If identifying an unknown, breakout talent before anyone else is your strength in fantasy football, then Jacksonville's Allen Hurns might be your guy in 2014.
Hurns went undrafted out of the University of Miami and faced an uphill battle to even earn a roster spot, but he's been arguably the Jags' best receiver in the early parts of 2014. The rookie led the team in receiving in each of its first two games before his dominating showing Friday.
But performances of 43 yards and 74 yards pale in comparison to his impact against the Lions, when he surpassed the 100-yard plateau before the fourth quarter and gave the Detroit secondary fits. Even more important is the fact that most of his catches were against Detroit's first-teamers.
Hurns' showing was strong for any player, much less an undrafted rookie, as ESPN's Michael DiRocco noted:
Allen Hurns now has 6 catches for 100 yards. Not a bad night for a player nobody wanted to draft.— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) August 23, 2014
Even with Justin Blackmon out of the fold, the Jaguars boast a much-improved receiver corps entering 2014 after the early draft selections of Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee. Along with Cecil Shorts and tight end Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville isn't nearly as hapless at the position as it was a year ago.
However, Hurns seems to be outplaying all of them at the moment. While preseason always taken with a grain of salt, his emergence has only gotten more noticeable as the starters have played more snaps.
If Chad Henne—or potentially Blake Bortles—can give Jacksonville a decent passing attack, Hurns could be in for a breakout year as a rookie. With the lack of playmaking from Jags receivers in recent years, Gus Bradley and company won't be shy going with the hot hand and getting all they can out of their undrafted gem.
Allen Hurns is still one of the best-kept secrets in fantasy football, but that will change early on in the season if he continues to make an impact.