Owners need to look for that knockout punch to win in NFL fantasy leagues. To do that they must find breakout players. Who fits that possible bill in 2014?
Justin Hunter – Tennessee Titans
Maximizing wide receivers has become a vocation for new Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt. He turned Larry Fitzgerald into a star for Arizona and then rapidly developed new San Diego Chargers weapon Keenan Allen as a rookie. So it’s fair to say he will be intrigued by what he has to work with in Justin Hunter. The second-year receiver is high on talent from speed to size and flashed his potential constantly last season. If Whisenhunt can settle down the quarterback position, Hunter could be ready to go off.
Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals
Despite not getting starting touches in 2013, Giovani Bernard was a nightmare for defenses to handle and a huge surprise for NFL fantasy owners. He tallied over 1,190 yards and scored eight touchdowns despite getting the ball just 226 times. The Cincinnati Bengals would love to get him the football more and with his gained experience it’s only fair to predict the second-year back is ready to top himself on the stat line and in fantasy points.
Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins
Fans got such a tantalizingly small sample size of what tight end Jordan Reed could do last season. In nine games he piled up 45 catches for 499 yards and three scores. Unfortunately injuries pushed him to the sideline, but with a return to full strength and his quarterback regaining his confidence, Reed is ready to finish what he started. Some caution will be needed given his health status but the payoff is worth considerable risk.
New England Patriots defense
Bill Belichick has always found a way to coach up previous defenses of the New England Patriots that sometimes didn’t meet the requirements in terms of talent. That may no longer be the case. Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner give the team two playmakers in the secondary and rookie Dominique Easley brings more interior pass rush that they’ve lacked for a long time. If Belichick is still the coach he’s been for decades, NFL fantasy owners can expect big things from the Pats this season.
Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins
He threw 24 touchdown passes behind the worst offensive line in the league last year. That has to count for something, right? In truth Ryan Tannehill looked much more mature in his second season with the Miami Dolphins. Provided his protection is even modestly improved, he has a good enough arsenal of weapon to not only move the chains but attack defenses.