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Breakout or bust: Second year wide receivers

Fantasy football is back for 2020! We take a look at five second-year WRs and breakdown their fantasy football value.

Parris Campbell #15 of the Indianapolis Colts runs through a drill during the Colts’ training camp at Grand Park on July 25, 2019 in Westfield, Indiana. Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

After a year of NFL football under their belt, these second-year players should be ready to take on the league at full speed. For fantasy, second-year breakouts can often be had later in drafts if you get them right. In the NFL, even getting to the second season as a viable option for your team is an accomplishment.

Below, we’ll take a look at some second-year wide receivers who will get a chance to shine this season.

Jalen Hurd, 49ers

Update Aug 17: Hurd has suffered what is believed to be a major knee injury that is feared to be a torn ACL, according to NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo. If this is the case, he will be done for the year.

Hurd suffered a stress fracture in his back last preseason and ended up missing the regular season. He’s healthy coming into this season and has a chance to win snaps and targets. Hurd scored two touchdowns last preseason, which got fantasy players interested. His role in 2020 is still up for debate, but if he can stay healthy, he should receive a few carries and targets based on his raw talent alone, but he’ll need to carve out a bigger role than he’ll have heading into camp to have fantasy value.

Parris Campbell, Colts

Campbell is a player that can do a lot of things for a team underneath as a receiver and runner. Injuries kept him out much of last season, as he had just 24 targets, 18 receptions, 127 yards and one touchdown. The good news is that he is set to be the starting slot receiver, which is a good spot for him with Philip Rivers set to be his new quarterback. Rivers is best when targeting his running backs, tight ends and slot receivers and as long as Campbell is healthy, I like his chances for a workload that can make him fantasy relevant this year.

N’Keal Harry, Patriots

Harry showed some flashes inn his rookie season, making some spectacular grabs but also was inefficient and couldn’t get much separation. He’s poised to start the season on the field alongside Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu with Cam Newton likely throwing him the ball. Edelman, Sanu and James White will start the season as the safe targets while Harry will need to earn his targets after his poor rookie year. He is likely going to be a boom or bust receiver, as he can make those tough grabs in tight coverage in the end zone, but will need to improve across the board to see consistent usage.

Mecole Hardman, Chiefs

Hardman flashed his rookie year when given a chance. The troubling news is that Kansas City retained Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson, which means Hardman will likely need to beat out Robinson in full and dip into Watkins’ workload to have consistent fantasy value. Hardman scored six touchdowns and averaged 20.7 yards per catch on just 41 targets last season, so any increase in work will give him some fantasy value due to his big play ability. It will be hard to take that kind of production off the field, so I will likely reach for Hardman later in drafts.

Darius Slayton, Giants

Slayton ended up catching 48-of-84 targets for 740 yards and eight touchdowns in his rookie season. He also had three games where he scored two touchdowns, which concentrated his fantasy points. But he still topped 50 yards in nine games and showed well for a rookie reveiever seeing passes from a rookie quarterback.

Injuries to Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Golden Tate helped Slayton see more work last season, but he should have earned that work moving forward with his strong rookie campaign. He’ll likely need to catch more than 48 passes this season to get to those touchdown numbers again, but if both he and Daniel Jones can take even a small step forward this season, he should be able to reach his rookie numbers and possibly surpass them.