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Dynasty Watch: Finding the Next Tyler Boyd

Dynasty rankings are in constant flux and staying informed is the key to making roster decisions for your fantasy football team. The Dynasty Watch series highlights some key takeaways from each week’s games.

Sure, he’s the hotness right now, but Tyler Boyd didn’t immediately break out as a rookie. Playing behind A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell, Boyd’s 2016 season was solid but unspectacular. He followed that up with a 2017 season where he missed a few games with an injured hamstring, was a healthy scratch for a few games, and seldom targeted in the games he did play.

TylerBoyd2018Weeks1-8

He’s paying off in a big way now for those that kept the faith, but it would be hard to blame owners in shallow leagues for dropping him during the worst parts of his 2017 season. With first-rounder John Ross in the fold, an anemic offense, and a sharp decrease in playing time, things looked bleak for Boyd’s future. He was on waivers in many leagues to start the year, or could’ve been had for nothing in a trade.

Boyd was a phenomenal wide receiver prospect, so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise he’s having success. Like Boyd, there are other some other WRs from the past couple classes that have seen their stock drop precipitously since they were drafted. Do any of them have a chance to break out in the second half of 2019, or perhaps turn the corner in 2019, and be the next Boyd?

Zay Jones

How bad was Zay Jones last year? He had the least efficient season for a rookie WR with at least 50 targets since the turn of the century. He wasn’t just bad, he was historically bad.

PLAYERSEASGMSreTRGSreRECSreYDSreTDSPPRreFPOEPA
Zay Jones2017137125291266.1-0.75
Jon Baldwin2011115321254152.4-0.59
Louis Murphy20091696345214113.2-0.51
Brandon Gibson200996934348174.8-0.45
Mohamed Massaquoi20091695346243114.1-0.43
Corey Davis2017106334375071.5-0.42
T.J. Graham2012155831322169.7-0.41
Ace Sanders20131586514841110.85-0.4
Laurent Robinson2007157537437186.7-0.4
Mark Clayton20051386444592111.2-0.4
Greg Little201116121617092145.4-0.39
Greg Jennings200614105456623129.2-0.38
Sammie Stroughter2009135831319168.9-0.38
Brandon LaFell2010147738468196.8-0.37
Mike Williams2005145729350170-0.37
Marqise Lee2014126837422185.5-0.34
Dane Sanzenbacher2011135427276372.2-0.33
Tajae Sharpe20161683415222105.3-0.3
Michael Floyd20121586455622113.2-0.3
Ted Ginn2007157134420288.3-0.3
Troy Williamson2005125224372276-0.3
Will Fuller20161492476302121.7-0.28
Corey Coleman2016107333413393.3-0.28
Donnie Avery200814103536743151.3-0.26
DeSean Jackson200816120629122178.8-0.24
Roddy White2005166829444392.6-0.22
Justin Blackmon201216132648655182.8-0.19
Kenbrell Thompkins20131169324664102.6-0.19
Kendall Wright201215103636124148.6-0.17
Tyler Boyd20161681546031126.1-0.14
Robert Woods20131485405873118.3-0.14
Cordarrelle Patterson20131677454694149.7-0.13
Taylor Gabriel20141672366211105.1-0.13
Emmanuel Sanders2010115028376277.6-0.12
Allen Robinson20141081485482114.8-0.12
Davante Adams20141466384463100.6-0.11
Aaron Dobson20131172375194112.9-0.09
Matt Jones20051669364325114.9-0.08
Rod Streater20121575395843115.4-0.08
Michael Crabtree20091186486252122.5-0.08
John Brown201416102486965147-0.07
Jordy Nelson2008165433366281.6-0.07
Robby Anderson20161478425872116.9-0.07
Kelvin Benjamin2014161457310089227.8-0.06
Tavon Austin20131369404184126.9-0.06
Julian Edelman2009105437359179.4-0.06
Dorial Green-Beckham20151467325494110.9-0.05
Davone Bess20081675545541116.7-0.04
James Jones20071580476762126.6-0.04
Jacoby Ford20101254254702111.5-0.03
Sammy Watkins201416128659826200-0.01
Devin Funchess20151663314735108.30
DeAndre Hopkins20131691528022144.20
Calvin Johnson20071594487564158.80
Trent Taylor2017145841401293.10
Johnny Knox20091580455275127.70.02
Marlon Brown20131483495247143.20.02
Jamison Crowder20151678596042131.60.04
Reggie Brown20051579435714124.60.05
Allen Hurns20141697516776154.70.07
Mike Williams2010161296596411227.40.07
Brian Hartline20091556315063108.50.07
Chris Givens201215804269831310.08
David Gettis201014673750831060.08
Blair White20101157363555101.50.08
Jarvis Landry201416112847585189.40.09
Denarius Moore20111376336185136.90.09
Josh Gordon20121695507975159.70.1
Santonio Holmes20061686498242144.70.1
Titus Young20111685486076146.20.1
Eddie Royal200815129919805229.90.1
Mike Thomas20091462484531107.90.1
DeVante Parker201585026494393.40.1
Dwayne Bowe200716118709955199.50.11
Amari Cooper2015161307210826215.90.12
Jeremy Maclin20091391567734156.60.12
Jordan Shipley201015745260031300.14
Sterling Shepard201616105656838184.40.15
Sidney Rice2007125331396499.30.15
Tyreek Hill20161683615996201.60.16
A.J. Green20111511565105772180.16
Kenny Britt20091575427013130.10.16
Keelan Cole20171575387153127.50.17
Braylon Edwards20051059325123101.20.17
Anthony Armstrong20101586448713149.10.19
Doug Baldwin20111687517884153.60.22
Dez Bryant20101273455616137.10.22
Stefon Diggs20151384527204149.30.23
Brandin Cooks20141069535503139.30.23
Austin Collie20091689606767169.70.26
Torrey Smith201115965084171800.26
Cooper Kupp20171594628585177.80.28
Marques Colston2006131157010388221.80.28
Timothy Wright20131475545715141.30.3
Percy Harvin20091591607906188.50.33
Terrance Williams201315744473651480.35
Mike Evans20141512368105112245.10.37
Ty Hilton201215905086171810.38
Jordan Matthews201416103678728202.20.39
Michael Thomas2016151219211379259.70.47
Keenan Allen2013151047110538224.30.49
Julio Jones20111295549598203.50.51
Chris Henry20051350314226109.20.53
Anthony Gonzalez20071251375763112.60.53
Mike Wallace20091672397566155.40.54
Hakeem Nicks20091474477906162.80.55
Odell Beckham Jr.201412130911305122970.57
Tyler Lockett20151669516646155.40.71
Juju Smith-Schuster20171269497746162.40.71
Kenny Stills20131650326415127.10.97

