Value Check: Tyler Boyd

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It remains to be seen how long A.J. Green will be sidelined due to an injury that he suffered in Week 11 against the Buffalo Bills. Early reports indicated that Green would likely be forced to miss the remainder of the season due to a torn right hamstring, but recent news has circulated that the wide receiver could actually return in a matter of weeks. Nevertheless, Green’s absence leaves a significant void to fill in the interim on offense for the Cincinnati Bengals.

After Green was carted off in Week 11, Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell filled in at wide receiver. In the game, Boyd collected 6 receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown on 8 targets. On the other hand, LaFell recorded 4 receptions for 32 yards on 9 targets. On the season, Boyd has earned 50 targets, while LaFell has seen a total of 55. Regardless, Boyd currently stands as the premier beneficiary during Green’s absence, as he led the Bengals in both catches and receiving yardage this past weekend.

With a 33-349-1 receiving line in his first ten games as a rookie, Boyd is on pace to finish as a back-end WR4 in PPR formats this season. However, as is often the case in fantasy football, an increase in opportunity could prove to elevate Boyd’s value for the duration of 2016. For a closer look at Boyd’s production as the focal point of an offense, reference the table below as a reminder of his collegiate dominance at Pittsburgh:

Year Receptions Yards Touchdowns
2013 85 1,174 7
2014 78 1,261 8
2015 91 926 6

As evident from his college production, Boyd owns the skill set to be a successful possession receiver at the NFL level. The Cincinnati Bengals evidently agree with this assessment, as the team elected to devote a second-round pick to the Pittsburgh product in this year’s draft. While attending the University of Pittsburgh for three years, Boyd set school records for receptions (254) and receiving yards (3,361). In the process, he surpassed Larry Fitzgerald in the school’s record books. Needless to say, Boyd’s pedigree speaks volumes to his potential ceiling in the NFL.

That being said, Boyd is certainly a worthy addition to rosters in both standard and point-per-reception formats. Although Tyler Eifert could see his role increase the most with A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard sidelined, Boyd still projects to be heavily involved moving forward.

At 6’ 2” / 197 pounds, Boyd ultimately lacks the body size to be viewed as a wide receiver with big-play ability. However, he is able to make up for it with excellent hands and crisp route running ability as a consistent short and intermediate passing-down option. To date, Boyd has managed to score double-digit points in PPR scoring on three occasions. He has failed to eclipse more than 6 receptions or 79 yards receiving in a game thus far, but with an anticipated increase in target share on the horizon, those numbers are likely to increase. Overall, Boyd is best viewed as a WR3 in the short-term. If A.J. Green were to remain sidelined for the fantasy playoffs, Boyd could possibly enter the WR2 discussion and offer league-winning upside as waiver wire hero.

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