2011 NFL Predictions: Nate Burleson and 10 Receivers Ready for a Huge Year
Every year, there are quite a few wide receivers that come from deep in the abyss and become fantasy-relevant.
Some have the third-year rule, and some just come out of nowhere (see Brandon Lloyd).
Either way, there are always good wide receivers becoming available.
Here are 10 that you can look for to have a huge year.
Nate Burleson is a great complement to Calvin Johnson.
At 5'11" he has the size to go over the middle, but he also has the speed to stretch the field.
He has already made a few amazing catches this preseason, and with all the double-teams Calvin is going to get, Burleson should get a lot of open looks.
Last year the Lions were stuck with their second- and third-string quarterbacks playing, so the QB was going to the hot read more often than Matthew Stafford would.
If Stafford and Burleson can have a full, consistent season together, Burleson would be poised to have a huge year.
Dez Bryant has already shown flashes of greatness in his first season in the NFL.
This season is just going to be better.
After making adjustments this offseason and losing some competition (Roy Williams), this year's ceiling is wide open.
He hasn't gone too crazy this preseason yet, but he is the clear No. 2 in Dallas—and that has always turned out to be a pretty good spot to be in.
Mike Thomas is heading into that precious third year in which all wide receivers finally seem to reach their potential.
After steadily improving his first two seasons, it looks as if he is primed to have a great year.
Last year, he almost doubled his yardage total (going from 453 to 820), and this season he will look to add even more to that total.
With Garrard set to start Week 1, you can breathe a little easier. Thomas will not have to go through Blaine Gabbert's rookie struggles.
Sidney Rice has already had one monster season in the NFL.
After an injury-riddled season last year, he is now healthy and looking for a fresh start in Seattle, where he is the clear No. 1 WR.
Yes, he has either Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst slinging him the ball, but he is due for a lot of targets this season, and that usually works out pretty well for quality receivers.
With essentially only Mike Williams and Zach Miller to steal targets, Sidney Rice is primed for a huge season.
This may be about the last shot for Roy Williams to produce in his career.
He is teamed up with his former offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who has great chemistry with Williams.
In their only season together, Williams posted 82 catches for 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns, which was good for a Pro Bowl season.
With no other real receiver in Chicago (Knox and Hester do not count), Roy Williams really is primed for a great season.
Emmanuel Sanders will soon be taking over for the beloved Hines Ward in Pittsburgh.
Mike Wallace has already become the No. 1 WR, and slowly Sanders is becoming the No. 2.
Sanders runs a 4.4 40, and Mike Wallace ran a 4.33.
With this speed, it is going to be tough to guard the Steelers this season.
Ben Roethlisberger has the arm to get it to Sanders deep, so he should have a great season.
Davone Bess is quietly a PPR monster.
After recording 76 and 79 catches in his last two seasons, he will look to get even better in his fourth NFL season.
Every year, he has improved in catches, yards and touchdowns, and he hasn't missed a single game.
Catching balls alongside Brandon Marshall again this year, Bess should see a lot of openings across the middle and is primed for a big season.
Lee Evans finally plays with a quarterback who can get him the ball down the field.
After seven seasons in Buffalo, he will look for Joe Flacco to bring out the potential the former first-round pick has only flashed a few times in his career.
Evans is set to catch balls as the No. 2 receiver opposite Anquan Boldin, and he should get plenty of looks this year.
Look for Evans to regain his mojo and have a huge year for the Ravens.
Percy Harvin, the speedster out of Florida, is set for a great season.
After Sidney Rice has departed, he has become the de facto No. 1 WR in Minnesota.
Harvin is also entering that precious third year as a wide receiver, and if he can stay healthy, he can easily be a top receiver.
With veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb slinging the ball, Harvin should see a lot of great looks and will have a huge season.
Last but not least, Mario Manningham is primed for a great season.
He showed flashes of greatness last year, in his third year in the NFL, almost eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark last season and scoring nine touchdowns.
With Steve Smith clearly out of the picture, Manningham will be more comfortable this year and wont have to keep looking over his shoulder.
The University of Michigan product can easily become a top receiver in the NFL this year.