Perhaps it’s his first two disappointing seasons (or the Bengals propensity to disappoint), but whatever the reason Tyler Boyd is being dramatically undervalued in early fantasy football drafts. Here’s why he’s likely to outperform his current average draft position.

College Production

Boyd had a fantastic college career before being selected 55th overall by the Bengals. He broke out as a true freshman – catching 85 passes for 1,174 and seven touchdowns. His dominance continued through his college career, finishing with 254 receptions for 3,361 receiving yards and 22 total touchdowns.

To evaluate college prospects, Blair Andrews wrote about the most predictive production measurements for NFL success. Travis May took those variables and created the Adjusted Production Index. The top Adjusted Production Index included receivers Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, and Dez Bryant. Per this metric, Tyler Boyd finished in the top 10 percent of receivers.

A popular comparable player for Boyd is stud receiver Keenan Allen.

 Keenan AllenTyler Boyd
Height7473
Weight206197
CarRecYdsMS0.360.43
CarRecTDMS0.380.36
Breakout Age18.418.8
Draft Pick7655

Using an objective comparison prior to their professional careers, Boyd compares favorably.

Third-Year Breakouts Are Real

Entering the NFL at just 21 years old, Boyd struggled during his first two seasons.

YearAgeGGSTgtRecYdsY/RTDR/GY/GCtch%Y/Tgt
201622162815460311.213.437.766.70%7.4
201723101322222510.222.222.568.80%7
201824141410876102813.575.473.470.40%9.5
Career4017221152185612.2103.846.468.80%8.4

The good news is that doesn’t doom him – Boyd broke out in a big way last season, finishing as WR17, despite playing just 14 games. Third-year breakouts are a common trend at the wide receiver position.

Just ask Davante Adams – who is now being selected as the WR2 after (compared to expectations) disappointing his first two seasons. In spite of struggling in his age 22 and 23 seasons, Adams broke out in his third season – like Boyd did last season.

YearAgeGGSTgtRecYdsY/RTDR/GY/GCtch%Y/Tgt
2014221611663844611.732.427.957.60%6.8
201523131294504839.713.837.253.20%5.1
20162416151217599713.3124.762.362.00%8.2
20172514141177488512105.363.263.20%7.6
2018261515169111138612.5137.492.465.70%8.2
Career7467567348419712.1394.756.761.40%7.4

Despite struggling early in his career, Adams has become a star. Let’s see how the two compare after three NFL seasons.

PlayerGGSTgtRecYdsY/RTDR/GY/GCtch%Y/Tgt
Davante Adams4538281163192611.82163.642.858%6.85
Tyler Boyd4017221152185612.21103.846.468.8%8.4

Despite having Andy Dalton at quarterback instead of Aaron Rodgers, Boyd compares favorably to Adams. He hasn’t caught as many touchdowns but he’s catching more passes per game and he’s far more efficient with his targets. In fact, Boyd is averaging more yards per target in his career than Adams has in any individual season.

Boyd is Superior to the Receivers Drafted Ahead of Him

Per the FFPC average draft position on RotoViz, Boyd is being selected as the 28th wide receiver off the board. The five wide receivers drafted ahead of Boyd are Calvin Ridley, Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Mike Williams, and Tyler Lockett.

PlayerAgeDraftGTGTRECYDTDPPR
Tyler Boyd24.555141087610287221
Tyler Lockett26.66916715796510220
Jarvis Landry26.56316148819764217.8
Calvin Ridley24.42616926482110209
Mike Williams24.6716664366410178
Allen Robinson25.7611394557544155

Despite missing two games last season, Boyd led this cohort in scoring. Comically, Landry had 40 more targets than Boyd but the latter finished with 52 more receiving yards.

Somewhat surprisingly, only first-round picks Mike Williams and Calvin Ridley were selected higher in the NFL draft than Boyd. Entering his fourth season, Boyd is only a month older than stud sophomore Ridley.

PlayerPPRpgTGTpgYPTTRGmsCR
Tyler Boyd15.797.719.520.270.4%
Tyler Lockett13.734.4413.590.1880.3%
Jarvis Landry13.619.256.590.2654.7%
Calvin Ridley13.055.758.920.1569.6%
Mike Williams11.144.1310.060.1365.2%
Allen Robinson11.957.238.020.1958.5%

Lockett leads all receivers in most efficiency stats but Seattle’s low-volume passing attack hurts his production. Doug Baldwin’s retirement may help but Lockett has never topped 71 targets in his career and with Seattle’s run-heavy approach, it’s hard to project him for over 90 targets.

Landry somewhat survived on volume last season but he still disappointed. The addition of Odell Beckham Jr. and development of Baker Mayfield will increase Landry’s efficiency, but his volume will be suppressed.

Ridley could be in for a big sophomore year but there are volume concerns with Julio Jones receiving an average of 169 targets per season over the past five years.

Williams was extremely productive on just 66 targets last season but was hugely reliant on scoring, which he did at an unsustainable rate. The return of Hunter Henry will likely reduce the number of red zone targets he receives.

Despite high hopes, Robinson’s first year with the Bears was largely disappointing. Boyd outproduced A-Rob in nearly every statistical measure.

Outlook For 2019

Skeptics may be concerned that Boyd’s production came with A.J. Green out. Boyd was actually much more productive when Green was on the field.

He was targeted more frequently and scored more touchdowns per game.

At just 24 years old, it’s likely that Boyd is still getting better. However even after finishing as the WR17 last season, Boyd is being discounted so heavily that he’s available as WR28. There may not be a better value in the fantasy football market.