With training camp in full gear, it will once again be time for fantasy football drafts. AKA: the most wonderful time of the year.
You can never be too early in preparation for your draft.
In this column, I will look into three key impact wide receivers to keep your eyes on this year. Mind you, this is not the three best wide receivers options; hence you won’t see Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald listed here. No, the following three receivers are ones poised to break out and make a significant impact in 2012.
Malcom Floyd: San Diego Chargers
With Vincent Jackson-pardon the pun-bolting the Chargers for his paycheck in Tampa, it leaves the door open for Floyd to be Phil Rivers’ No. 1 target among his wide receivers.
Of course, Floyd is always a question mark to stay healthy (missing nine games in the last two years), but in anticipation of him getting a healthy dose of targets, Floyd is a receiver worth pursuing as one of your main backups.
If Floyd proves to be healthy, and by all accounts he looks good in camp so far, than Floyd will be a valuable reserve with upside to be a starter by year’s end.
Mike Williams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sure, Williams’ 2011 numbers were gross across the board, especially when factoring in how special his rookie year was and where he was drafted last year. However, I’m willing to forgive Williams for his 2011 season and roll the dice that he has a great bounce back season.
All the variables are there. Williams has jaw-dropping athleticism, a reason for motivation (trying to prove doubters wrong that his rookie season was a fluke), and now he has new teammates that will infuse more energy into the once-bland Bucs offense.
Once such teammate who will take a lot of pressure off Williams will be the aforementioned Vincent Jackson. Now that Jackson will line up opposite of Williams, Williams will be able to get more single-coverage looks, and expect Williams to take the advantage of the new opportunity.
Regard Williams as a high-end No. 3 wide receiver with potential for much more.
Darrius Heyward-Bey: Oakland Raiders
Entering his fourth year in the league, Heyward-Bey has the looks of a receiver primed for a breakout season.
Last year Heyward-Bey finally delivered on his promise, recording 64 receptions for 975 yards and four touchdowns. Blessed with great speed, and now finally adapting to the nuances of precise route running, he is one wide receiver to keep your eye on. Once Carson Palmer got into the swing of things last year, he started to mesh with his receivers, particularly Heyward-Bey.
Now that there will be some continuity in Oakland at quarterback, expect Heyward-Bey to up his production and be a great value pick later on in drafts
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