As we approach the beginning of NFL training camp, it is once again 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, impactful wide receivers to keep your eyes on. 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 list is comprised of three receivers who are poised to break out and make a significant impact in 2012.
Demaryius Thomas: Denver Broncos
If Thomas thrived with Tim Tebow throwing him the ball, just imagine the possibilities of the type of season Thomas can have with Peyton Manning as his quarterback.
Thomas had an uneven season in 2011 season (missing five games due to injury), but still had a solid campaign catching 32 passes for 551 yards and four touchdowns. And who can forget his 80-yard walk-off touchdown against the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs?
Just as he ended last season with bang, expect Thomas to pick up where he left off and improve on his 2011 numbers tenfold.
There is enough talent in Thomas’ game-who has often been compared to Calvin Johnson-to suggest he can be in line for 1,000 yards receiving and double digit touchdowns.
Draft Thomas with supreme confidence.
Antonio Brown: Pittsburgh Steelers
The only thing that was lacking in Brown’s repertoire last season was his lack of touchdowns. Of course, that is a major red flag and cause for concern.
However, it wasn’t for a lack of targets.
Brown was targeted 124 times last year by Ben Roethlisberger but only scored two touchdowns. Conversely, Brown’s contemporary Mike Wallace was targeted less (114) but scored eight touchdowns.
Eventually the TD’s should come for Brown.
With Wallace’s contract in limbo, expect Brown to step up his game and become the more trusted receiver in Pittsburgh.
Brown will make for an excellent No.2 wide receiver.
Torrey Smith: Baltimore Ravens
The sky is the limit for Smith this season.
While he enjoyed a fine season last year (50 receptions for 841 yards and seven touchdowns), there is the expectation that Smith’s game will grow exponentially in his sophomore campaign.Although Smith could be hindered with Joe Flacco as his quarterback, Flacco is at sometimes unfairly labeled as cruddy quarterback. I still hold out hope for Flacco and he’ll no doubt lean on this emerging deep threat.Smith also makes for an excellent No. 2 wide receiver.
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