Jackson for 16 games, so expect Maclin to maintain a high WR2 value in most leagues.
4. Mike Wallace – Steelers: Wallace was the bona-certified deep ball threat in Steel-town last year putting up a sick six 100+ yards games and finished in the Top 10 in fantasy points (5th to be exact).
The issue with Wallace last year though was his lack of targets, which should take a dramatic turn for the better in 2011 barring any unforeseen issues.
5. Austin Collie – Colts: Collie had some injury issues in 2010, but when he did play, he was a fantasy monster.
Still, out of the entire third-year WR crop, he is easily in the Top 5, and if he can stay healthy, you can bet he will be a mid-round steal.
Make sure you check back regularly to learn how his health is doing in camp and what not.
UPDATE 8/4: (Colts.com is reporting that Collie has repoted to camp and is fully participating without regression or issue. Collie himself even said : ” “It’s good, it feels good,” said Collie. “It feels good to be back with the guys and make sure that we’re all on the same page to get going…It was fun, just going through the plays and asking questions. It feels good to be back with the team and be part of it again.” Be advised that Collie is rumored to possibly take over as the No1 receiver in Indianapolis with Reggie wayne slowing in his years, but his health will be a key factor in that).
Rounding Out the Top 10
|6. Kenny Britt – Titans: We know what Britt is capable of, but he will have to prove to the Titans, and fantasy owners, that he can maturate into a reliable receiver for 16 games.|
|7. Mike Thomas – Jaguars: UPDATE: MSW is gone and Thomas is the man in Jacksonville. His stock just rose a bit with the departure of MSW.|
|8. Louis Murphy – Raiders: Murphy showed flashes of what he is capable of, but will have to remain healthy for 16 games to truly offer fantasy owners anything special. Keep your eye on fellow teammate, and sleeper candidate Jacoby Ford.|
|9. Michael Crabtree – 49ers: Crabtree went backwards in 2010 which has a lot of fantasy owners already labeling him a bust, but don’t be so quick to label him yet. The 49ers are abandoning their old vertical attack, and implementing a new West Coast offense which should significantly help Crabtree in 2011. Could be nice mid to late round steal. UPDATE: The Sacramento Bee is reporting that Crabtree could miss 4 to 6 weeks with hif foot injury officially making this his third straight preseason he will miss. Crabtree gets demoted to waiver wire fodder at this point.|
|10. Johnny Knox – Bears: Knox has speed and is a great open field target, but plays in an offense that has five or six other guys in the mix at anyone given time. In addition to that, his smallish frame disallows him to “reach for the stars” so to speak. Great PPR WR2 option, not so good as a Standard league option as of now.|
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