So far this season, Jones still has negative efficiency, but it’s already a large improvement on where he was last year. It’s tough to even say if the negative efficiency this season is Jones’ fault though, as he might be playing for one of the worst passing teams of the modern era. Bills quarterbacks are on pace for 6 TD passes and 26 interceptions. The combination of Josh Allen, Nathan Peterman, and Derek Anderson have thus far combined for -0.21 fantasy points over expectation per pass attempt, the lowest number since the year 2000.1

The crazy part is, Jones’ -0.24 reFPOEPA is actually significantly better than the other primary targets on his team, Kelvin Benjamin(-0.48) and Charles Clay(-0.50). If Jones were starting to breakout, would we even notice? We can look take more detailed look at the Bills passing game in the Weekly Stat Explorer.

Bills2018Week8

As a prospect, Jones failed to come out early, but that’s not uncommon for WRs from small schools who often need to play all four years to improve their draft slot. His combination of massive final year production and relative youth were still good enough to rank him fourth in the 2017 Phenom Index, and his production profile suggested at least a moderate chance of NFL success. Coupled with his high draft slot as the 37th overall pick, it’s fair to say that Jones has a strong prospect pedigree.

A torn labrum that he played through last season may be partially to blame for Jones’ rookie woes, and his QBs this year are just as large of an obstacle to his success.

On the other hand, Blair Andrews points out that poor rookie efficiency is definitely a huge red flag, but that’s also why Jones is available on the waiver wire in a lot of leagues right now.

The Bills offensive outlook is bleak, with Josh Allen appearing to have been overdrafted2 and an uninspiring offensive game plan and weapons around him. Things change fast in the NFL though, and the 2019 Bills will have a hard time being as bad as the 2018 version. Jones has quietly been making the best of a bad situation this year, and he should be back on your watch list after his disastrous first year likely had many owners write him off entirely.

