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Darius Slayton: A Giant Success


Is he Odell Beckham Jr.? No. But at 6’1" and 190 pounds, Darius Slayton has taken over as the outside receiver in New York.

But do we really know anything else about the rookie out of Auburn that would lead us to believe he can step up into a primary role on the Giants offense? (Hint: Yes, we do.)

Let's take a look at Slayton's best traits, his overall situation, and his upcoming opportunities to see where he fits into the fantasy football landscape for the remainder of the 2019 season.

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Touchdown Machine

We know Slayton can catch touchdowns from Daniel Jones. But considering his two scores in Week 8 against Detroit came on his only two receptions of the game, we figured it could be a fluke. When he did next to nothing against the Cowboys the following week, we seemed to be right. Then came Week 10 against the Jets.

Not only did he score two more touchdowns but he did so on 14 targets, while racking up 10 receptions and 121 yards. That stat line solidifies the connection he and Jones have. Considering both of them started the season on the second-team offense, this would make sense. They worked together consistently throughout training camp and in pre-game weekly practices.

 

Security on the Depth Chart

With Sterling Shepard back into the concussion protocol and out for an undetermined amount of time, Slayton has taken his spot in the starting lineup. In the weeks without Shepard on the field, Slayton has increased his snap share into the mid-to-high 90% range each and every week. That snap share has helped Slayton build an even better rapport with Jones.

To be fair, Slayton shouldn't be classified as the WR1 in New York. That spot belongs to Golden Tate, and rightly so. But the Giants love Slayton and even when/if Shepard returns to action, the rookie has carved out a niche for himself in the offense. His snap share should continue to hover at least in the 80% range, regardless of whether Shepard gets back out there. If Slayton can continue to build on his target share, good things will continue to be in store for him and your fantasy roster.

 

Rest Of Season Schedule

After a bye week, the Giants finish the season with a number of juicy matchups which could be easily exploitable for Jones and his wide receiving corps. Games against the hapless Redskins and Dolphins, as well as a pair of tilts against the Eagles porous secondary, ensure good matchups for Slayton.

His propensity as a deep threat means it would only take one or two catches to make his value worth the start. But if last week is a sign, he could be peppered with targets in these matchups. If that happens, Slayton could explode multiple times as your WR3 or flex.

 

The Saquon Situation

We should be concerned about Saquon Barkley, but not in the sense that Barkley is necessarily going to eat into Slayton's target share. No, we should be concerned because it appears that Barkley may have returned too early from his high ankle sprain, causing him to look a little rusty -- at least by his standards -- as of late. With only 29 total rushing yards over the past two weeks -- and just one cumulative yard on 13 carries against the Jets -- Barkley looked like a man in desperate need of this bye week.

Of course, if Barkley continues to falter, the team will be even more apt to rely on the passing game to move the offense. If he misses time for some reason beyond the bye week, this could be an even bigger boon for Slayton, as well as Tate. But even if Barkley does return fully healthy, a reasonable production level has become attainable for Slayton in what's become a surprisingly respectable offensive attack.

The Giants are inarguably a rough football team all around. There is no doubt about that. But being a bad team can lead to bigger opportunities for the passing game to flourish. If Slayton continues to get the snap count he has now, or in fact builds upon it, Shepard could find himself cut or traded away. Either way, Slayton is a great dynasty league asset with high-end WR3 potential in redraft the rest of the season.

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