Thursday, September 08, 2005


If you’ve played Fantasy Football for any length of time, then you’ve probably heard the fable about the 3rd year wide receivers. It’s probably true only half the time, which makes it as enduring as other urban legends, like rectal gerbils. It’s much harder to prove the 3rd year “break out” of wide receivers is false, because it actually is true in some instances. No hospital in the country has any data about patients coming in with a “hidden” gerbil… not to say there isn’t some very strange habits of late-night urban humans; as many a ER worker can testify.

Whether it’s true or not, here’s a list of some of this years most notable 3rd year wide receivers, some of them are already on everyone’s radar and probably not on your fantasy roster. However, there are a few guys that may not be any where near a roster yet and may have some break out potential this year.


Patriots – Bethel Johnson

The Patriots have made some changes to their receiving staff this year with the release of David Patten to the Redskins and the acquisitions of David Terrell from the Bears and just recently Andre Davis from the Browns. Branch and Givens have #1 and #2 fairly well sewn up. Before the addition of Davis, I would have given Johnson an excellent chance to make an impact in a few games. Terrell doesn’t have as much talent as Davis, or Johnson for that matter.

Jets – Jonathan Carter

If Pennington can stay healthy most of the year, and the passing game is more efficient and utilized, then I think there is room for Carter to be an important #3 or #4 receiver. Chrebet isn’t going to hold down that position forever and Cotchery is just one year away from being another 3rd receiver himself. This is Carter’s chance to prove himself. He had a few nice games last year, but nothing consistent even in this fickle world of high inconsistency.

Bengals – Kelly Washington

Now that Warrick is gone, this really is a good position for Washington to have some success this year. He’s had some hamstring problems going into this season, but hopefully they won’t be serious enough to hamper his playing time and production potential.

Jaguars – Cortez Hankton

He’s not a Reggie Williams type of receiver, has more of a TE build, but he could be utilized as an excellent slot receiver. Jacksonville hasn’t been a hotbed of receiver talent for fantasy football standards. Leftwich doesn’t seem comfortable passing downfield a lot, but his back up David Garrard seems to be a very good passer. Hankton’s outlook may improve if Byron gets injured again.

Texans – Andre Johnson & Derick Armstrong

AJ has been Houston’s #1 receiver for a few years now. But since everyone was expecting big things from him last year and they didn’t quite materialize, I’m thinking this year will be the year he actually lives up to the expectations. Armstrong is a talented #3 receiver who has the ability to emerge even with Gaffney and Bradford in the mix.

Titans – Tyrone Calico

Tyrone had a great first year, but then last year he was sidelined after the first game, which disappointed many fantasy owners. This year he’s healthy and Derrick Mason has moved on to the Ravens, which has opened up the #2 slot for Calico, behind Drew Bennett. This is a young offense though, except for McNair, and I don’t think it will be very balanced. That’s the downside of Calico, the up side is that if McNair gets injured and Billy Volek takes over QB again…. I can see the Titans relying heavily on their passing game.

Chargers – Kassim Osgood

With all the other receivers around not getting as much attention as they should, I don’t see any reason to think Kassim is going to get extra special treatment this year. However, Brees likes the check under routes that Gates runs and Osgood is a similar type of receiver. If Gates struggles early with defenses paying more attention to him than the post route boys, Osgood could be used effectively as a second check under with not as much attention.

Chiefs – Chris Horn

For all practical purposes this is only Horn’s second year since he didn’t play in a single game during his rookie year. I think he’ll be used this year just like he was last year… as a surprise weapon for only one game, maybe two. Samie Parker is only a second year receiver, but he is in a much better position to make an impact this year.

Raiders – Doug Gabriel

Doug had some good games before he got injured last year. Curry has been healthier and more of an impact, but last year was Curry’s 3rd year so he fit the bill and came through with an awesome year. I don’t think there’s any reason to think curry will lose ground to Gabriel this year. The only thing that may help Doug is an extended injury to Moss or Porter, which isn’t out of the question.