Rashard Higgins

Rashard Higgins is just coming back from a sprained MCL that had him miss the past three games. With rookie Antonio Callaway struggling to convert his massive opportunity into production, and now questionable to play on Sunday, Higgins could be stepping into a major role in the offense.

Browns2018Week8

Higgins had negative efficiency his first two seasons, but has been a bright spot for the Browns on limited targets thus far this season. He’s also catching passes from a quarterback that, despite some rookie struggles, is probably better than anyone the Browns have rolled out at the position in the past decade.higgins 2016 to 2018

Higgins was a very productive prospect in his own right, generating some interesting comps with his production profile, including Odell Beckham Jr., Stefon Diggs, and Jarvis Landry. In fact, back in 2016 Jon Moore called Higgins the discount Tyler Boyd based on his collegiate profile, so believing he could have a similar breakout isn’t too far-fetched. In shallower leagues, Higgins has probably bounced on and off the waiver wire since he came in the league, as his dynasty stock has been perpetually undervalued.

Now is the perfect time to climb aboard the Higgins hype train, even if it might take until 2019 for it to truly pay off. Then again, the change in coaching staff in Cleveland could have a more immediate impact than expected, and getting some useful production from him this year is a real possibility.

Curtis Samuel

The primary beneficiary of Torrey Smith’s injury has thus far been D.J. Moore, but Curtis Samuel has also seen his usage tick up. The path to significant targets is far murkier for Samuel than it is for Jones or Higgins, as Carolina has a rushing QB and a target hog at RB.

Panthers2018Week8

While it’s not fair to expect a Boyd-like breakout this year for Samuel due to his current target competition, it’s hard to predict exactly what the Panthers will look like next season. Devin Funchess was not extended before the season and will get a shot at free agency at the end of the year. Greg Olsen will need offseason surgery on his troublesome foot, and while his two-year extension initially made it seem like he was a decent bet to play through 2020, his health and interest in broadcasting could potentially alter his timeline. Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright aren’t keeping any legitimately talented players off the field.

It’s difficult to evaluate Samuel’s college career due to the fact that he was a RB early on and still played somewhat of a hybrid role, but despite all that he still managed to top the Phenom Index for the 2017 class. He was young, productive, and explosive, and he already has one highlight reel TD against the Giants in his first game back this year.

Samuel’s injury in 2017 allowed many of his owners to stash him on IR, so you won’t find him on the waiver wire in as many leagues as Jones and Higgins, but he makes for a great cheap trade target for teams that are already gearing more towards the 2019 season.

Sleeper of the Week

Each week I’ll use this space to highlight a player for deep dynasty leagues where every player already getting significant touches is already owned.

Demaryius Thomas is now a Texan and DaeSean Hamilton is out until at least Week 11 with a sprained MCL. Enter Tim Patrick.

TimPatrickPP

Patrick has plus height and athleticism and was the dominant receiving weapon on a low-volume 2016 Utah offense. His age is certainly a knock against him, but he didn’t take a typical path through college.

Patrick transferred from Grossmont College to Utah in his junior year and suffered a gruesome leg injury in the latter half of the season, basically snapping his leg in half. He spent all of 2015 recovering, but then returned in 2016 to lead the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs. In fact, if you squint, it’s not hard to see a poor-man’s Kenny Golladay.

Draft Age Height Weight 40 Vert Broad 3Cone MSRecYd MSRecTD
Tim Patrick 23.1 6’5″ 210 4.47 37.5 128 6.99 0.25 0.33
Kenny Golladay 23.2 6’4″ 214 4.50 35.5 120 7.00 0.43 0.40

While Patrick can’t compare to Golladay in the most important category, production, his numbers are still respectable, especially playing against a higher level of competition than Golladay.

Patrick caught his first NFL touchdown this past week, and he should be on the field plenty in Week 9 with an opportunity to make a case that he should be a regular part of the WR rotation behind Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders. For teams needing a spot starter in deep leagues for the next few weeks, Patrick is a guy who should be on the field seeing a few targets and even has some intriguing upside.

  1. The 2001 Jon Kitna-led Benagls are the second worst at -0.20, followed closely by the 2000 Bengals that split time between Akili Smith and Scott Mitchell.  (back)
  2. and currently hurt  (back)

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