Tyler Boyd - The Forgotten WR in Cincinnati
In his debut article for True North Fantasy Football (@truenorthffb), Brian Bailey (@TheFFAviator) helps navigate you towards a certain Cincinnati Bengals WR that fantasy football fans are overlooking … again this year!
With the NFL regular season fast approaching, so too will many fantasy football drafts. I don’t need to advise you to draft studs such as Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas, or Lamar Jackson. But who are the not so obvious players you should draft? One player that you should be targeting this year is Cincinnati Bengals WR Tyler Boyd.
Outperforming His Yearly ADP
The last two years saw Boyd outperform his ADP and I foresee that trend continuing in the upcoming 2020 NFL season.
In 2018, Boyd put up a stat line of 76 receptions/1028 receiving yards/7 TDs in 14 games. That was good for a WR17 finish (PPR format) after mainly not being drafted in many leagues. Boyd ended up being a waiver wire gem in 2018 and helped to solidify many rosters at the WR position.
Entering the 2019 season, Boyd’s ADP was WR22. He finished the season as WR 18 (PPR format) with a line of 90/1046/5 in 16 games. There is no doubt in my mind that he’ll outproduce his current ADP of WR35 for 2020 and help you bring home a championship.
In 2018 Boyd broke onto the scene in a big way finishing the season as the WR 17 in PPR formats.
“But Boyd was only able to produce when fellow teammate and WR A.J. Green was not on the field.” - Karen
A.J. Green played the first eight games of the 2018 season before being sidelined with a toe injury. During those first eight weeks with Green on the field, Boyd was the WR12, averaging 17.7 PPR points per game. From week 8 onward, his points per game went down to 13.3 as he began to see number one WR coverage with Green sidelined. He ended the season as the WR17 and provided owners a handsome return considering he was undrafted in many leagues.
Continued Strong Play in 2019
In 2019, Boyd took another step forward, as he was now the number one target on the Bengals offense with A.J. Green missing the entire season with an ankle injury. He finished the season as the WR18, averaging 13.9 PPR points per game.
“But Boyd needed over 140 targets to produce those numbers and he won’t be getting those kinds of targets this year.” - Karen
“Karen! Please Stop!”
Boyd did need 140 plus targets to produce those numbers but the targets were also from QBs Andy Dalton and rookie Ryan Finley. Both QBs had little to work with playing behind the 30th ranked offensive line according to Pro Football Focus. Due to the sub-par offensive line, Dalton and Finley’s QB ratings were well below league average, ranking 39 and 50 respectively out of all the NFL QBs to play in 2019. We have already seen Boyd produce more points per game with a lower target volume in the 2018 season where he received higher quality targets.
Improved Outlook for 2020
“Ok but now Boyd is catching passes from a rookie QB behind a bad offensive line.” - Karen
"Karen! For the last time…STOP!"
With the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Bengals drafted highly touted QB Joe Burrow to be their franchise QB of the future. A QB that just produced a historical season throwing for 5,671 passing yards, 60 TDs, and only 6 interceptions! Burrow did all this while completing 76% of his passes in the SEC against some of the top college teams and players.
Boyd primarily plays out of the slot when he isn’t forced into the primary WR role for the Bengals. In 2018, Boyd ran 67.3% of his routes from the slot. And before you ask Karen, Burrow did target his slot receiver at LSU. Even though LSU has one of the top receivers in college in Ja’Marr Chase, Burrow still targeted his slot receiver a ton. Current Minnesota Viking WR Justin Jefferson worked mainly out of the slot in the LSU offense and was able to put up 1,540 receiving yards and 18 TDs in 2019.
There is no doubt that Burrow will help Boyd outperform his current WR35 ADP this upcoming season. Young QBs tend to look for a safety blanket and check down around the center of the field as they are getting adjusted to the NFL game and pace. With abysmal TE options to occupy the center of the field, look for Burrow to look and throw Boyd's way if his outside receivers aren’t open right away or if he doesn’t like the coverage. Burrow will be able to bring the Bengals back to being a competitive team and help to provide Boyd with higher quality targets.
As well, the offensive line will be better as a unit this year. The Bengals will be getting their first-round pick in 2019, OT Jonah Williams back from an injury that kept him out all of last season.
In fantasy football, we are always looking for value and to draft players who will outperform their ADP. If you are looking to draft a WR2 at a WR3 price tag then don’t be a Karen and do yourself a favor and grab Tyler Boyd. He is set up this year in a vastly improved Bengals offense to outperform his current WR35 ADP and in my opinion, could easily crush it!
Thanks for reading my first article with True North Fantasy Football! Agree or disagree with my high flying take on Tyler Boyd? Do you think he will outperform his ADP or not in 2020? Let me know in the comments section or at @TheFFAviator
Editor: Joe Simonetti (@joesimonetti77)