Dynasty

Kayshon Boutte Fantasy Forecast 2023

Kayshon Boutte

Kayshon Boutte Fantasy 2023

The New England Patriots’ new WR Kayshon Boutte is one of the most intriguing rookies coming into the 2023 fantasy football season. What’s so intriguing about a 6th-round, 187th-overall pick you ask? Well, let’s get into it.

Recruiting and Collegiate Background

As I noted in the Zay Flowers breakdown, I have issues with the star recruiting system, and Boutte is an example why as it does not tell us the whole story, nor is it indicative of future results for teenagers.

Kayshon Boutte was a 5 star (out of a possible 5) recruit from New Iberia, Louisiana. Coming out of high school, 247Sports had him ranked as the third-highest WR prospect in the nation. Boutte received multiple collegiate offers from highly touted schools like Alabama, West Virginia, Ole Miss, and Tennessee, but in the end he elected to stay local with LSU.

Boutte joined LSU just as players like Justin Jefferson, Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Terrace Marshall were on their way out the door. So at just 18 years old, he became WR1 for the Tigers, and he produced. His year-long statistics of 45 receptions, 735 yards, and 5 TDs was punctuated by his SEC record-setting performance of 14 receptions, 308 yards, and 3 TDs against Ole Miss on December 19, 2020. 

So with a 5 star rating, a role as WR1 for LSU, and the record-breaking performance as a freshman, how does Kayshon Boutte slip into the 6th round? At the start of his sophomore campaign, Boutte continued his impressive run by leading the country with 9 TDs through 6 games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. He ended up having surgery on it twice. When he came back for the start of his junior season, LSU had a new coach and a new QB. Boutte’s junior year stats of 48 catches, 538 yards, and 2 scores paled in comparison to his pre-injury numbers, but he declared for the NFL Draft anyway.

 

Statistical and Athletic Notes

Below are the notes I made for Kayshon Boutte prior to this year’s draft:

  • Fantastic freshman season at LSU, including record-setting performance vs Ole Miss
  • Great yard after the catch ability…like exceptional
  • Good improvisational instincts on broken plays and especially effective against Zone coverage
  • Great release off line of scrimmage
  • Ankle injury sophomore year led to an incomplete season and a lackluster junior year
  • Ankle required a second surgery due to one of the bones not healing properly
  • Drops are a concern, as is toughness in terms of battling through tough defensive coverage
  • NFL Combine was not good, did him no favors
  • Likely 3rd round pick, maybe 4th

Combine:

  • 40-yard Dash: 4.50s
  • 10-second Split: 1.58s
  • Speed Score: 95.11
  • Vertical Jump: 29”
  • Broad Jump: 9’-10”

Landing Spot

This is where I find Kayshon Boutte interesting. I was quite wrong about the round Boutte would be drafted in. He fell all the way to the 6th round before being selected by the New England Patriots. This pick has the Patriots’ style of acquiring players written all over it. Bill Belichick and company are notorious for bringing in athletes at value prices. Players like Tom Brady, Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman come to mind. If Kayshon Boutte never breaks his ankle and goes on to have a stellar sophomore and junior year, he’s a guaranteed first-round selection. 

The Good

I’m struggling to find “good” here, but if Kayshon Boutte ends up being capable of any sort of fantasy relevance, it will be because he finds a way to overcome the effects of his ankle injury that required two surgeries as well as successfully discovering what it means to be a pro. Rob Gronkowski fell into the second round because teams were wary of his collegiate injuries as well.

Additionally, the Patriots realized that having long-time defensive coach Matt Patricia call offensive plays was an experiment gone horribly wrong. Therefore Bill O’Brien is back as Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach. This should be an improvement for the Patriot offense regardless of whether it’s Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe taking snaps. 

The Bad

If Tom Brady is the starting QB for the Patriots, then everyone is talking about Kayshon Boutte. Alas, Brady is not, and as of this writing, it is unclear who the starting QB for the Patriots will be. 

The Patriots’ WR depth chart is deep in terms of players whom Boutte will have to contend with for snaps and targets. While there is no standout on the Pats, JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, and Kendrick Bourne should all get every opportunity to play ahead of Boutte.

Kayshon Boutte also had some issues with LSU coach Brian Kelly. Hopefully, that is just an outlier and not a sign of things to come because that doesn’t fly in New England.

2023 Redraft Fantasy Outlook

The only way I see drafting Kayshon Boutte in seasonal leagues is by doing something like grabbing him with my last round selection when I have 5 or 6 WRs ahead of him. There are a wide range of outcomes for this young man, but banking on him overcoming his ankle issues as well as climbing the Patriots depth chart is high risk. Rookies don’t always exactly thrive under Bill Belichick. Has Boutte shown the ability to be such a player at the college level? Yes, absolutely he has. However, he has also shown that injuries can hinder him, and the jury is still out on whether or not injuries will be a reoccurring theme for him. I do plan on keeping up on Kayshon Boutte during the summer though OTAs, camp, and preseason because they could lend us some insight as to how he is transitioning, and if he is getting stronger.

Dynasty Outlook

I am a little more willing to take on Boutte’s risk in a dynasty format. However, that’s in late rounds or little auction dollars. I would argue that him turning into one of the best WRs in the league is not out of the realm of possibilities, but he has a giant learning curve ahead of him and his new HC has high expectations for his players. That being said, the Patriots did sign him before any of their other 2023 draft picks.

Final Thoughts

I’m rooting for this kid. He has a noted history of being humble with the media, and there are reports out there suggesting that one of the reasons he and Brian Kelly didn’t get along is because of the lack of seriousness with which Boutte was treating his rehab. He sounds immature to me. It also sounds like he was unprepared for adversity. In many ways, New England could be the best landing spot in order for Kayshon Boutte to learn how to be a professional. Additionally, I am not finding him highly ranked on anyone’s rookie WR rankings. Sometimes group think has a way of leading us astray.

Fun Fact

His last name is pronounced, “Boo-Tay.”

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