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Five wide receivers ready to become big-time fantasy football players

By Nicholas Minnix

Today's lesson from the Aaron Hernandez Saga: Don't snitch!

But, if you have a tip, please share it. I have one: When you're building depth, after the first several rounds of your fantasy football draft, be bold, reach a little. Pass-catchers like this handful should encourage you to do so.

Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers

I wasn't on this 5-foot-11, 190-pounder when SD selected him in the third round in 2011. I wasn't convinced that he'd play fast enough in the NFL. The Bolts' camp has been familiar with the SoCal-raised pass-catcher for a long time, however. A.J. Smith has moved on (finally), but Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy probably see what the fuss is about.

Brown runs patterns exceptionally well and was on the verge of a breakout season before he broke his ankle in a 2012 exhibition contest. The injury has simply delayed the inevitable; this writer agrees, as do many others. He'll push Malcom Floyd to the role of third receiver quickly and may challenge the fragile Danario Alexander's place in the pecking order.

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery
Jeffery's outlook is promising

Not Malcom. Michael. Basically, the Cards assume that he's going to break out. They'll involve him in their game plans. The second-year wideout from Notre Dame recorded 37 of his 45 receptions (for 471 yards) in his final nine games. Wouldn't it just suck to work opposite someone like Larry Fitzgerald?

I'm not sure that people realize how good Arizona could be so soon after the multitude of changes they made -- Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, etc.

If you draft a couple of reliable stud receivers and then later land both Brown and Floyd, I think there's like a 78.3 percent chance you'll win your league. So, don't do that, just in order to avoid yawning through the regular season and losing interest.

Rueben Randle, New York Giants

Third fiddle on this club didn't work out too badly for Mario Manningham, did it? He was a pretty big part of New York's O in his second through fourth years, starting more often than not and averaging 3.7 receptions per game and 14.7 yards per catch. Kevin Gilbride can't wait to use Randle this season.

The LSU product will be better than Manningham was, eventually, but before that time comes, Randle will still contribute. What's the problem, then? For you to appreciate him, truly, it'd take something like an injury to Hakeem Nicks? Because that has never happened.

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

This 6-foot-3, 216-pound glider is probably the most physically gifted of this bunch. He forced his way into lineup in 2012, but thumb and knee injuries limited his availability. Perhaps the biggest knock on him, when he was coming out of South Carolina, was a questionable attitude and work ethic, but Jeffery has put to rest most of those concerns.

The Bears need to spread the ball around in order to survive, and perhaps they can thrive. Jeffery figures to be the biggest possible reason they'll be triumphant in the attempt to avoid an over-reliance upon on Brandon Marshall, who has mentored the youngster in some ways. Big things for this kid, perhaps very soon.

Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals

Dagnab that fractured foot last year. This second-year man from Rutgers might be the least tangibly impressive in this quintet, but he's the most versatile and probably the smartest. And if you can't find a job where you'll be toiling alongside Fitz, A.J. Green ain't a bad consolation of a coworker.

Marvin Lewis steadfastly believes that the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder's game is more developed than Chad Johnson's was at the same point of the latter's career. I can't see him catching 69 balls for more than 1,100 yards in 2013, though. It might be a year too early. I absolutely loved Sanu as a prospect, however, and believe he has a long, productive career in store.


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