News & Analysis

Fantasy Fallout: Kenny Golladay signs with New York Giants

The surprisingly slow high-end wide receiver market was one of the biggest surprises of the 2021 NFL free agency period, but the big splash has finally happened. Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay on Saturday agreed to a four-year, $72 million deal with the New York Giants, according to Adam Schefter

More from PFF's live free-agency coverage: 

2021 NFL Free Agency LIVE Deal Grader | The 100 best available NFL free agents remaining | 2021 NFL Free Agency Tracker | PFF Improvement Index for all 32 teams | Fantasy Football Free Agency Tracker

Let’s dive into the fantasy football implications of the massive move.

KENNY GOLLADAY ALPHA STATUS

I absolutely love the addition of Kenny Golladay to Big Blue. With a lackluster supporting cast, Golladay can easily ascend to the team’s WR1 alpha chair and help Daniel Jones in the quarterback’s third season.

Most fantasy gamers are down the New York Giants’ QB, but the addition of Golladay is exactly what he needs to take his game to the next level. The big-bodied receiver ranks fourth in receiving yards on 20-plus yard throws since 2018 (1,072) and fourth in contest catch percentage since 2019 (67%).

Golladay thrives as a downfield and contested-catch receiver — two areas where Jones has shown proficiency at the NFL level. 

Per PFF’s QB Annual, Jones’ tight-window throw rate (22%) tied for fourth-highest in the league in 2020. His percentage of tight-window throws was also higher than Golladay’s old quarterback, Matthew Stafford (20%). 

Jones also impressed with his deep-ball last season. He posted the third-best grade and highest passer rating (132.5) on throws of 20-plus yards despite the Giants’ OL finishing dead last in PFF pass-blocking grade.

Contrary to the popular belief, Jones took a massive step forward in 2020 from his rookie season, increasing his PFF grade from 65.7 to 78.4 in Year 2. With the addition of Golladay, we could see Jones take a big step forward in 2021 and be a viable fantasy commodity.

Recall the third-year leap Josh Allen made with the addition of Stefon Diggs. Jones' deep ball and mobility offer similar upside paired with a true No. 1 wide receiver who plays to his strengths.

The fit is also perfect for Golladay’s outlook as a top-12 fantasy wide receiver. Just two years ago, he was a top-10 fantasy WR and the driving force behind Stafford’s MVP-level start to the 2019 season. 

In Golladay’s four healthy games last year, he averaged 16.4 fantasy points per game — 12th-best at the position. He also posted a career-high in yards per route run (2.47), which ranked seventh-best. 

Golladay is definitely a fantasy WR1 with the New York Giants in 2021. And that means we don’t have to chase Darius Slayton’s air yards into next year. 

LATE-ROUND VALUES IN DETROIT?

In Golladay’s place, the Lions added Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman, who both figure to see plenty of targets with Detroit presumably trailing often in 2021.

Both can be had in the late double-digit rounds of best ball drafts, but I wouldn’t overly pursue either if their ADPs start to creep up. Williams hasn’t caught more than 50 passes in a season since 2016.

Perriman was in a similar situation last year with the New York Jets, and that hardly worked out. The oft-injured receiver caught 30 passes for 505 yards and finished with his worst PFF receiving grade since 2017 (62.6) in 12 games.

Perriman stylistically doesn’t fit with new Lions quarterback Jared Goff, either. The veteran WR has finished his last two seasons first (18.8) and eighth (15.7) in aDOT, and Goff does not excel throwing downfield. He ranks 31st in pass-play percentage over 20 yards (9%) and 52nd out of 60 qualifying quarterbacks in aDOT (7.5) since 2019.

With targets up for grabs in this offense, the main fantasy target should still be tight end T.J. Hockenson, who has a legitimate shot to finish the year as one of the elites at the position. He could easily lead the team in total targets, which is rare to find across the barren tight end landscape.  

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