Kenny Golladay was the last remaining blue-chip wide receiver available in free agency, but he finally found a new home on Saturday.
Former Lions’ WR Kenny Golladay reached agreement with the New York Giants, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 20, 2021
Kenny Golladay Career Receiving Stats
Golladay appeared in just five games in 2020 as it was largely a throwaway season for the 2017 third-rounder. Golladay missed the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury and then left Week 8 with a quad injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
With 4.0 receptions per game, Golladay has now averaged fewer than 5.0 receptions per game in each of his four seasons in the league, but he has never needed a ton of volume to make his mark. Golladay has only received double-digit targets in six career games, but he still managed to show his upside in 2020 with 16.9 yards per reception and a career-high 10.6 yards per target.
Since entering the league in 2017, Golladay’s 18.3 yards per reception are the most of any player in the league with 100 or more targets while his 10.3 yards per target rank 10th among the same group. 77.0% of Golladay’s career receptions have resulted in a first down, which ranks seventh since entering the league in that same field.
Golladay immediately aids a Giants roster that ranked tied for last in the NFL in touchdown passes (12), 28th in yards per passing play (5.4), and 29th in yards per completion (9.4).
Making his money as a downfield target in Detroit, 33.9% of Golladay’s career targets have come on throws over 15 yards downfield, which ranks 10th in the league since 2017 among active players.
Despite Daniel Jones’s shortcoming and step backward in 2020 compared to 2019, the one area where he did perform well was when he threw the ball downfield. Jones was actually second in the NFL in completion rate on throws over 15 yards downfield at 56.1% (37-of-66) among all passers with 50-plus such attempts. The league average was 43.8%. This compared to a 63.9% completion rate on throws within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, which ranked 38th in the league. The league average in that department was 70.3%.
The downside was that despite Jones having strong success downfield, just 15.8% of his pass attempts came on those downfield targets, which ranked 32nd out of the 44 passers in the league last season to throw 100 or more passes. Josh Hermsmeyer has shown that depth of target belongs more to the receiver than the quarterback so giving Golladay a hefty $40M guaranteed money is a signal that there will be more downfield passing in New York in 2021.
After a 5.2% touchdown rate as a rookie, Jones posted just a 2.5% rate in 2020 and threw 8.6 touchdown passes below his expectation, which trailed only Teddy Bridgewater and Cam Newton. Golladay is not a major separator, but he gives Jones his first legitimate downfield clasher and contested-catch maven, something the young quarterback has not had through two seasons despite being a passer that has shown he is willing to throw into tight windows.
Jones ranked 13th in the NFL in aggressive throw percentage (17.6%) in 2020 per Next Gen Stats after ranking third in 2019 as a rookie at 22.4%. Those aggressive attempts are defined as where there is a defender within one yard or less of the receiver at the time of completion or incompletion. In Golladay’s last full season in 2019, he averaged just 1.9 yards of separation per target, which was the lowest of all qualifying wide receivers.
Giving Jones Golladay while still having Sterling Shepard, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Darius Slayton puts the pressure on Jones to step up in his third season. They also added Kyle Rudolph and hold significant draft capital this April to add to the offensive weaponry.
From a fantasy stance, Golladay has been a WR3 or better on a per-game basis in each of the past three seasons. Even playing with Matthew Stafford, Golladay was a high variance wideout due to how he wins. In 36 games over the past three seasons, Golladay had 10 WR1 scoring weeks, but also 13 as a WR4 or lower. Transitioning from Matthew Stafford to Jones, Golladay does take a downgrade at quarterback, but the type of receiver and the way he accrues fantasy points remains the same. We also have a sample of Golladay playing without Stafford, when the veteran passer missed the final eight games of 2019, leaving Golladay to play with Jeff Driskel and David Blough. Over that span, we saw Golladay’s per game per game output to date that season dip, but he still paced for a 60-1,100-8 line on 108 targets over those eight games.
While he does not have fringe-WR1 appeal in the move to New York like he had in Detroit, Golladay is still a high-variance WR2 option that gets the types of targets that carry fantasy weight. Even attached to Jones, Golladay is someone that should not slide past the lower-end WR2 range.