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Catching the RISING Star
David M. Dorey

Let’s be serious here. In building your fantasy team, you want to win, you want to have fun and you want to have something to think about when you are really supposed to be working. In my opinion, however, the one thing you actually need is to acquire a player that is on the verge of a break-out season. Someone who will perform far better than the draft pick or trade cost you. A player that can have you responding to your leaguemates with "Gee, I...I guess I must be a genius, huh?".

Before deciding who your favorite sleepers or undervalued players are, it pays to take a bit of a history lesson first. Let's examine the who, what and when of players who experienced breakout seasons. Take a focused hunt in the statistical forest and see what has happened and if there are any trends or keys we can use to forecast the new set of breakout players this season.

To define a "breakout season", we considered it to be the first season with at least eight touchdowns scored by a Receiver or Rusher, or twenty touchdowns scored by a Quarterback. Different numbers offer differing results, but the figures indicate a good player for your team. We will consider the round taken in the draft, rookie year, year of breakout, how long that breakout took and the number of years a player has been in the NFL. Fantasy Football Points (FF Points) are calculated to show a performance league score (1 pt./20 yds. Rushing or receiving, 1 pt./50 yards passing and touchdowns are 3 pts. Passed, 6 points otherwise).

Lock and load...I hear some trends in the underbrush.

Quarterbacks - How good are rookies? What is the average age of the Stud QB?

Running Backs - Does youth really count? What makes Barry such a freak?

Wide Receivers - What makes the class of '97 interesting? Does the draft matter?