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Published: March 28, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.
Updated: April 10, 2014 at 02:13 p.m.

Third-year fantasy WRs

Throughout the course of NFL history, a number of wide receivers have recorded their first big statistical campaign in their third NFL season. It's happened with past superstars like Harold Carmichael, Steve Largent, Terrell Owens, Steve Smith and Sidney Rice, and it was true again in more recent seasons with the emergence of Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. So, which wideouts are most likely to follow this trend in 2014? Here are the best receivers entering their third pro campaigns.

10 Photos Total

  • 10. Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams 10

    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    10. Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams

    Givens took a step back in the stat sheets last season, posting fewer catches, yards and touchdowns compared to his rookie totals. While he still seems likely to fill a starting role in the offense, Givens is one of several young wideouts the Rams are hoping will break out in 2014. But with Tavon Austin, Austin Pettis, Brian Quick and Stedman Bailey all in the mix, Givens seems unlikely to become a fantasy hero.

  • 9. Jermaine Kearse, Seattle Seahawks 9

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    9. Jermaine Kearse, Seattle Seahawks

    Kearse is best remembered for the touchdown catch he brought down in Seattle's blowout win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, but he isn't likely to make a major impact for fantasy owners in 2014. While he does have some upside, Kearse is third on Seattle's depth chart behind Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin in an offense that doesn't throw the football a ton. He'll be worth a late-round flier in deep formats.

  • 8. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals 8

    Tom Uhlman/Associated Press

    8. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals

    You might not know it, but Jones was tied for seventh among wide receivers with an impressive 10 touchdown receptions last season. Of course, the California product also scored 40 percent of those touchdowns in just one game. While there's still some upside in terms of his catch and yardage totals, Jones will be hard-pressed to find the end zone 10 times again. He's more of a No. 4 wideout in fantasy football.

  • 7. Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars 7

    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    7. Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Blackmon has mega-talent and the potential to become a surefire No. 1 wideout in fantasy land. Unfortunately, he's in the middle of an indefinite suspension due to multiple violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy. It's unclear when this suspension will be lifted, but when it does Blackmon will be a hot property in fantasy leagues. In fact, he's worth a draft-and-stash in leagues that have large rosters.

  • 6. Rueben Randle, New York Giants 6

    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    6. Rueben Randle, New York Giants

    Randle showed flashes of potential last season, posting 41 catches for 611 yards and six touchdowns for the G-Men. He's a good bet to improve on those totals in 2014 with Hakeem Nicks out of the picture in New York. That leaves Randle as the clear starter opposite Victor Cruz. New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo will be looking to revitalize a passing game that was unimpressive in 2013, so Randle is in a good position to succeed.

  • 5. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals 5

    Ric Tapia/NFL

    5. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

    Floyd, a former Notre Dame standout, posted 1,041 yards with five touchdowns while finishing 24th in fantasy points among wide receivers last season. He's going to be in an even better position to succeed in 2014, as the loss of Andre Roberts (Redskins) could mean more targets in what figures to be a solid pass attack. Floyd should be seen as a No. 3 fantasy wideout playing alongside superstar Larry Fitzgerald.

  • 4. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts 4

    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    4. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

    Hilton has seen his reception and yardage totals increase in each of his first two pro seasons, but that trend isn't guaranteed to continue in 2014. The Colts will have Reggie Wayne (knee) and Dwayne Allen (hip) back in the pass attack, not to mention the addition of former Giants wideout Hakeem Nicks. So while he's young and in a great offense, Hilton isn't likely to post massive fantasy totals this season.

  • 3. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans 3

    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    3. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans

    Wright had the quietest 90-plus catch season this side of Eddie Royal in his rookie campaign, but he's going to be a popular breakout candidate in 2014. The talented Baylor product should benefit from the presence of new coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose offense helped Keenan Allen finish as a top-20 fantasy wideout last season. Look for Wright to emerge into an attractive WR2 with added value in all PPR formats.

  • 2. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears 2

    David Richard/Associated Press

    2. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

    Jeffery went off in the stat sheet last season, posting 89 catches for 1,421 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. A perfect example of how some receivers are striking it rich for fantasy leaguers in their second pro campaigns, the South Carolina product has great hands and is in an explosive offense. Jeffery also has the benefit of playing alongside Brandon Marshall, so double-teaming him is more difficult for defenses.

  • 1. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns 1

    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    1. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns

    You can't do any better than Gordon did in his second pro season, posting 1,646 yards with nine touchdowns and the most fantasy points of any player at his position. What's more, he did it in just 14 games. So ... what will Gordon do for an encore? Well, he should continue to thrive in the offense of new coordinator Kyle Shanahan and is a virtual lock to come off the board in the second round of most drafts.

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