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Second-Year Breakout Wide Receivers Are the Key to Fantasy Titles: Here Are the 4 to Buy and 2 to Sell

Shawn Siegele explores the second-year wide receiver breakout candidates that will put your 2019 fantasy football squad on the way to a title.

Now we've reached the fun part. Second-year WRs are the key to fantasy championships. If you follow our 2019 Fantasy Blueprint and target the right second-year WRs, you'll win a bunch of money as our writers and subscribers have done. Or you'll dominate your braggin' rights league, which is even more important.

Capitalizing on breakout WRs has always been a cornerstone of what we do at RotoViz. Last year, Tyler Lockett paid off as our favorite fourth-year breakout candidate, while Tyler Boyd was the third-year breakout player we wanted to own in every league.

The results were even better with the second-year breakout model. It showed JuJu Smith-Schuster as a value despite his lofty ADP, and he added 105 points to his rookie total. We'll discuss three other 2018 second-year hits in a moment, but first, a reminder of why we focus so much on second-year players.

From 2001 to 2018, 34 second-year WRs hit 200 points for the first time. If you think a rate of almost two a year is impressive, consider this: Since 2010, 22 WRs have broken out during their second years, more than any other breakout class has managed during the entire 18-year window. While fantasy owners used to believe in the third-year WR breakout, savvy owners know to target receivers for that second-year jump.

What You Need to Know to Avoid the Hype and Crush ADP

There are two main mistakes that drafters make in selecting second-year WRs.

  • Using only first-year performance and projecting them the same way you would established veterans.
  • Wildly loading up on every trendy player, assuming that breakouts will carry you to victory regardless of ADP.

We can dispel the first myth quickly. As Blair Andrews has demonstrated, second-year receivers are the only experience grouping to see their points increase from the previous season.

A model that focuses on all receivers is going to underproject second-year players and leave them off of your board. Last year's performance is certainly the most relevant indicator, but it's not the only factor. Thankfully, there's an exploitable opportunity here. Collegiate performance still plays a large enough role in projecting second-year points that you gain a key advantage if you know what to look for.

All three of the linked articles represent key elements of the prospect analysis that helps our users crush their rookie drafts every season. If you're a new subscriber, make sure you give them a look as soon as draft season gives you a chance to breathe.

Last year, the model was extremely high on Smith-Schuster, Cooper Kupp, Kenny Golladay. It expected all three of them to smash ADP. It also projected identical scores for Chris Godwin and Corey Davis even though their ADPs implied a 59-point difference in value. Godwin ended up outscoring him by a point.

Covering the second-year breakout candidates is a blast because the breakout model has returned such good results over the years. It's also a lot fun because it lends itself to comparison with other projection methods.

This year I'll be using the breakout model, a Screener model, Dave Caban's official projections, and the Range of Outcomes tool. I'll be comparing them to points implied by ADP from the Win the Flex tool.

Receivers with a better score in the breakout model than the Screener model are usually stronger values relative to ADP. Players who are expected to smash ADP across projections will be our candidates as the next Smith-Schuster or Kupp.

The 2019 Breakout Candidates

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