There should be some outstanding rookie receivers on the fantasy waiver wire for Week 14 that will be the talk and toast of the water cooler.
Despite the volatility of a first-year player's production, there are several that are definitely worth a spot start for this week—and have the immense upside for fantasy owners who have stuck with them through thick and thin as the fantasy playoffs draw near.
Check out this trio of playmaking wideouts sure to give defensive coordinators headaches in the upcoming slate of NFL action.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
In the absence of Austin Collie, the rookie out of Florida International has made the most of his increased role. Hilton is growing alongside No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck, and has posted three 100-yard games in the past six weeks.
That sort of inconsistency can frustrate fantasy owners—the zero catches against Jacksonville, most notably—but the Colts throw it more than almost anyone. Against the Tennessee Titans in Week 14, Luck is no doubt going to let it fly at least 30 times, and Hilton should be a bigger factor in the game plan.
Heck, Luck is averaging over 40 passes per game on the year. Against the Detroit Lions, Hilton was targeted a team-high 14 times, catching six passes for an even 100 yards. His explosiveness was highlighted by SportsCenter's official Twitter page:
Andrew Luck hits 2 passes on scoring drive for 77 yards.60-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton is Luck's longest of the season.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 2, 2012
Hilton's uneven play shouldn't last for much longer. Against AFC South rival Tennessee, Hilton should get a lot of looks with defenses having to account for superstar Reggie Wayne and even Donnie Avery, who caught the game-winning touchdown to push the Colts to 8-4.
As the fantasy playoffs draw nearer, Hilton would be a hot commodity to not only start this week, but hold onto as a wild-card flex option.
With his great speed and a perpetual increase, Hilton could emerge as the team's second-leading receiver at season's end behind only Wayne. Plus, Luck is on his side after all, and that's yielded some very effective results so far.
Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams
Even against the mighty San Francisco 49ers defense and without Danny Amendola to draw coverage, it has begun to become pretty clear that Givens is more than just a deep threat at this point.
Typically a master of the down-field catch, Givens did the grunt work underneath typically reserved for Amendola, catching 11 passes for 92 yards in Sunday's physical NFC West showdown. The rookie out of Wake Forest was a big reason the passing game could move the ball at all, and was key to the Rams' impressive home victory against one of the NFL's best teams.
Whenever Amendola does return to the lineup, he may take targets away from Givens. But that's not guaranteed to happen for at least another week given his current injury (h/t ESPN).
It's unlikely that Amendola will be at 100 percent for the impending matchup in Buffalo. Although the Bills' defense has made significant strides lately, Givens should be the top playmaker for St. Louis.
Mario Williams is finally playing like a $100 million man is meant to, and the front four of the Bills is shutting down opponents on the ground after being porous for most of the year.
QB Bradford on rookie WR Chris Givens: "I don't think there is a ceiling for him. I think he can be as good as he wants to be."— Rams RapidReports (@CBSRams) November 28, 2012
If Givens is not already on your fantasy team, add him immediately. He is proving that he isn't only fast, but that he can actually be a complete NFL receiver. Any doubt about that or Bradford's gushing comments after the game were put to rest with a performance like the one he had on Sunday.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
If you were fed up with the second-round supplemental draft pick after he went nearly a month without a touchdown, there are a number of reasons to take a flyer on Gordon once again.
After six catches and 116 yards on Sunday that was highlighted by a sweet, 44-yard touchdown grab, Gordon is suddenly a fantasy factor once again after the first 100-yard game of his career.
He also leads all rookie receivers in yards (646) and tied for the lead in touchdowns with five.
The Browns have had more of an emphasis on the Trent Richardson-led running game as of late, but QB Brandon Weeden had a career day himself in terms of yardage. The chemistry between him and Gordon continues to blossom for Pat Shurmur's far more competitive Cleveland bunch.
Let's be frank: Oakland's defense is atrocious, but Gordon's play is just a flash of what will transpire on a much more consistent basis in the future. With the coaching staff's jobs squarely on the line, the Browns have played extremely hard all season long, and were a narrow defeat at Dallas away from being on a three-game winning streak.
Mohammed Massaquoi has helped deflect some attention in coverage in his return to the lineup, and Greg Little is beginning to harness his potential by not dropping so many passes.
All of this is great news for Gordon, as the Browns suddenly seem strapped with a pretty decent receiving corps and a QB with all the desired physical tools that continues to try to put it together. Gordon is in a similar scenario, and the schedule opens up favorably even beyond this week for him to continue being productive.
This week's matchup against a Chiefs secondary that is extremely thin at corner will prove to be a big day for Gordon, who will be embraced by the Dawg Pound at least once in Cleveland Browns Stadium.