As dynasty fantasy football managers look to the NFL Draft, Boise State WR Khalil Shakir established himself as a name to remember for 2022. Following a successful collegiate career, what are Shakir’s strengths, are there any concerns, and how does his landing spot with the Buffalo Bills impact his dynasty value in 2022 and beyond?
Khalil Shakir’s fantasy profile
Looking at his scouting report, few players meant more to their passing offenses over the last two seasons than Shakir did to the Boise State Broncos. After a breakout sophomore campaign in which he hauled in 63 passes for 872 yards and 6 touchdowns, Shakir watched his reception share skyrocket from 22.0% in 2019 to 37.4% in 2020.
During the truncated season, Shakir recorded 52 receptions on 76 targets for 719 yards and 6 touchdowns in only seven games. It was also the first season Shakir played on the perimeter more than in the slot (60% to 32%).
Last season, Shakir put it all together, crossing the 1,000-yard mark for the first time. In fact, there were career-highs across the board for the true senior. In 12 games, Shakir recorded 77 receptions on 114 targets for 1,117 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Following the season, Shakir performed at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, where he was one of the most challenging players for CBs to stop. His quick-twitch, start-and-stop style allowed him to win against some of the country’s best NFL prospects in short-yardage areas. At one point, Shakir scored on three straight reps in practice, which was a massive boost to his stock after he started the week somewhat slowly.
Shakir fits the modern NFL game where volume is key
Profiling as a slot receiver at the NFL level, Shakir checks a ton of the boxes at 6’0″ and 193 pounds. There is a touch of concern with his 70 3/8″ wingspan. Still, after watching the tape, most of those concerns go out the window, especially knowing he won’t be asked to make vertical contested catches on the perimeter.
As more and more fantasy and dynasty leagues use full-PPR scoring settings, slot receivers are gaining value due to the increased volume in today’s NFL offenses. Prime examples include Diontae Johnson and Hunter Renfrow — volume is the name of their game. Shakir is a name to keep an eye on during the back end of the second or early third rounds of upcoming rookie drafts.
Off the line, Shakir is a problem for slot corners to cover. He brings a suddenness to his game at the line, making it difficult for an opposing defender to mirror. Aiding in this is Shakir’s bottomless motor. He doesn’t give defenders time to catch their breath as every play is run at maximum effort.
His footwork off the line allows him to create separation, which masks his somewhat smaller catch radius. Shakir also plays with a low center of gravity and pad height, allowing him to sink his hips at the stem.
Versatility is another valued aspect of Shakir’s game that a creative play-caller can utilize. Not only was he a receiver, but Shakir was used on direct snaps, as a running back, and on jet sweeps where the plan was to manufacture touches or force the defense to rotate coverage.
At the catch point, Shakir shows fantastic instincts. He’s able to track the ball well and make challenging adjustments with relative ease. On tape, Shakir regularly made acrobatic catches. I could see a path where Shakir carves out a No. 3 role on an offense, which will aid his fantasy and dynasty value in 2022 and years to come.
Shakir is not a physically imposing receiver, which can hamper his upside at the NFL level. Strength is not on his side, and if a DB gets hands on him mid-route, Shakir could have difficulty shaking them off. I’m not as concerned about him against the press because hardly anyone presses slot receivers. That’s just not a thing that happens.
There is also room for Shakir to develop as a route runner. For as dynamic and quick-twitch as he is on the LOS, this doesn’t always translate to his routes, primarily at the stem. Shakir tends to round off his breaks. Given his arm length, this is an issue, as it allows a DB to get back into the play or undercut the route.
Shakir is also one of those players classified as “quicker than fast.” He’s not one who will pull a consistent gap to a defender on deeper routes or longer crossers. In short-area space, he’ll be a threat for some decent yards after the catch, but he might not be a vertical threat in the NFL.
Shakir’s injury history
Durability wasn’t a concern for Shakir. After appearing in 10 of Boise State’s 13 games as a true freshman, Shakir didn’t miss a single contest after that, playing in 33 straight games. Shakir would have also suited up for the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, but the university pulled out last minute due to COVID issues within the program.
Buffalo Bills select Khalil Shakir on Day 3
Shakir to Buffalo at pick No. 148 is a Day 3 gem. He is what the NFL looks for in a slot receiver. Quick, shifty, wins at the line with his release, and has secure hands. He’s also now being targeted by Josh Allen. Safe to say, I am very intrigued.
Buffalo’s pass-catching room is loaded. Stefon Diggs is the undisputed No. 1, followed by a rising Gabriel Davis and red-zone threat Dawson Knox at TE. Then things get a bit crowded. Shakir joins a group of slot-oriented receivers with newly-signed Jamison Crowder and Isaiah McKenzie.
Crowder was someone I noted earlier in the year as a sneaky good signing in free agency as he takes over for Cole Beasley in the slot. Crowder is the definition of a slot receiver, having played inside on 75% of his career snaps.
Still, he’s on a one-year contract, and I see Shakir pushing him for opportunities. There will be ample opportunities as the Bills run more 4WR sets than anyone else, are top three in WR formations, and are No. 3 in pace of play in neutral game situations.
As a mid-round draft pick in 2022 dynasty rookie drafts, Shakir could be a steal. He is on one of the NFL’s top offenses and is locked into at least four years of play with Allen. He is someone who I will be heavily targeting as a bench stash who could pay off tenfold.