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Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery: Kenny Golladay

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should be panicking at all about their value moving forward.

This season we'll be focusing on one dud a week. There will be two major qualifiers for this player: the player must have performed well below expectations without an injury, and the player needs to be considered a must-start in most formats.

Just two weeks ago, Kenny Golladay was thriving in a Matthew Stafford-led offense. Now, he's attempting to catch passes from Jeff Driskel. What should we make of Golladay moving forward without Stafford?

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A Light Driskel

Kenny Golladay's Week 11 stat-line: One catch for 34 yards on five targets

It's not exactly a shock that Golladay struggled in a tough matchup with Jeff Driskel throwing him passes. Driskel spread his targets out evenly among the Lions' group of pass-catchers. Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola each had five targets against Dallas. Not a single one of them eclipsed 50 yards.

Forget about Golladay for a moment. Here are the more relevant stats from Detroit's past few games:

  • Matthew Stafford in Weeks 8-9: 51 for 73, 748 yards, six touchdowns
  • Jeff Driskel in Weeks 10-11: 42 for 72, 478 yards, three touchdowns

The Lions offense was on fire in Weeks 8 and 9. Stafford was throwing haymakers at opposing defenses, and both Golladay and Jones were thriving as a result. Golladay hauled in 10 of his 15 targets over the two games for 255 yards and three touchdowns. He was on track to remain a high-end WR2 as long as Stafford was slinging passes his way.

Stafford's injury was equally devastating to fantasy owners as it was to Lions fans. Driskel is throwing basically the same amount of passes as Stafford was, but he's producing about half of the numbers. He's connected with Golladay on just four of his 14 targets since taking over as the starting quarterback. In Week 10, Driskel threw 46 passes and couldn't get a receiver over the 80 yard mark, let alone surpass 300 passing yards himself.

The prevailing rumor on Stafford is that his injury is a six-week injury, so he may be out for another month. Stafford himself has confirmed that there is no timetable for his return. The Lions are stuck with Jeff Driskel for the most important stretch of the fantasy season. That doesn't bode well for Golladay owners.

Golladay has always been a home run hitter. His big-play upside is what has made him such a great play with Stafford in the lineup. With Driskel, Golladay becomes a much, much more volatile fantasy option. The big-play ability still exists, as evidenced by his 47 yard touchdown catch in Week 10 and against Dallas last week, when Golladay's only grab was a 34 yard completion. He's become a good enough player to score touchdowns with any quarterback. It's just far more likely to happen with someone like Stafford at the helm.

As long as Driskel is under center, Golladay will simply be a boom-or-bust fantasy option. He's no longer a reliable week-to-week option. That doesn't make him unplayable. Owners lacking other sure-fire options may be inclined to stick with Golladay, and it wouldn't necessarily be a bad move. Just don't expect the same output you had with Stafford under center. He's a low floor, high ceiling play for now. He's no longer a must-start, but he remains startable. It is, however, completely reasonable to panic if you have to rely on Golladay through the fantasy playoff stretch.

Panic Meter: 4/5


Other Players to Monitor

Let's take a look at some other notable busts from Week 11:

A Slight Panic: RB Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette has put up back-to-back undesirable performances and hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 5. That's certainly not ideal from a guy who's being counted on as an RB1 by many fantasy owners.

Still, even in a game where game-flow was not remotely on Fournette's side, he hit double-digit points in PPR. His floor continues to be one of the highest in fantasy football. There's a slight cause for concern that Fournette will continue his touchdown slump, but there isn't a reason to consider benching Fournette yet. Better days are ahead.

Literally Unplayable: RB David Johnson

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Johnson was the consensus number one pick in 2017 fantasy drafts. Just two years later, he's lost his job to Kenyan Drake. Injuries have played a big part in his demise, but unfortunately for fantasy owners, you don't get to handicap Johnson's point total due to injury. Playing Johnson is a hail mary at this point. There is no reason for him to be in your lineup.


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