Fantasy Football 2012: Breakout Studs Your Team Needs
The NFL preseason schedule has reached its halfway point, which means that all your time is being spent evaluating stats and players who are poised to do big things in 2012 so you can have the upper hand come fantasy-draft time.
Everyone has his list of breakout candidates—be they rookies, young players ready to take the next step or veterans finally putting everything together—but actually finding the right ones is where you can get in trouble.
It is still early in the preseason process, but based on what we saw last year, here are the biggest breakout candidates for your team in 2012.
Matt Flynn, QB, Seattle Seahawks
I have gone back and forth on how good Flynn actually will be, but looking at the roster of talent that will surround him in Seattle, I feel confident in his ability to be a very good starting quarterback in 2012.
When you look at Seattle's roster, there is a lot of good offensive talent on the team. Flynn will have the safety net of Marshawn Lynch to fall back on, as well as a (hopefully) healthy Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Zach Miller to throw to.
He's not going to be a top-10 fantasy quarterback, but he could be right on the brink of breaking into that rarified air this year. Don't sleep on Flynn, or the Seahawks, in 2012.
Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets
If you had to take one player for 2012, who would it be?
Greene might not belong on a breakout list, since he was thought to be a breakout star two years ago and hasn't taken that step, but I am not giving up hope, especially not with this Jets team.
First, the Jets have no offensive line. While that would normally be a bad sign for running backs, it is even worse for the quarterbacks. Both Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are going to be on their heels at the start of every game, so the Jets will have to establish the run in order to take pressure off their QBs.
Second, we know that the Jets have been built to run this year. Rex Ryan can say whatever he wants, but there is no way he trusts Sanchez to throw the ball, and Tebow can't throw a ball to save his life.
All the Jets will be able to do is run, and Greene is the No. 1 option on that team. Why wouldn't you give him a shot?
Titus Young, WR, Detroit Lions
Young was someone I thought would do big things in 2011. It was not meant to be, though there were a few games in which Young showed flashes of brilliance. That is to be expected from a first-year receiver, but now is the time for him to take the next step.
Even with his inconsistencies last season, Young still had six touchdown catches and over 600 yards. That is a really good rookie season.
Add to it the fact that Matthew Stafford will be throwing him balls and Calvin Johnson will be commanding double- and triple-teams, and Young is going to have plenty of opportunities to go over 1,000 yards and flirt with double-digit touchdown catches.
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