Darius Slayton Fantasy Football Outlook & Value 2020

darius slayton

Giants fans were adamant that their team take a wide receiver in this year’s draft, which had one of the deepest groups at the position in recent memory. However, the team focused on building through the trenches on both sides of the football instead. I believe this is a vote of confidence in the current wide receiver group, but most of all, in Darius Slayton. In Daniel Jones’s rookie season in New York, he developed great chemistry with Slayton as his downfield, red-zone threat. The team has plenty of pass-catchers in Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley, but Slayton is the guy I have my eyes on.

2019 Recap

RECREC YDSREC TDFPTSFPPG
48740817012.1

Despite being a 5th-round rookie last year, Slayton led all Giants wideouts in snaps at 65.76% of the team’s total plays. Eight touchdowns on just 48 catches is an astronomical rate that is likely statistically abnormal, especially since Slayton only saw six total red-zone targets (tied with Cody Latimer for 3rd on the team). Still, Slayton led the team with 15.4 yards-per-reception, and he’s the lead deep threat on this offense. It’s important to note that Golden Tate missed four games due a PED-related suspension, and Sterling Shepard missed six games due to concussion issues, but Slayton played well enough last year to secure playing time even with those two on the field.

2020 Projections

RECREC YDSREC TDFPTSFPPG
59.9910.546186.9611.68

Slayton scored a touchdown on 16.6% of his catches in 2019, which is a lofty mark and shouldn’t be expected to repeat. However, Slayton should be able to see more targets this season – I have him down for 96 targets, up from 84 last season. His high-end YPR should continue as he fills the field-stretching role for his team, and I can see him getting reasonably close to 1,000 yards as the primary wideout on this roster. Continued improvement for Daniel Jones should only help Slayton be more productive in 2020.

ADP & Auction Value

ADP: 103.9, WR44

Auction Value: $0

Slayton is currently being drafted as a later-round wide receiver, and I would instead take a player with his level of an upside than a safer option like Marvin Jones, Julian Edelman, or Emmanuel Sanders. All of them are being drafted ahead of Slayton in many leagues. In the first few rounds of a fantasy draft, I tend to be more risk-averse. Still, in the range Slayton is coming off the board, I would much rather take a player who could realistically produce 1,000+ yards and 8+ touchdowns but has some potential downside than a guy who will be a safe weekly start.

Floor

Darius Slayton’s 16-game pace as a rookie would have been good for about 55 receptions on 96 targets for 845 yards and nine touchdowns. However, it’s important to note when looking at Slayton’s floor that he benefited from some turmoil at the Giants’ skill positions. Saquon Barkley missed three games, Evan Engram missed eight games, Golden Tate missed five games, and Sterling Shepard missed six games. It’s unclear if Slayton would have been second on the team in targets had those guys remained healthy. However, Shepard has a history of concussion issues, Tate is 32, and Engram hasn’t played a full 16-game slate at any point in his career. Slayton has a clear role on this team as the only genuine deep threat and big-bodied, contested catch guy at wide receiver. There were six games that Slayton played in with both Shepard and Tate on the field, and he had a 44.6% snap rate in those games. I believe his baseline should be around 50 catches for 800 yards and five touchdowns, not earth-shattering numbers but a few big games along the way.

Ceiling

Slayton’s upside is one of the reasons I’m interested in him for fantasy football this season. My projections bake in a likely decline from Golden Tate in his age-32 season as well as a handful of missed games from Shepard due to concussion-related issues. Still, if either were to lose a prolonged amount of time, then Slayton would be even more productive. Slayton ran a 4.39-second 40-yard-dash and became a crisper route-runner as the season went on. With a full offseason to practice and improve, he should be even better in 2020, and the addition of Jason Garrett as the offensive coordinator should help him be consistently featured as a downfield threat.

New York Giants Offense

New York GiantsThe Giants ranked 18th with 21.3 points per game last season and weren’t exactly a high-octane unit under former offensive coordinator Mike Shula. New head coach Joe Judge was hired to focus on the development of young players, specifically high-upside offensive players like Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Darius Slayton. Jason Garrett should help modernize this team as the new offensive coordinator. Since first being hired as the offensive coordinator in 2007, Garrett’s Cowboys team ranked inside the top-ten in points for on seven separate occasions. This team has plenty of skill-position talent, and I currently have Daniel Jones ranked as a top-12 fantasy quarterback for this upcoming year. The Giants threw the ball the 8th-most times per game last season, which should continue as the defense should make strides but not be anywhere close to elite. I’m bullish on this team’s offensive potential.

Strength of Schedule

Unfortunately for Slayton, the beginning of the season is pretty intimidating as far as his potential to produce for fantasy goes. The Giants’ first five opponents in the Steelers (7th), Bears (4th), 49ers (12th), Rams (15th), and Cowboys (6th) all ranked in the upper half of the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to the receiver position. After that difficult stretch, though, the Giants take on the Redskins (twice) (20th), Eagles (twice) (29th), and Bucs (32nd) all over a 5-game stretch. Later games against the Bengals, Cardinals, Browns, and Seahawks should present fantasy-friendly opportunities, as they were all-middle-of-the-pack in points allowed to WRs, but none have particularly imposing pass defenses. The Giants only take on one defense after Week 5 who finished in the top ten in fantasy points allowed to WRs, but it’s the Cowboys in Week 17 when your fantasy season will likely already be finished. If you don’t land Slayton in your fantasy draft this year, look to add him midseason in a buy-low trade after that brutal stretch of games to open the year.

Bottom Line

Darius Slayton is likely not going to be a hot commodity in fantasy drafts as the public doesn’t view the Giants as being a necessarily high-octane offense after they finished just 18th in points scored. However, with one of the best late-season schedules in the league and a clear grasp on the field-stretching, downfield receiving role, Slayton should have plenty of fantasy value as the potential top target for Daniel Jones. There are plenty of factors at play here that make Slayton one of my favorite late-round sleepers this season.

2020 Fantasy Football Player Outlooks
  
There are few things I love more in this world than the sweet glory of fantasy football. It's a year round sport and championships are won and lost well before the draft. When I was 15 I put together my first fantasy league and I was hooked for life.

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