Five Wide Receivers Ready to Break Out in 2010
In the second installment of my "Break-out players in 2010," i will focus on rising pass-catchers who are ready to shine next season.
Like running backs, relinquishing a starting job is as easy as dropping a Brett Favre laser coming off a slant. You never know what will happen.
Like Desean Jackson, Steve Smith (NY), Sidney Rice and Mike Sims-Walker from a year ago, these players look to produce and be fixtures on fantasy teams for years to come.
With that, let's focus on the wide receivers who will make a splash—or a bigger splash—in the league this coming season.
5. Michael Crabtree
I know, it's obvious Crabtree was going to be on this list considering how he ended the season in 2009.
Not a bone in my body justified leaving him off this list.
Crabtree had 48 reception, 625 yards and two touchdowns—in 11 games.
Considering he missed practices during the offseason—as well as having draft bust? Alex Smith as his quarterback, those numbers can come off as spectacular to an NFL guru.
Crabtree has tremendous potential and will continue producing at a high rate. Look for him to be one of the top receivers in 2010 as well.
He could save Alex Smith's career.
4. Steve Breaston
Coming off a stellar playoff performance, Breaston looks to capitalize in the absence of Anquan Boldin, who left for Baltimore.
The Cardinals organization always knew the Michigan alum possessed the skills to start in this league—starting him alongside Fitz and Boldin on a regular basis two years back.
Already having a thousand yard receiving season under his belt, he looks to regain his mojo after an off year—where he managed 55 catches, 712 yards and three touchdowns.
If that was a bad year, i can't wait to see what he has in store.
If Breaston maintains his good statistics, Early Doucet, another promising young receiver will have to wait in his wings.
Look for Breaston to match, or surpass his career highs from two years ago.
3. Devin Aromashodu
Aromashodu also ended the season on a high note last season. Although he only had 298 yards receiving, most of it came in the last four games of the season.
His 150 yard output in week 16 against the Vikings—along with his two touchdowns the following week—proved to the club that he was ready to take on a larger role on the team.
With gun-slinger Jay Cutler leading the team to a possible playoff berth, Aromashodu is destined for a break-out season.
I mean, who else is going to put up numbers for the Bears?
2. Hakeem Nicks
Not counting the season finale against the Vikings, Nicks was a bright spot for the New York Giants, who failed to sneak into the postseason last year.
Although Nicks was not a fixture on the teams starting rotation until later in the season, he still compiled an impressive 47 catches, 790 yards and six touchdowns.
With the emergence of former Michigan Wolverine, Mario Manningham clawing at Nicks' feet, lets hope he isn't dragged onto the bench by early inconsistent play.
It should be an exciting battle for the starting job opposite Steve Smith, but Nicks seems to have the advantage thus far. His size and hands will win him a spot come week one. Let's just hope he doesn't lose it.
If he doesn't, he will have a big year.
1. Calvin Johnson
You must be wondering... why is Calvin Johnson on this list?
Yes, he is already considered a star in this league—and yes, he had his break-out season two years ago, but he has been marred by inconsistent play.
In his three years in Detroit after being drafted second overall in 2007, Johnson—believe it or not—has yet to accomplish what many had hoped.
Standing 6-5, 235 pounds with the hands of Pudge Rodriquez—with mits on—we expected him to be putting up his 78 catches, 1331 yards and 12 touchdowns on a regular basis.
Instead, injuries and incompetent quarterbacks have led to the demise of one of the best talents in the league.
With Matthew Stafford entering his second year in the league, look for him to mature and realize Calvin Johnson is their ticket to the playoffs as well as the continuation of his career.
With Nate Burleson signed on the other side of the field, Johnson will not be seeing as many double and triple coverages as he did since he joined the league.
It's just not right when Johnson is putting up less than a thousand yards receiving per season.
*****And a playoff berth *****
Robert Meachem, New Orleans
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia
Early Doucet, Arizona
Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh