Fantasy Court: The Case Against Kenny Golladay in 2021
I love some smooth routes as much as the next guy. Watching Kenny Golladay in the 2019 season was a joy. That year he ranked 6th in overall receiving yards, averaging just over 74 yards a game with 11 total touchdowns. He was Matthew Stafford‘s security blanket, his go-to guy. Unfortunately, anyone that drafted Golladay in 2020 hoping for a similar season was vastly disappointed. Only playing five games as opposed to the full 16 the year prior, Golladay only gave owners 338 receiving yards and a measly two touchdowns. All the signs pointed to Golladay leaving the Detroit Lions to collect his significant – and quite well deserved – payday. We were all hopeful that he would find a landing spot that would bring the man back to his former glory.
Then he signed with the Giants. Enter Daniel Jones.
I still believe in Golladay’s talents, don’t get me wrong; however, I am not targeting him in drafts this year, and I think I can offer a strong case for you to do the same. Make sure to check out Lauren’s Carpenter’s Fantasy Court: The Case For Kenny Golladay to read the other side of the argument.
The Daniel Jones Conundrum
No matter how much talent and ability Kenny Golladay has, it means nothing if his quarterback cannot get him the ball. Daniel Jones only finished in the top 12 QBS 14% of the time in 2020. Simply for comparison, Matt Stafford more than doubled that percentage, finishing in the top 12 over 31% of the time. In 2019, the last full season we have to draw on for data re Golladay, Stafford finished as a top 12 QB over 62% of the time. Plainly said, in my opinion, Daniel Jones will simply have issues getting Kenny Golladay the ball. The Ballers consensus ranking on Jones this year is QB 24. It might be time to throw in the towel on the Daniel Jones experiment, and unfortunately, there will be few spoils for Kenny Golladay to reap.
Pick a Target, Any Target
This season brings back a healthy Saquon Barkley to the fold, and one has to think that Barkley will get a hefty dose of red zone attempts, both rushing and passing.
In 2019 Barkley had a 10% target share in passes in the red zone in addition to his 60% target share in red-zone rushes. In my opinion, there is a higher chance that a fumbling prone Daniel Jones will quickly toss to Saquon Barkley while in the red zone for a run in touchdown than dropping back, having enough protection to make that Golladay read, and hitting him in the back of the end zone.
Golladay is amazing at contested catches, but how many of those near the goal line will we actually see in this Giants offense? With Saquon Barkley consistently able to punch it in in the red zone, will Golladay even need to be targeted? The Lions never really had that RB that they could count on to score once they were near the goal line; therefore, those attempts were heading Golladay’s way by definition. I am just not convinced that he will get those on the Giants.
And do not forget Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. Although the clear WR2 and WR3 on the team since Golladay’s arrival, they still both scored three touchdowns last year and look to have at least some looks this season. They will have a piece of this pie. Add in Evan Engram, and touchdown stealer Kyle Rudolph and the pie gets even smaller.
One more thing that edges me off targeting Kenny Golladay this season is his propensity for injury, especially his hamstring. In 2017 and 2020, Golladay had a Grade two thigh hamstring strain, and he has only played all 16 games one season in his career. In his first season in the NFL, he only played five games simply because of this stubborn hamstring. Here are some WRs going off the board around the same time as Kenny Golladay. Robert Woods, Chris Godwin, DJ Moore. In my opinion, each of these WRs has better QB situations than Golladay and similar or better overall team offensive potential than the Giants. In addition, these guys are simply more durable than Golladay. All three of the WRs mentioned above have played at least 12 games in every one of their seasons.
The crux of my case here against Kenny Golladay is this. His current ADP has him the 21st WR coming off the board. The Ballers consensus ranking has him at WR16 . I lean more in Andy’s direction – he ranks him as WR26 – if not even lower. Do not hear what I am not saying; Kenny Golladay is a great WR. But for me, when I look at his QB, his potential target share, and his injury history, I am tempering my expectations and steering clear of the jazzman this 2021 season.