Kenny Golladay had one of the best fantasy season of any wide receiver last year but it is possible his 2020 season could much better.
Let’s play some trivia that is totally not given away by the title of this article and the picture located a little bit above this sentence.
Question 1: Of the top ten receivers in yardage, how many had less than 70 receptions.
Question 2: Of those same receivers, how many caught double-digit touchdowns?
Question 3: Of those same receivers, how many had to catch passes for half of the year from quarterbacks that averaged 208 yards and one touchdown per game?
If you somehow managed to get this far in the article without reading the headline or looking at the picture, you may not realize that the answer to each of those questions is Kenny Golladay.
The fourth-year wide receiver is one of the most underrated superstars at the position.
The fantasy community is valuing Golladay fairly. He finished as the WR8 in PPR leagues last year and currently has an ADP of WR8.
The question surrounding Golladay is not whether you should draft him; you definitely should draft him. The question is how good he can be for your fantasy team.
Does he have the ability to be a top-five wide receiver? Top-three? WR1? Or has he already hit his ceiling and has maximized his potential as a top-10 guy?
Golladay’s 2019 Season
As mentioned earlier in this article, Golladay had some impressive statistical feats last season. He played all 16 games and finished with 65 receptions for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns.
His 11 touchdown receptions were the most in the league, while his yardage was good for seventh in the league. He racked up those totals despite having the 42nd-most receptions on 116 targets, the 25th-most.
Golladay experienced success in two very important areas: near the goal line and deep downfield. Six of his touchdowns came on plays inside the 10-yard line; the other five all came on plays over 30 yards.
The Lions really relied on Golladay when they got close to the end zone. He was targeted 25 percent of the time inside the 20-yard line and over 34 percent of the time inside the 10-yard line.
Golladay led the NFL in targets inside the 10 with 13. He caught 7 of those targets, the second-most in the NFL.
Golladay complemented his elite goal line production with the ability to dominate on deep passes.
He established himself as one of the game’s best downfield threats, averaging 18.3 yards per reception, third-most in the NFL. He also had an average depth of target of 14.6 yards downfield and racked up 886 yards before the catch.
The most impressive part of Golladay’s 2019 season might be the fact that he was able to rack up those numbers despite who was throwing him the ball for half the season.
Detroit had David Blough and Jeff Driskel under center for the second half of the 2019 season. Blough was in his rookie season after a decent career at Purdue. Driskel was coming off a rookie year where he went 1-4 with just over 1,000 yards in five starts with the Bengals.
Those two signal callers combined for 1,669 yards, eight touchdowns, and 10 interceptions while losing every game.
The Matt Stafford Effect
Fortunately for Golladay, he should have much better quarterback play to rely on this season.
Stafford should be back under center for the Lions after missing the last eight games of the 2019 season. It was the first time since 2010 that he did not start all 16 games in a season.
Stafford was having one of the best seasons of his career before a back injury cut his season short. He was on pace to throw for 4,998 yards and 38 touchdowns, both second-most in his career, while throwing just 10 interceptions, tied for best in his career.
Golladay greatly benefited from having Stafford throwing him the ball during the first half of the season.
He averaged 17.4 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues over that stretch, making him the WR11 but having the ninth-most points per game. He was the WR16 over the second half of the season but averaged just 13.6 points per game, the 25th-most.
Golladay’s stats with Stafford throwing him the ball were 35 receptions for 640 yards and seven touchdowns. That gives him a 16-game pace of 70 receptions for 1,280 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Those numbers would have made Golladay the WR2 in PPR leagues last year with 280 points, finishing behind only Michael Thomas and his historic season.
If 14 touchdowns seems a bit unrealistic, just 58 players have accomplished that in NFL history, here are the fantasy finishes for Golladay with different touchdown totals.
11 touchdowns: 262 points, WR6
12 touchdowns: 268 points, WR6
13 touchdowns: 274 points, WR4
Fantasy Upside For Golladay in 2020
This is going to be the year that Golladay firmly establishes himself as a top-tier fantasy wide receiver.
He was a top-10 guy in 2019 despite poor quarterback play for half the season. No other receiver being drafted in the top 10 of the position is getting as much of an improvement at quarterback, so the room for improvement is there for Golladay.
He is one of the safest options outside of the truly elite at the position. Barring injury, Golladay should not finish any lower than 10th. His ability to score touchdowns also gives him the possibility to have a productive fantasy week even on an off game.
Stafford’s brief stint on the COVID-19 list gave a slight scare to Golladay’s fantasy value, but as long as Stafford remains healthy both players should have a productive season.
Golladay’s ceiling is a top-five finish catching passes from the 2019 first half version of Stafford. His floor is still a top-10 receiver even if Stafford struggles or the backups have to step in again.