One of my favorite wide receivers in the 2016 NFL Draft class was none other than Pittsburgh’s Tyler Boyd. The Pitt Panther would be selected at the end of the 2nd round by the Cincinnati Bengals who look to fill a void in the WR corps with the departures of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. A lot will be expected of Boyd from the get-go as he will play second fiddle to star wideout, A.J. Green.
The Bengals need to makeup for 98 catches, 1,210 receiving yards and 4 TDs left behind by Jones and Sanu – I’ll just go out and say that Boyd amasses at least half of those totals (49 catches, 605 receiving yards and 2 TDs) which is very respectable, especially from a rookie receiver. The potential absence of Tyler Eifert in the first set of games gives Boyd even more upside to produce.
Looking at the rest of the receiving corps, there’s no question Boyd carries the most fantasy upside of the group. Aside from A.J. Green, there aren’t any established fantasy targets. Brandon LaFell was brought in over the offseason – a steady veteran, but not a viable fantasy producer. Boyd may or may not be listed ahead of LaFell on the depth chart at the start of the season, but that doesn’t mean he won’t see more playmaking opportunities – which he undoubtedly will.
What made Boyd so special in college was his crisp route running, which translates tremendously in the NFL. His combination of intelligent route running and glue-like hands make him a great possession receiver, and compliment to A.J. Green.
I’ll stick to my guns with the projection of 49/605/2 with even more upside on the table based on his versatility and playmaking ability. During his playing days at Pitt, the Panthers often used Boyd in the backfield as a running back and integrated creative plays to get the ball in Boyd’s hands – the Bengals very well could follow suit. When it’s all said and done, Boyd will be right up there with guys like Corey Coleman and Sterling Shepard among top fantasy rookie WR performers in 2016.
In standard leagues, Boyd could serve as a solid FLEX option throughout the season and is well-worth a late round pick. In dynasty leagues, he’s a player you want to target in the early-mid round range.