I believe 2018 will mark the breakout of Kenny Golladay. I am the conductor of the Kenny Golladay hype train and I am asking everyone who plays fantasy to come along for the ride. There were flashes of his talent in 2017, but injuries kept him from be able to do more. This article is your definitive argument for taking him over Golden Tate and Marvin Jones.
Overtaking Marvin Jones
The hierarchy in the Lions passing games is important to look at. Golden Tate is going to be the most targeted again in 2018 and he plays a much different role than Golladay. I expect Golladay to surpase Marvin Jones as the top target on the outside for Matthew Stafford.
Jones had a very good 2017 season, but that included playing above what he had done in his career to this point. Jones led the league in yards per catch, averaging 18 yards for every reception. His career average is actually 15 yards per catch, which leads me to believe that number will be coming down in the coming season. Jones found the end zone 9 times on 107 targets. The previous 2 seasons he was targeted 103 times and scored 4 times, which tells me he will not repeat those 9 TDs in 2018. 2017 was the best case scenario for Jones and he’s not likely to repeat.
In his rookie season Golladay averaged 17 yards per catch and had a 58.3% catch rate, which is slightly better than the 57% catch rate of Jones. While Golladay only has a small sample size, he has flashed the ability to match the numbers Jones did in 2017 and since he is younger it is more likely he will improve year over year. Once Golladay starts to show more on the field I see the Lions shifting more of the passing game focus to him. The Lions would be smart to get an idea of what this talented young WR’s ceiling looks like, we have seen that for Jones already and he is unlikely to repeat his career season from 2017. The Lions are likely going to be 3rd in their division and developing Golladay into a potential breakout star will be more beneficial to them in the long run than see Jones regress a little and continue to be a solid starter.
Opportunity is Not an Issue
In 2017 Detroit lined up with at least 3 WRs on the field on 75.7% of plays, so Golladay will be on the field plenty. The last 5 weeks of the season Golladay was on the field for at least 76.2% of offensive snaps, Detroit will have him on the field and would be foolish not to utilize him. He stands at 6-4 and has been called Babytron by some because of his physical presence. To start the season, in 3 WR sets Detroit will have Tate will man the slot and Jones will draw coverage leaving Golladay to face lesser defenders which will provide him with the change to shine.
His size will make him a valuable red zone weapon for the Lions and he is likely to draw some of the targets that went to Eric Ebron in 2017. Ebron was targeted 86 times and his replacement Luke Willson has never seen more than 40 targets in a season. It is easy to look at the Lions offense and find around 100 targets for Golladay in 2018. He has the talent to generate a lot of value with that volume and be a real asset for fantasy.
The early reports out of camp and comments from the team have been positive. I know this time of year most reports are positive, but I do think what the team is saying speaks to their plans to involve Golladay in the offense more after injury limited him in 2017. He has the talent and as long as he gets this chance he will earn more targets with this play.
Late Round Value
The best thing about Golladay is that he represents big upside; he is being picked towards the end of the 12th round as the 56th WR off the board according to Fantasy Football Calculator. At this price, if you hit even on a player that is usable in the flex it is a big win. Using a late round pick on a young, talented WR who has a great QB throwing the ball his way seems like an easy pick to make. Hitting on late round breakouts is the kind of thing that helps win titles, and Golladay is one of favorite targets in 2018 drafts. If I am wrong and the Lions do not utilize him at that price he is easy to move on from.
Now is the time to get in on Golladay, especially in dynasty leagues, if you miss the breakout you will need to pay up next season for his services. Get on the hype train before it is too late.