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Fantasy Football: 5 Wide Receivers You Should Draft Early in 2014

Gordie GoldCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2014

Fantasy Football: 5 Wide Receivers You Should Draft Early in 2014

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Who here thought that DeSean Jackson was done for? Let's be honest. He was a huge fantasy football bust two seasons in a row prior to this year.

    Josh Gordon? Please. Facing a two-game suspension and with the worst three-headed quarterback committee in the league, chances are he wasn't drafted till the very late rounds.

    Turns out these two went on to be some of the best receivers in all of fantasy football. You don't want to make these same mistakes again in 2014, so for your draft next year here are five wide receivers you should target in the early rounds.

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

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    One of the biggest surprises in 2013 had to be Alshon Jeffery. 

    Jeffery usually went either in the late rounds or undrafted. Some fantasy owners even dropped him after the first three weeks of the season (he gained only 13 receptions for 104 yards).

    After a bit of a slow start, though, Jeffery went off, finishing the season with 89 receptions for over 1,400 receiving yards. Jeffery proved that he could still put up No. 1 fantasy receiver numbers, even when Brandon Marshall is lining up on the other side. If there was ever a belief that Jeffery wouldn't see many passes coming his way because of Marshall's presence, you can throw that thought out the window.

    Heading into 2014, Jeffery should be drafted as a high-end No. 2 receiver and expect him to have another Pro Bowl-caliber year.

Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns

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    Brandon Weeden. Brian Hoyer. Jason Campbell.

    Even if Calvin Johnson was catching passes from one of those quarterbacks, I would still have trouble believing that he would be a fantasy stud.

    I have no idea how it happened, but somehow Josh Gordon was able to be arguably the best fantasy football receiver in 2013. Gordon finished the season with a league-leading 1,646 receiving yards despite missing the first two games of the season.

    If Gordon was able to put up these huge numbers with Weeden, Hoyer and Campbell as his quarterbacks, imagine what he could do with a legit quarterback? Gordon is no doubt a No. 1 fantasy receiver and should be drafted in the second or third round.

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

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    In his second year, Michael Floyd showed flashes of why he was drafted in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals. Floyd was a bit of a letdown his rookie season, only catching 45 passes for 562 yards and two touchdowns, but a lot of that can be attributed to poor quarterback play. With the addition of Carson Palmer, however, Floyd proved that he deserves to be in your 2014 fantasy football starting lineups.

    Floyd finished this season as the Cardinals' leading receiver, recording over 1,000 receiving yards along with 65 receptions and five touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald is going to continue to take away a lot of his looks, but Floyd should still be a productive receiver.

    Expect Floyd to be drafted as a No. 3 receiver/FLEX. There is no reason why he can't have another 1,000-yard season.

DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles

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    DeSean Jackson should be on his hands and knees thanking Chip Kelly for becoming the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

    After being irrelevant in fantasy football for the last two seasons (1,661 receiving yards and six touchdowns), Jackson had a complete bounce-back season. 2013 was the best season of Jackson's six-year career. He recorded a career high in receptions and receiving yards (82 for 1,332 yards) while also catching nine touchdown passes.

    Jackson is one of the best playmakers in the NFL and in Kelly's offense he is absolutely lethal. With Nick Foles playing at a Pro Bowl level, Jackson will be a top 10 fantasy receiver in 2014.

Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    When Wes Welker left the New England Patriots, everyone thought that it was going to be Danny Amendola that would replace him. In fact, no one even thought Julian Edelman would be one of the Patriots' top receivers. With Amendola and rookie receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson also on the team, Edelman went undrafted in the majority of fantasy drafts.

    Turns out we were all wrong. Edelman finished the season with 105 receptions (fourth in the NFL) and over 1,000 yards. He was Tom Brady's security blanket all season long with 151 targets.

    Edelman will be a free agent this offseason, but I would be surprised if the Patriots let him go considering Amendola can never stay healthy. In PPR leagues, Edelman will make a great No. 2 receiver in 2014.

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