Top 15 Sophomore Wide Receivers
Many wide receivers flourish in their second year in the league. They can explode onto the scene even after having a subpar rookie campaign. The work they put in during training camp and practice is recognized, and veterans are sent packing. It's not always easy to figure out who is going to burst on the scene, who builds on a strong rookie season, who hits the sophomore slump, and who is just a bust. I'm going to try and figure it out, and put them in order to help you with your fantasy draft. This is not an exact science, but you can look at potential, upside, and situation to help make an educated decision.
WR Keenan Allen, SD - Stud (low risk)
Kennan Allen has already shown how good he can be. He will be Phillip Rivers number 1 guy in San Diego and my number 1 guy on this list. Expect him to build off his 71 catch, 1,046 yard season with eight tds. He had a bit of a slow start last season, which I would not count on in 2014. He is the most established sophomore WR and by far the safest pick on this list.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN - Solid/Safe Pick
Patterson showed flashes of greatness late last season, and was even the top rookie receiver over the last four games. He has big time play making skills, and is almost guaranteed to pass an aging Greg Jennings for the Vikings' top spot on the depth chart. He had a very slow start last year, but expect him to get heavily involved early and often in 2014. He will emerge as top receiver by the year's end, and be the Vikings' go-to play maker.
WR Terrance Williams, DAL - Quality Backup
The Cowboys are looking to run the ball more this season. Yeah, we hear that every year; don't fall for that line. Miles Austin is gone, and Jason Witten isn't getting any younger. Tony Romo and the Cowboys like to air it out, and Williams is a starting receiver in that offense. He showed the ability to be a big time receiver in 2013, and I only expect his opportunities and targets to go up in 2014. We have seen the Cowboys have the ability to make stars out of multiple pass catchers. They have plenty of balls to go around, and with Dez Bryant drawing double teams on the other side, Williams will get a lot of looks.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU - Sleeper (undervalued)
Hopkins had a solid rookie season, showing the potential to be the Texans' next top receiver. That opportunity may come sooner than expected with all the turmoil surrounding the Texans' long time star Andre Johnson. Johnson may not be on the Texans' Week 1 roster, which would be a huge boost to Hopkins fantasy value. With a new regime in Houston, I'd say it's about 50/50 whether or not Andre stays with the Texans. Either way, I expect Hopkins to build off his 52 catches, 802 yards, and two tds in 2013. Andre Johnson's situation is something to monitor, but either way this kid has big time upside.
WR Ace Sanders, JAX - Gamble (high risk)
I'm putting myself on the line adding Sanders so high, but I've written about him before (The Best Young Wide Receiver that No one is Talking About) and I'm very high on him. I expect him to be the go-to guy in Jacksonville, along with Cecil Shorts. With great versatility, he can get his hands on the ball all over the field, nd had comparable numbers to almost all of the other WRs on this list. Sanders is one of my top sleepers, especially if Blake Bortles takes the reigns for the Jags. For more on Sanders check out my article linked above.
WR Justin Hunter, TEN - Sleeper (undervalued)
Justin Hunter showed some big time playmaking ability last season with two 100 yard games. He will be a starter in Tennessee this season, and the arrival of Ken Whisenhunt should only help the Titans offense. Expect an expanded role for Hunter in 2014. This kid has shown a ton of potential, although in short flashes. *Toolbox Dynasty Target