Make Up or Break Up: Kenny Golladay (Fantasy Football)
I’m always bad at these openings. I don’t know where to begin. I was slow to hop on your bandwagon, but I went all in when the Giants backed up the Brink’s truck for you in 2021. That didn’t go well, and I’m not sure where to go from here. Based on the responses to my tweet last month, I’m not the only one.
I think Kenny Golladay bounces back in 2022. Anybody with me?
— Aaron Larson (@aalarson) April 18, 2022
You entered the league with a bang, racking up a very nice 69 receiving yards and scoring two touchdowns in your NFL debut back in Week 1 of the 2017 season. The rest of the season, much like your career to this point, was a roller coaster. You compiled just 33 receiving yards over the next two games, then missed five weeks with a hamstring injury. Upon your return, you averaged a mediocre 46.9 receiving yards/game and caught one touchdown. Could it be that your rookie campaign was a sign of things to come?
Years two and three went much better. You built a rapport with Matthew Stafford and put up back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. In 2019 you finished as the WR6 in all of fantasy football and led the league in touchdown catches, despite having to catch passes from David Blough and Jeff Driskel for half the season. You appeared to have leveled up and joined the top-tier of NFL wideouts.
The past two seasons, however, haven’t been as smooth as the Kenny G we had gotten so accustomed to. You finished outside of the top 100 fantasy wide receivers in 2020 as you struggled through hamstring and hip injuries before eventually being shut down. It felt like a lost season, but you did finish as a top-24 fantasy receiver in each of your four healthy games. You had proven enough, apparently, for the New York Giants to sign you to a 72 million dollar contract.
This is where it gets tough for me. I was all in on you in 2021. I didn’t leave a best ball draft without you on my roster and thought I got a steal drafting you in the sixth round of my redraft leagues. You were set to be the alpha receiver for your new team in what could have been a sneaky good offense. Surely, your injury history was nothing to worry about. What could go wrong?
A lot. The answer is “a lot” could and did go wrong. The Giants were the second-worst scoring offense in the league, barely out-pacing out the Urban Meyer-led Jaguars. You played in 14 games and failed to score a touchdown while averaging a career-low 14.1 yards/reception and an abysmal 6.9 yards/target. Could things possibly get any worse?
Maybe you weren’t the problem. After all, you only played eight games with starting quarterback Daniel Jones, who dealt with his own injuries in 2021. It may have been minimal, but you averaged more targets, receiving yards, and fantasy points when playing with Jones instead of Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm. Could anybody really thrive with that pair of career backups throwing them passes?
But 2022 is a new season. The less-than-dynamic coaching duo of Joe Judge and Jason Garrett has been replaced by Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka. I have to believe that the coaches who worked with Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes over the past several seasons could have a positive impact on Big Blue’s passing offense. Hopefully, you’re a top beneficiary.
It’s been a rough road, Kenny. You proved me wrong when I doubted you back in your early days in Detroit. When I bought in last summer, you let me down. But I’m a sucker for a redemption story. Not to mention, your perceived fantasy value is at an all-time low. Unless, for some unforeseen reason, your average draft position skyrockets this summer, I fully anticipate rostering you in a plethora of best ball and redraft leagues yet again this season. I sure hope it works out better than last year.