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According to the Data: When Do Receivers Typically Break Out?

Keith Platte

Keith Platte

Keith Platte writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Background

Who hasn't heard of the third year WR's jump in production? I think most of us have, and it makes sense. It takes time to learn an offense and get acclimated to the competition in the NFL. However, I thought this question was ripe for analysis, because I always hear this adage around draft time. Here is the question: Do 3rd year WRs really see a significant bump in production?

Data

I gathered the top 100-WR receivers from 1977 to 2013 from NFL.com. I filled in seasons prior to 1977 for players who played in the 1977 season. In total, the data set represents 1,454 players and 6,046 seasons spanning data from 1964 to 2013. However, since we are looking for the production difference between years 2 and 3, I removed any player whose career was shorter than 3 seasons. (Note: this three-year filter cut the number of players by 45 percent which means a little more than half the WR over the last 35-plus years had careers longer t

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