Kenny Golladay is a lesser version of legendary Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. The former stands 6-foot-4 and 214 pounds, while Johnson towered over secondaries with his 6-foot-5, 237-pound frame. With that said, Golladay isn’t too far off of Johnson’s trajectory.
His rookie season in 2017 saw him post 28 receptions for 477 yards (17 YPC) and three touchdowns. Johnson snared 48 catches for 756 yards and four scores a decade earlier in 2007. The next season saw upticks for both, as both crossed the 1,000-yard mark.
Golladay, in particular, gained 1,063 yards on 70 catches for five touchdowns. This continued development has some thinking he will be a fantasy football weapon in his third season.
Sports Illustrated’s C.D. Carter argues that Golladay is the No. 1 receiver in a pass-happy Detroit offense, which means his usage will portend to big yards and points in PPR leagues.
Golladay, after seeing more than three targets in just six games during his 2017 rookie campaign, finished 2018 with 119 targets, drawing a healthy 21.25% of the Lions’ total looks. He saw at least eight targets in nine of his 15 games. No other Detroit pass catcher was particularly close in the pecking order, with Theo Riddick finishing 2018 with 74 targets, second most on the team. To be fair, Marvin Jones had 62 in nine games, missing the other seven due to injury.
Last year, he produced double-digit points in seven games. This included four in the first five games, including 15 during Week Five against Green Bay. His season high came against Carolina, as he scored 17 points off of eight catches for 113 yards and a score.
Expecting a breakout in 2019, CBS Sports says Golladay may have the most upside of any receiver by the fourth or fifth round.
Golladay has the size, speed and “my-ball” mentality to be a true No. 1 receiver in Fantasy if he can just get those types of targets. He’s entering his third year in the league, so he’s absolutely on the breakout radar. Matthew Stafford just needs to get him the ball.
Can Matt Stafford Get the Ball to Golladay?
Scout.com has Golladay just inside the top-20 receivers in the league, pegging him for No. 19 in its fantasy projections. The site argues that Matt Stafford, who suffered from back issues in 2018, may not be good enough to truly unlock Golladay’s potential.
Detroit is in the middle of the pack in terms of sacks allowed in the league. Stafford was sacked 41 times last season, as well as 84 times the two seasons before. Between tackles Taylor Decker and Ricky Wagner, Stafford should have decent-enough time to find his wideouts.
One thing that could limit both Golladay and Stafford’s production is the new approach by 1st-year offense coordinator Darrell Bevell. During Bevell’s time with Seattle, the Seahawks averaged 131.9 yards rushing, 216 yards passing and 23.99 points per game.
Those numbers suggest that Bevell is more interested in a ball-control look predicated on the run. He also likes to utilize long-developing, deep passing plays off play-action. This puts the onus on the pass blocking, as well as the success of the running game.
Detroit ranked just No. 23 in rushing yards last year. With mediocre pass blocking, underwhelming results on the ground but a continued focus on this philosophy, Golladay’s numbers may get hamstrung.