Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is sure to be one of the most coveted players in fantasy football. After putting his name on the map in 2018, the former third-round established himself as one of the best receivers in football with a dominant 2019 Does he have what it takes to build on his impressive campaign, or was 2019 a career year?
Note: All projections are based on PPR scoring.
2020 Fantasy Football Outlook: Kenny Golladay
After a strong 2018, Kenny Golladay proved he was the real deal with a fantastic 2019 campaign. Starting in all 16 games, the Northern Illinois product recorded 65 receptions for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. This great campaign earned him the WR9 finish in fantasy despite playing in unfavorable situations.
Golladay’s numbers weren’t artificially inflated by a few major performances, either. Overall, Golladay managed to reach 10 PPR points in 12 of his 16 games, and 14 or more points in 11 of his 16 contests. He did this despite losing star quarterback Matthew Stafford after eight games and having to catch passes from the unremarkable duo of Jeff Driskel and David Blough. His numbers took a hit without Stafford, but that’s to be expected. During his eight games with Stafford, Golladay averaged 17.8 fantasy points per game. That number dropped to 13.8 with Driskel and Blough, which still isn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination.
The most interesting thing about Golladay’s season was his touchdown total. His yardage and receptions weren’t dramatically different from 2018 to 2019 (133 more yards, five fewer receptions), but his touchdown total jumped from five to 11. This jump in production is even more curious when you account for his redzone targets. According to Pro Football Reference, Golladay received just 15 targets, eight behind league-leader Tyler Lockett and just as many as guys like Jamison Crowder and Mike Williams.
Kenny Golladay is still going to be the top option in Detroit’s passing attack, but there will be some regression coming his way. As previously mentioned, Golladay’s big statistical jump was primarily due to his league-leading 11 touchdowns. Touchdowns typically fluctuate from year to year, and Golladay’s relatively low redzone target share implies that a lot of regression is coming his way.
Golladay is going to be a valuable fantasy weapon, but he’s a lot better with Matthew Stafford in the lineup. Projecting injuries is never easy, as every single player in the NFL carries some type of injury risk. However, Stafford’s injury history makes him a larger risk than most. The quarterback played through a back injury for the vast majority of 2018 and missed half the season with the same ailment in 2019. Back injuries typically don’t improve as you age, and Stafford’s advanced age only increases the risk of re-injury. New backup quarterback Chase Daniel might be an upgrade on Jeff Driskel, but he’s still not an ideal option under center.
The good news for Golladay is that Detroit’s defense is probably going to be a hot mess. Bad defenses are great for receivers, as it means offenses will have to throw to keep up in games. Last year, Detroit’s defense ended the year ranked 28th in total defensive DVOA. It’s hard to see that improving with Matt Patricia calling the shots. The team added a few interesting players in Jamie Collins and Duron Harmon, but this probably won’t be enough to mitigate the loss of star cornerback Darius Slay. Detroit is going to get in a bunch of shootouts, and that is great news for Kenny Golladay’s fantasy outlook.
Kenny Golladay Average Draft Position
As of this posting, Fantasy Football Calculator has Kenny Golladay going off the board with the 28th overall pick in PPR drafts. This makes him the WR8 overall and puts him in the same tier as guys like Mike Evans and Adam Thielen.
This is the perfect place to grab Golladay. While touchdown regression is definitely coming his way, he’s still the top option in what will be a pass-happy offense. Golladay proved that he can be successful with and without Stafford, although he’s obviously better with his star quarterback. His target share ensures that he’ll be a weekly start in fantasy, and his downfield playmaking ability offers the promise of fantastic week-winning performances.
Based on recent history, Golladay will probably end the season with 65-75 receptions, 1,110-1,200 yards, and seven touchdowns. If you’re picking near the turn of the second and third round, Golladay is more than capable of serving as your WR1.
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