One of the best ways to acquire premium assets for peanuts in dynasty leagues is by targeting sophomore players who disappointed as rookies. Less patient owners may be willing to part with a once highly-touted rookie prospect, especially if the production fell short of their elevated expectations. Tyler Boyd falls solidly into this category.
Boyd was expected to be gradually incorporated into the Bengals offense over the course of the season. However, season-ending injuries to A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, and Giovani Bernard led to Boyd seeing an outsize snap share that unfortunately didn’t lead to great production. Boyd may have disappointed owners as a rookie, but a deeper dive into his profile indicates he’s a compelling buy-low candidate.
TYLER BOYD IS A RARE TALENT
Tyler Boyd was a hot commodity here at RotoViz coming out of college. Boyd’s age-adjusted production places him in rarified air among other WR’s.
Jon Moore’s Phenom Index put Boyd in the top four of last season’s crop of rookie WRs. A quick scan of comparable WRs based on their career college production indicates that Boyd carries immense upside.
Owners hoping for a weekly WR2 once Green went down with injury were left disappointed by Boyd’s volatile fantasy production.1 Despite being positioned for a larger target share this season, Boyd’s ADP is currently in freefall.
CONSISTENT SNAP SHARE
Despite the injuries and free agent departures last season, Boyd never once played over 90 percent of the snaps. After Green went down in Week 11, Boyd’s snap share ranged from 58 to 78 percent.
He posted a 54/603/1 line his rookie year, which can be considered to be a slight disappointment given the available opportunity. The lack of touchdowns is directly attributable to the ineptitude of the offense.
Although the Bengals made it to the red zone on 34 percent of their drives, they scored a touchdown only 59 percent of the time. I expect the Bengals to improve in the red zone, and their touchdown total will trend back to the mean this season. Both Jordan Hoover and RotoDoc note that the Bengals appear poised for a potential increase in their 2017 win rate, which should translate to more fantasy points and be a boon for Boyd’s production.
LONG TERM ANSWER IN THE SLOT
The Bengals drafted John Ross ninth overall, adding a terrific playmaker to an already crowded WR group. Brandon LaFell and John Ross are currently forecast to run their routes opposite Green on the outside, freeing up Boyd to play out of the slot. As seen on Player Profiler, Boyd ran 57 percent of his routes from the slot, the second most among NFL WRs.
The chart below from Air Yards shows how solid Boyd was at converting air yards into actual yards on short yardage throws. Looking at Boyd’s targets, we see that his Receiver Air Conversion Ratio (RACR) is in line with the league average on throws traveling in the range of 5-15 yards.
Although a fully healthy A.J. Green threatens to soak up most of the available targets, Boyd should still see plenty of work. As shown in the RotoViz Game Splits App, Boyd’s production is consistent whether Green plays or not.2
Looking To The Future
Boyd should improve upon his rookie play as part of the natural maturation process of young WRs. I turned to the RotoViz Screener to find comparable data for Boyd’s season. I set the Screener to find rookies from 2011-2016 and selected several production and usage numbers as variables. Bear in mind that draft capital spent remains relevant for sophomore players, which is why I’ve included the draft pick.
The set of comparable players yields some intriguing results. A year ago, Matt Oxford suggested that Boyd could mature into the next Stefon Diggs, a claim that seems even more plausible today.3 I find the Jamison Crowder comp to be the most compelling. To test whether this is an appropriate comp, I generated a set of players for Boyd’s N+1 season from our WR Similarity Scores.
While Diggs is suspiciously absent from the list presented above, the app agrees that Crowder presents a compelling comp. There are several other names in the above chart that leads me to believe that Boyd has tremendous upside.
Currently, most dynasty players are of the notion that the Ross addition means that Boyd will be the odd man out. According to the RotoViz Dynasty ADP App, Boyd is currently drafted as the 85th WR (197th player overall). Boyd’s ADP presents a steep discount to Ross’s current ADP as the 39th WR (77th overall). Additionally, the Dynasty ADP App currently has Boyd’s trade value as a late-second, early-third rookie pick. While I can’t guarantee that other owners will sell Boyd at that valuation, the price for acquiring the WR3 on the Bengals is meager. Given that RotoViz anticipates a bounce back season for the Bengals, Boyd’s value should rise once the season commences. So try and acquire a player who could return WR3 value this season and might even produce like a WR2 shortly.
- Boyd cracked the top-24 twice in the final seven games of the season. He finished outside the top-40 in the other five. (back)
- The lone touchdown Boyd scored came well after Green had left the game due to injury. (back)
- Although the NextGen speeds for Diggs potentially suggest a different style of player. (back)