In this edition of 2013 Season Outlook, I will be focusing on USC wide receiver Marqise Lee.
Many of college football’s great wideouts have come out of USC. From Keyshawn Johnson to Dwayne Jarrett to Mike Williams to Robert Woods and now Marqise Lee. Southern Cal has been a wide receiver factory over the years (at least at the college level).
This is Lee’s 3rd season at USC. He burst onto the scene in his freshman season. The 6-1, 195 lb. wide receiver tallied 73 catches with over 1,100 yards. He hauled in 11 TDs as well.
In his sophomore season, he took his game to another level. He caught 118 passes for 1721 yards. He upped his touchdown total from 11 the previous year to 14 in his sophomore season.
The most impressive thing to me about this was that he accumulated these stats with All-American receiver Robert Woods lined up on the opposite side of the field.
Heading into the 2013 season, Lee is almost unanimously the top ranked wide receiver in fantasy rankings. I will tell you why I’m not so sure that he will warrant that high of a draft pick.
As talented as Lee is, he had a lot of help the last two seasons. Like I stated before, Robert Woods was on the field with him. Woods’s ability warranted coverages that prevented total double coverage of Lee.
Also, I need to mention that USC had 4 year starter at quarterback, Matt Barkley. The presence of Barkley and Woods may have greatly enhanced Lee’s production.
In 2013, USC will be without Barkley and Woods. This means Lee will be expected to carry the load. This also means teams will prepare for this as well. Lee will most likely attract double teams and possibly coverages with an extra safety’s help over the top. Pair this with the fact that USC will be breaking in new quarterback Max Wittek, and we may be looking at a decline in production.
Don’t be discouraged from drafting Lee though. He will definitely be the focal point of the USC offense and will be targeted at least 10 times each game. I just wouldn’t expect 1,700 yards again. Expect more along the lines of 1,300 yards.
This isn’t a huge drop off but it may be something to take into consideration. Also, remember USC’s past. They always seem to churn out wide receivers, so I wonder who will be the next great one in line.