Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd both play second-fiddle in their respective offenses, but have very different perceptions in dynasty as evidenced by their rankings and average draft position. However, is there really much difference between the two players that would warrant the value difference we currently see?
Ridley and Boyd are comparable athletes from a measurables standpoint, and while Ridley had the better 40-time and Speed Score, Boyd bested him in the Burst and Agility Scores as well as catch radius. All in all, there is not much separating the two in that area. When it comes to college production, Boyd was actually more dominant at that level than Ridley, but now that both are veterans in the league, the college production does not carry much weight.
We can look at the raw numbers for 2019, and as far as receptions, yards, and touchdowns, these two players again are similar. While Ridley saw a higher yards per target number, Boyd had the superior yards after catch and target share.
Now, the numbers don’t tell the entire story. In 2019, Boyd was the de facto #1 option in that offense after A.J. Green missed the duration of the season, while Ridley competed with Julio, Sanu, Hooper, Freeman, etc. for targets in Atlanta. However, it could easily be argued that Ridley had the better quarterback play overall. The combination of Andy Dalton and Ryan Finley didn’t hold a candle to Matt Ryan (and one game of Matt Schaub) in 2019:
What Does the Future Hold?
Now, looking at 2019 production can be a helpful glimpse, but we know 2020 will be different for both players. For Ridley, it is assumed his target competition will be less with Austin Hooper and Mohammed Sanu out of the picture, and Hayden Hurst’s 43 career receptions the only notable addition. Calvin Ridley did perform well from weeks 8-14 after the Sanu trade to New England, as his numbers jumped exponentially.
It may be easy to extrapolate those numbers from the six games sans Sanu and assume that Ridley could be looking at a season with 125+ targets, 90+ receptions, and 1300+ yards. The yards per reception and yards per target metrics both increased substantially, well above Ridley’s career averages of 13.3 and 9.1, respectively. Should Ridley see more targets and receptions in 2020, but his YPR and YPT move closer to his previous two seasons, he would be looking at ~1100 receiving yards instead of the 1300-yard pace from the six-game sample above.
Tyler Boyd had an impressive 148 target, 90 reception season in 2020. As mentioned previously though, he lacked target competition with star receiver A.J. Green missing the entire season. With Green due back this year, will Boyd still be a target hog and capable of a mid-WR2 season in fantasy? We have to look all the way back to 2018 when Boyd and Green both played together. Of course, Green got injured that season as well and we have just a nine-game sample size. In those nine games though, Tyler Boyd performed well with a 125+ target, 90+ reception, ~1200+ yard pace. If his yards YPR and YPT move closer to his career averages, he would be looking at ~1000 receiving yards instead.
Although Calvin Ridley is the ‘sexier’ name these days, Tyler Boyd actually has a similar ceiling for production. Both players are capable of 125+ targets and 90+ receptions (something Boyd has already done in his career). Boyd sees more Red Zone targets (19 the past two seasons, compared to 15 for Ridley) and should have more opportunities in an improved offense from 2019. One wide receiver is being drafted in the early to mid-fourth round, and the other being taken at the end of the fifth, or early sixth. At Dynasty Happy Hour, Ridley has a composite ranking of WR17, and Boyd sits at WR24. One area where our DHH rankers agree is in overall ranking, with the difference being much smaller (35th average overall rank for Ridley, 43rd for Boyd).
Who is the Better Value, Overall?
You may expect Julio Jones to eventually break down, and Matt Ryan to continue pumping out 4500 yard seasons. Ridley could become the 1a in the Falcons offense and command a 20+% target share. But two seasons in, Ridley has not finished with a target share over 15.2%, whereas Boyd has target shares of 20.4% and 25.1% the last two years. Yes, Joe Burrow is only a rookie and growing pains can be expected, but even with an improved defense the Bengals will need to throw the ball 575-600 times. With the difference between the WR12 and WR24 in scoring being razor-thin, the value is in Tyler Boyd over Calvin Ridley.