Inside the Toolbox: Third-Year Receivers (PREMIUM PREVIEW)
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Inside the Toolbox: Third-Year Receivers (PREMIUM PREVIEW)

A free look at one of our Scout Fantasy premium articles which provides additional insight on one of FFToolbox's world famous tools.

By the time a player hits his third season, his career could take off in a new successful direction. Fantasy football expert Rob Warner takes us INSIDE THE TOOLBOX, a series which covers the history and validity of FFToolbox's world famous tools, to find the value of some of this year's THIRD-YEAR RECEIVERS.

Editor's intro: At FFToolbox.com, we offer many tools which provide our users with interesting and unique points of analysis. In this multiple part series, we want to take a closer look at why these tools are useful and what kind of information each tool offered over the years. Through this exercise, we will re-examine the past to find hidden truths today. To check out the THIRD-YEAR RECEIVERS tool over at FFToolbox, click here.

All fantasy owners have heard of the sophomore slump, but the third year breakout is also a popular trend that is worth discussing. In this article, we'll preview some of the more relevant fantasy wideouts that are entering their third season in the big leagues to determine whether fantasy stardom is indeed on the horizon.

In 2012, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, all playing their third seasons, posted major breakout seasons. Last year, Torrey Smith, Cecil Shorts and Vincent Brown were some popular third season breakout candidates, but only the Ravens receiver finished among the top-20 at his position. Shorts missed three games due to a hamstring injury and finished with 66 catches for 777 yards and just three touchdowns (had seven scores in 2012). Brown was an even bigger disappointment as he hauled in just 41 catches for 472 yards and one touchdown as he took a backseat to rookie fantasy dynamo Keenan Allen.

Let's delve deeper into some of the third year receivers to determine whether their 2014 production is likely to result in a fantasy jackpot or fool's gold.

T.Y. Hilton (52.67 ADP, WR22): The third-round pick in 2012 came on strong once Reggie Wayne suffered a season-ending injury in Week 7. Hilton's snap count jumped from 42 per game to 55 per game with Wayne sidelined from his first to second season. With the addition of Hakeem Nicks and healthy return of TE Dwayne Allen and Wayne, Hilton will be hard-pressed to top his 2013 production (82 catches for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns). There may be some regression in his third season, making him a better pick as a WR3 versus the WR2 stats he produced in 2013.

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Rob Warner
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Conshohocken, PA
FFToolbox Fantasy Football Writer since 2008
Education: graduate from LaSalle University (Accounting major)
Occupation: been working in Commercial Real Estate Analytics since 2000 (Morningstar Credit Ratings)

Fantasy Football Experience:
Been playing fantasy football since 1990 and fantasy baseball since 1995.
Have been writing fantasy football and baseball articles for FFToolbox since 2008.
Content manager for Spinball Inc. - responsible for planning all fantasy football related articles and coordinating/editing submissions from guest writers. Also take the lead on radio appearances (Sirius radio, blogtalk etc.)
Spinball's Mock Draft top 100 for the 2013 draft finished well ahead of ESPN self procalimed draft guru Mel Kiper: http://www.thehuddlereport.com/scoring/top100.shtml

Favorite Teams: all things Minnesota - Vikings, Twins, Twolves, Gophers, Wild. Also support home town Phillies (was in attendance for World Series clinching game 5 in 2008). Favorite athlete of all time was Kirby Puckett.

Interests: running (completed Philly marathon 3 times), playing all sports (specifically baseball, football, tennis), concerts/music (drumming) - attended SXSW three times, cooking, travel (attended Wimbledon and hoping to make it to Aussie and French Opens in near future).