Path to a fantasy breakout for Khalil Shakir will not be dampened by draft

There are some things to be determined, but Khalil Shakir's path to a fantasy breakout next season absolutely exists.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

After a rookie season where he was hardly used (10 catches for 161 yards), Buffalo Bills wide receiver Khalil Shakir had a very small role and started last season slowly (eight catches for 75 yards over the first seven games). Then things changed.

From Week 7-Buffalo's Divisional Round playoff loss, Shakir was third on the Bills in targets (51), third in receptions (45), second in receiving yards (646) and tied for second in receiving touchdowns (three). In the final 11 regular season games he averaged 16.3 yards per catch, and over the Bills' two playoff games, he had a total of 10 catches with a touchdown in each contest.

With the departure of Gabriel Davis in free agency, and now the departure of Stefon Diggs via trade to the Houston Texans, Shakir is now the only wide receiver on the Bills' roster who has caught a pass from Josh Allen.

Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins were added in free agency, and with Diggs gone Buffalo drafting a wide receiver early feels like a foregone conclusion.

Khalil Shakir has path to a fantasy breakout in 2024

Last season, according to Pro Football Focus, Shakir lined up in the slot the majority of the time (406 snaps). As a rookie in 2022, albeit in a much smaller sample, he played the same number of snaps in the slot and on the outside.

The slot is Samuel's primary domain, so on the surface there's a lot of overlap with Shakir. But the voids that are now in the Buffalo receiving corps opens up a different/bigger role for Shakir as the replacement for Davis on the perimeter. Ideally, he'll be more consistent than Davis was.

The case for buying Shakir in dynasty leagues still exists. But here's an angle to sell him in that format now, for those who have him and think he'll fall well down the pecking order for targets with looming additions for the Bills at wide receiver.

In re-draft leagues of the most typical size (10-14 teams), regardless of what happens between now and the teeth of fantasy draft season, Shakir won't come off the board as more than a WR3 or WR4. Week-to-week production might be a thing, which heightens his appeal in best-ball formats. But the path to a third-year breakout is there, and should still exist in some vein a month from now.