Fantasy Reaction: Kenny Golladay Signs with the Giants

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In Fantasy Footballers world, it was a tough 2020 for many reasons; one of which was the lack of Kenny G drops throughout the year on the podcast. With only five games played in an injury-plagued and lost season, we needed some good news this off-season about Kenny Golladay and arguably the biggest free agent WR finally signed.

Kenny G received the type of multi-year deal and compensation every other WR hoped for. But it looks like he stands alone with a monster four-year, $72 million deal including $40 million guaranteed. At an $18 million average annual salary, he now is tied for 6th among WRs with Tyreek Hill according to Spotrac.

Let’s dive into his production, how he fits into the New York Giants offense, his 2021 outlook, and what this means for dynasty moving forward.

Hit that Sax Kenny G!

The reason we love those smooth routes on the field is Golladay possesses some of the most valuable traits for fantasy football: he goes deep and he’s a red-zone threat. Those, my friends, are the money makers for fantasy, and Golladay slowly developed from being drafted in the 3rd round out of Northern Illinois to a 1,000-yard receiver in 2018 to a dominant 2019 campaign.

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Year Age G Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G
2017 24 11 48 28 477 17 3 43.4
2018 25 15 119 70 1063 15.2 5 70.9
2019 26 16 116 65 1190 18.3 11 74.4
2020 27 5 32 20 338 16.9 2 67.6

In fact, in 2019, Golladay not only tied for the league-lead with 11 receiving TDs but he led in two of fantasy’s most desirable categories. He had a league-high 13 ten-zone targets and 37 20+ yard targets.  That’s 43% of his total targets were either 10-zone or 20+ yarders! He finished as the WR6 in 0.5-point formats and the 9th most consistent WR according to our metrics after being drafted in the mid to late 4th round. The dude was a league-winner.

In 2020, Golladay was limited by a hip injury for nine games although many reports made it clear that his fate was sealed due to his upcoming free agency. Regardless, the 27-year-old Golladay hit the market at the right time and cashed in not only due to his production on the field but there is still some untapped potential and a ceiling he hasn’t reached. Imagine if he saw 130+ targets…

If there is an area of concern, it’s seeing his utilization in Detroit trending towards being solely an outside wide receiver. The difference between the early 2000s and the game now is even the best WRs in the game are manufactured opportunities in the slot.

Games Played Snaps Wide Snaps Slot
2017 11 71% 24%
2018 15 67% 29%
2019 16 85% 13%
2020 5 86% 14%

For example, Davante Adams was used heavily in the slot last year to create mismatches setting career highs with 31.7% of his snaps, 38% of his receptions, and seven of his TDs coming in the slot. This was a huge reason Adams led all WRs in yards per route run and YAC. I compare the two because both are red-zone threats but we shouldn’t just pencil them in as “posting up in the paint” waiting to out body their defenders. Finding creative opportunities for Golladay to be moved in the slot even a quarter of the time would do wonders for the Giants’ offense. Now about that offense…

2021 Outlook

The 2020 Giants were one of the most anemic offenses in football with OC Jason Garrett nosediving some of the potential Daniel Jones displayed in 2019. They were arguably the least efficient passing team in the league averaging only 10.3 yards per completion and only 12 total passing TDs. Heck, they were one of three teams (along with the Ravens and Jets) that failed to surpass 300 yards passing in any game. However, it’s hard to use 2020 as any sort of data point in projecting for 2021 as Saquon Barkley‘s injury devastated their explosiveness right from the get-go. The offensive line in New York also is a major issue that still needs to be addressed. 4th overall pick Andrew Thomas was encouraging at the tackle position but with fellow tackle Nate Solder opting out, the rest of the group crumbled.

The Giants passing attack is tempting for what could be. So much of Golladay’s outlook depends on the development of Daniel Jones, a fact I probably do not have to belittle you with. While the passing pie was divided pretty evenly between Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton the last two years, it’s clear who the alpha is moving forward. But Golladay’s never been a high-volume guy. I don’t expect that to change a ton in New York as his fantasy production, as mentioned earlier, is predicated on consistently winning deep and being targeted in the end-zone. Golladay was being drafted as the WR23 in BestBall before this signing which looks like a relative steal. In 0.5-point formats, Golladay is a borderline top-15 WR and in PPR, he’s more in the range of WR15 to 20.

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With Golladay in, Shepard is set the thrive as the primary slot receiver especially with Tate leaving town. Shepard is a sneaky PPR WR4 that should be able to return value if he stays healthy. Poor Darius Slayton. He was one of five rookie WRs with eight receiving TDs & averaging 15+ yards per reception since 2010 joining Mike Evans, A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, and Martavis Bryant. (Remember him!) He’s now a dart throw for DFS at best and the shockingly good rookie season he had in 2019 is now erased from our memories. It’s also hard to spin any positive narrative Evan Engram‘s way. Over the last 20 years, Evan Engram’s 2020 campaign was the worst fantasy points per game season for a TE with 100+ targets. Woof. And now Kyle Rudolph and Kenny Golladay come to town to monopolize the red-zone targets. Engram is in a contract year so I’ll be among the first to say “Adios”.

Dynasty Outlook

Finally, Golladay’s dynasty destination is now clear in our minds. We knew this free agency was coming and at 27 years old, he is a bit older than most players at this stage in their career. In fact, think about how Allen Robinson is on his third contract at the same age. Golladay should be fresh after basically taking most of 2020 off and motivated to assert himself as an alpha in New York. Listen I love Kenny G and list a saxophone next to his name in every single show doc we make for the Fantasy Footballers podcast. For dynasty, I would be looking to get a haul back for him especially if someone values him as a top-10 WR. Daniel Jones is not someone I’d trust at all and Jason Garrett is likely my least favorite play-caller in the league. The Giants as a whole should be a better team and their defense was surprisingly effective last year. Fantasy managers searching for a monster season from Golladay might be left wanting at the end of 2021 and beyond that, I have no idea who the QB in New York is going to be.

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