2nd Year WR's Looking for a Breakout and Fantasy Production

Written by: Tyler Zajac

Fantasy Football

Josh Downs with Football

We all know that some of the best bang for your buck in fantasy come from 2nd year WR’s who seem to breakout, find their place, connect with their QBs and just go off. Finding that diamond is the hard part. Who had a decent rookie year but not TOO good so that you can get them at a steal and wipe those smirks off your friends faces. Well let’s take a look at some options for this season. Puka tops our list of top 2nd year wideouts but he will come at a hefty price.

Puka Nacua - LAR

2023 Target Share: 28.7%

2023 Receiving Yards: 1486 / 87.4 per game

Hard to not have Puka at the top of the list after what he was able to accomplish this past year. Though it will be difficult for him to repeat his success to the extent he did in 2023, McVay and company have set up an offense that plays to his strengths. Even with Kupp on the field Puka was able to stay a vital part of the offense. In 2024 he should be able to stay a top fantasy play though he will go off the board a lot sooner. For that reason you most likely won’t get him as a “steal” but regardless he is 2nd year WR with high expectations.

Zay Flowers - BAL

2023 Target Share: 24.4%

2023 Receiving Yards: 858 / 53.6 per game

Zay Flowers suffers some due to the Ravens hard nose football mentality. It isn’t lost on anyone that Baltimore loves to run the ball with Lamar Jackson under center and a great backfield, and that’s not going to change this year with the new addition of Derrick Henry. Flowers was still able to collect 858 receiving yards last season (undoubtedly helped by the injury to Mark Andrews). This season if Baltimore can get teams to crowd the box for Henry though it may open up opportunities to get Flowers the ball. Zay will definitely go later in most fantasy drafts and could be a sneaky add to your squad.

Tank Dell - HOU

2023 Target Share: 20.4%

2023 Receiving Yards: 709 / 64.5 per game

Tank Dell is one of those players that showed some great ability as a rookie and is going into the 2024 season with VERY high expectations. A fractured fibula ended his season earlier than expected but prior to that he was a top target for rookie CJ Stroud. With Stroud now entering his second year knowing he can count on Dell, we can expect even more looks his way despite a corral of good receivers in Houston. If he can stay healthy, he could be a huge pick-up in fantasy this season.

Rashee Rice - KC

2023 Target Share: 17.9%

2023 Receiving Yards: 938 / 58.6 per game

Rashee Rice is an interesting watch. He logged just under 1000 yards as a rookie. Everyone knows that as long as Kelce is in KC he will be the go to target but Rice made a name for himself this year. The Chiefs did add Marquise Brown this offseason who will for sure command some of Mahomes attention but considering last year Rice was about the only shining light in the receiver room he should still be a great WR2 or at a minimum flex play this season.

Jayden Reed - GB

2023 Target Share: 17.6%

2023 Receiving Yards: 793 / 49.6 per game

I’ve got my eye on Jayden and am interested to see how they use him this pre-season. Last year Reed may have not garnished the media attention that the players above did but let’s not forget that Jordan Love was also coming into his own last season as well. Now that both are more comfortable in the system. I think we may see some good things from Reed and I’m excited to capitalize on them in fantasy if they happen. There is always a diamond in the rough who was inconsistent year one but showed splashes of greatness that devolpes big time year two and maybe Reed is that guy in 2024.

Josh Downs - IND

2023 Target Share: 17.9%

2023 Receiving Yards: 771 / 45.4 per game

If it’s not Reed then look no further than Josh Downs. Downs had a pretty good rookie year for a 3rd round selection, and that was without Anthony Richardson due to his injury. I do think that Minshew is a good back-up but Richardson brings a different athleticism to the field to extend plays and a higher ceiling at the QB position. With him back next season Downs could break out and easily see over 1000 yards barring any injuries. You may just look like a savant when he does it if he’s in your line-up.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba - SEA

2023 Target Share: 17%

2023 Receiving Yards: 628 / 36.9 per game

I’m a little cool on Jaxon Smith-Njigba still. It’s not his athleticism or his ability but his situation that makes me nervous. The good news is we know Geno loves to toss it up which of course gives opportunity to the receivers. The bad news is he is competing with Metcalf who is a freak and the veteran Lockett who just understands the game and knows how to get himself open. Jaxon brings youth and hopefully because defenses have to watch Metcalf it may open him up more but I’m waiting jump on the bandwagon. Now if you can get him at a good position come draft day then he may just be a solid option for you. With Ryan Grubb running the offensive show there are sure to be fireworks and no doubt he will be a part of them!

Marvin Mims Jr. – DEN

2023 Target Share: 7.4%

2023 Receiving Yards: 377 / 23.6 per game

Now I know what you’re thinking. Tyler why do you have Marvin Mims Jr. on this list? Look at his stats. He was basically a non-factor last season. I couldn’t agree more, however, I don’t think we got a good picture of the broncos last season. It was kind of a shit show out there to be honest. This season Russell is gone and so is Jeudy. That means more opportunity for Mims even with newcober Josh Reynolds in the mix. Everything will come down to who is at the helm. I personally do not think Jarrett Stidham is the answer by any means, but hey I went to Alabama. I do think that if Denver can find a solid leader under center then Mims has a chance to breakout this next season. This is in no way, shape, or form me saying he will but if he does I’m just saying I could see how he was overlooked.