One of the jobs of a good fantasy analyst is not telling readers
who to select in their drafts, but rather to provide them with as
much relevant information as possible to make sound decisions. After
all, they are YOUR fantasy teams.
Change is one of the few constants in this world and the NFL
(and fantasy football, by extension) is no different in that regard.
To that end, it is often helpful to see if we can identify when
and why a particular event took place in the previous season when
looking ahead to the next one. Unfortunately, false narratives
are often created and certain myths are embraced as fact by the
fantasy community for any number of reasons, including but not
limited to wanting the easy answer to be the right answer.
Last week, I took
a look at the AFC to see if there is there some level of truth
to the narratives and maybe even debunk some myths. This week,
I'll dive into five situations in the NFC that require more examination
since they had a dramatic effect on how last season played out
and figure to impact fantasy owners again in 2020:
Does Kenny Golladay deserve to be considered a fantasy WR1?
If so, does that mean people are sleeping on Marvin Jones?
Good luck trying to find someone who doesn't have Golladay ranked
as top-10 fantasy receiver. It's not hard to understand why considering
the 26-year-old amassed a career-high 1,190 yards and scored a
league-high 11 receiving touchdowns in his third NFL season despite
playing without Matthew Stafford for half a year. Even better,
he is entering a contract year and could easily find himself in
a significant number of negative game script situations this year.
The combination of his talent, his quarterback and likely volume
is enough to build a strong case for him to come off the board
in the top 30 picks of most fantasy drafts.
If there is a case that can be made for Golladay going that high,
then it is fair to wonder what exactly Jones has done to offend
the masses. Durability has been a bit of issue lately, but the
truth of the matter is very little has separated the two when
they've been on the field together with Stafford under center.
Here's the tale of the tape with and without Stafford the last
Golladay and Jones w/ and w/o Stafford
(1) eight games with Stafford in 2019
(2) five games without Stafford in 2019
(3) nine games with Stafford in 2018
One of the more common criticisms for Jones is his hit-or-miss
nature, which is understandable since he scored four of his nine
touchdowns last season in one game and two in another. However,
if the majority of owners work under the same expectation of a
WR3 as I do, I want a player who is consistently able to provide
double-digit fantasy points with the potential to hit big at least
two or three times per season. Last year, Jones scored at least
10 fantasy points in eight of 13 games (61.5 percent) and at least
nine fantasy points in 10 of 13 (76.9). He scored at least 19.9
fantasy points four times (30.8 percent) but was held below seven
points three times (23.1).
Golladay's biggest selling points in a debate involving Jones
are his durability and usage near the end zone (he led the league
with 13 targets inside the 10 in 2019). Using the same WR3 criteria
I laid out above - even though he is getting drafted as a WR1
this year - Golladay reached double figures in 12 of 16 games
(75 percent) and scored at least nine points 13 times (81.3).
He eclipsed 19.9 fantasy points five times (31.3 percent) but
was held below seven points three times (23.1).
Few would argue against Golladay being a stud. Given the likelihood
he is now just entering his prime at age 26 (turns 27 in November),
it might be only a matter of time before he is ready to join the
elite group of fantasy receivers. Jones is almost certainly nearing
the end of his prime years entering his age-30 season, doesn't
have the best track record for durability and is almost certain
to lose some short and intermediate work to the likes of T.J. Hockenson. But won't Golladay absorb some of that hit as well?
It's not as if all of Golladay's production comes from his work
As is the case far too often in fantasy debates, owners tend
to defend the players they like while building false narratives
for players they consider boring and/or inconsistent. Jones does
not have a flashy name and may have disappointed fantasy owners
a time or two in the past, therefore they diminish his contributions.
Even after accounting for where they are in their careers and
upside, there isn't much recent evidence to justify taking Jones
six rounds later than Golladay.
Doug Orth has written for FF Today
since 2006 and been featured in USA Today's Fantasy Football Preview
magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today's hour-long, pre-kickoff
fantasy football internet chat every Sunday in 2012-13 and appears
as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, including
Sirius XM's "Fantasy Drive". Doug is also a member of the Fantasy
Sports Writers Association.