One of the exciting things about fantasy football is to see who the break out players are going to be. By break out players I mean the players that nobody is really talking about in the preseason, the players that when the lights come on turn into the unexpected playmakers of the season. For whatever the reason, this typically occurs for wide receivers in their third year of service. But is the theory just a myth or is there some truth to the theory? This article will explore the Third Year Wide Receiver Break Out Theory by pulling real numbers to go along with our qualitative beliefs.
The 2008 season saw a number of third year men put up big numbers. The list includes Greg Jennings, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, and Brandon Marshall. However, 2008’s list of break out receivers also includes a number of second year studs including DeSean Jackson and Eddie Royal. Historically a number of Pro Bowl receivers have broken out in their third year including T.O. and Chad Ochocinco.
Third Year Wide Receiver Break Out Theory
So how do we interpret this? Here is what we do know. First, wide receivers rarely put up numbers as rookies, so they are to be avoided. It’s a gamble taking a rookie wide receiver and the real gamblers “smart money” should be placed on a rookie running backs. Second, talented wide receivers DO breakout in their second year. It is worth taking a flier on a talented player in his second year. Third, talented wide receivers ALSO breakout in their third year. So again, taking sleeper wide receiver picks who are about to enter their third year is a solid strategy. Lastly, it seems like by the time year four is reached it is best to bet your chips on a second or third year player as the likelihood of a breakout decreases.
So there you have it. To summarize, wide receiver breakouts are not limited to the third year. They generally do not occur in year one and typically happen in a player’s second or third year of service. Lastly, when looking for a wide receiver with upside it is best to stay away from players who have not broken out by their fourth year of service. While it is possible for a breakout to occur in year four, you are better off looking at a second or third year player as your chances of hitting the fantasy football jackpot are much higher.