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Fantasy Football 2016: Previewing Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd

The former Pittsburgh hometown hero will be helping the Bengals to win on a weekly basis and he can help your fantasy team achieve a championship in 2016, too.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Training Camp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

There probably isn’t a more ironic situation in the NFL than the one Tyler Boyd has found himself in since draft day. Growing up in the heart of Pittsburgh, Boyd became a familiar name in the city from a young age. He won four state titles in high school, became a high school All-American, and played for the University of Pittsburgh where he again received All-American honors.

Now, at what is seemingly a peak in the Bengals-Steelers rivalry, he finds himself in Cincinnati and brings his extremely versatile skill set to the Bengals. When Bengals fans think of versatility in recent years, I’d imagine highlight plays by Mohamed Sanu are one of the first things that come to mind. While Boyd has drawn many Sanu comparisons since donning the orange and black, I believe he’s a step above Sanu in many ways. I believe Boyd is a great sleeper pick for fantasy this year. Why? I’ll explain.

Talent in spades

The first thing that separate Boyd from the pack of other players is just the sheer number of different positions this guy has played. Defensive back, running back, wide receiver, and quarterback are positions where Boyd has shined at one point or another in his young career. That experience allows him to have an understanding of the responsibilities of the players around him, giving him added insight and knowledge. On top of that, the guy can just flat out make plays. He dominated the ACC catching passes from Tom Savage, Chad Voytik, and Nathan Peterman. Not exactly household names, yet he was able to produce and lead his team regardless. This was especially difficult this past season, when Pitt’/ usual top player James Connor sat out after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Boyd responded by accumulating over 1,200 yards between rushing, receiving, and passing, while lining up in multiple positions.

While not having the greatest straight line speed (Boyd is by no means a deep-burner like fellow rookie Cody Core), he makes up for it with his diverse athleticism in other areas. His open field moves are effective, his cuts are precise and impactful, and his ability to track the ball downfield is impressive. Add a solid set of hands and some of the best technique from a rookie receiver in quite a while and you’ve got a player waiting to break out.

Where he ranks

In the fantasy world Boyd is typically placed somewhere between 50-70 in the top receiver rankings for this season. That may be a fair estimation considering he’s starting camp as the #3 option at receiver behind A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell. However, with increasingly impressive camp and preseason performances, Boyd could overtake LaFell as the #2 option. And with Tyler Eifert likely out to start the year, he could be seeing plenty of target early. As such, I think Boyd at the very least deserves a flex play early on for your fantasy team. If you’re not playing with many people familiar with Boyd, you should be able to snag him extremely late in the draft, and he could pay huge dividends almost immediately.

Boyd may provide added value in PPR format leagues as well. Due to not having NFL level breakout speed, Boyd will likely see a lot of work over the middle on short to intermediate routes. This will allow him to rack up a steady amount of catches underneath while speedier receivers are blowing the tops off of coverages downfield. I believe you will be extremely pleased with what you get out of Boyd fantasy-wise this season.