Eagles – Greg Lewis

I’m no big fan of Todd Pinkston or Freddie Mitchell… and my tolerance of TO’s personality scuffles is wearing thin, although I credit him for being a very good receiver. Anyway, I can see where Greg Lewis would be a nice upgrade from the other guys across from Owens. He’s on a very good offense and he has the skills they are lacking in their #2 receivers right now, which is mainly the physicality to get open and offer a second vertical threat. Smith working under coverage is also another fantasy player worth watching this year, but he’s a TE and that’s not what we’re discussing.

Giants – David Tyree

With the exodus of Hilliard and the arrival of Plaxico, the Giants passing game is going to be interesting to watch this year. There are expectations of greatness from their second year quarterback, but Eli doesn’t have the weapons to be that great…. yet. I don’t think there’s too much hope for a #3 receiver like Tyree to make a big enough impact to be fantasy worthy. But he was interesting enough to mention as a possible one game wonder for this year.

Redskins – Taylor Jacobs
I think at some point this season Gibbs will have to have some actual game playing time from his young players to see who’s worth keeping around. Not much hope for a successful #3 receiver when Ramsey isn’t a very prolific passer to begin with. Santana Moss is a very low rated #1 and Patten is also a low rated #2, the only receiver of any note that may have a breakout type of year this year is Chris Cooley, another TE.

Lions – Charles Rogers and David Kircus

Rogers has disappointed his owners twice now in just as many years with opening game season ending injuries. If anyone deserves to have a buttload of success, it’s this guy. He’s had more than his share of misfortune. But I think this season will also prove that some people just don’t have the body to play in the NFL, even though they are in shape and may even be very athletic. I would put Rogers in that category.

Kircus is so poor that he can’t even get his picture posted on the NFL player website, somebody get him a better contract so he can get a digital camera for Christ’s sakes! If Rogers gets injured again this year, then Williams (the rookie) and Kircus are going to have to pick up the slack. Swinton and Hakim aren’t around anymore.

Bears – Justin Gage and Bobby Wade

Gage is set to be the Bears #2 option, so whatever that’s worth, he could have a decent year. With the arrival of Muhammad and drafting of Mark Bradley, there hasn’t been much talk of Bobby Wade. Bobby didn’t have much impact last year, but he also didn’t have a decent QB to throw him the ball either. If Grossman stays healthy or the rookie Orton gets a chance to play, then Bears receivers could have a mildly better year.

Rams – Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald

Kevin Curtis is on most people’s sleeper list of receivers now especially after his showing this pre-season. Both he and McDonald had a few good games last year though, and I think it was against Seattle when the Rams came back from a fairly large deficit to win the game. But they only had a spare success… this year they are both in a position to be very successful. McDonald is still flying under most people’s radar, but he could be just as successful as Curtis this year.

Cardinals – Bryant Johnson and Anquan Boldin

Quick! Name another Cardinal receiver besides Boldin and Fitzgerald. -- Times up! This year with Kurt Warner at the helm, I think we will finally see a playoff contender arise out of the desert. Anquan is most definitely on someone’s roster, since he is Arizona’s #1 receiver. But you may be able to grab Bryant off the WW before everyone sees what kind of numbers this wide receiver corps is going to produce. Johnson is a very capable #3 receiver, but he didn’t have a veteran QB throwing him the ball last year, nor did the QB last year have an offensive line built to protect him and encourage the passing game.
49ers – Arnaz Battle and Brandon Lloyd

Lloyd has already had a decent year last year, so he’s known to the fantasy world, but Battle hasn’t been a household name. These two 3rd year receivers are the 49ers 1,2 punch. If Rattay is starting at QB, I wouldn’t expect much… and if the rookie Smith starts, I would expect less, at least at first. Both have an opportunity to make 600+ yards and 5 or 6 TD’s, which isn’t bad for your #3 or #4 fantasy receiver. That’s not what most people consider “break out” type production though.

1 comment:

docmem said...

That is the saddest group of 3rd-yr wrs I've ever seen.

I don't know that I'd even let any of 'em wash my car, let alone occupy a coveted bench spot on my FFB roster.

As for starting one of 'em, well, maybe if the flooding spreads as far north as Saskatchewan...