Buying Before The Breakout: Darius Slayton
If you have followed me on twitter for any sort of time you know my love for Darius Slayton. Drafted in the 5th round of the 2019 draft, Slayton had a mini breakout last year with 48 receptions, 740 yards, and 8 TD’s in 14 games. The 8 TD’s are an outlier, however, he managed to catch 2 TD’s on 3 different occasions last year. I think that is a testament to his upside. At WR39, going in the 9th round, his risk is built into the ADP that makes him worth it.
Let’s break it down
When examining Slayton, we need to discuss Daniel Jones and the offense. Jones had 12 games as a starter last year and threw at least 1 TD and 31 attempts in every game. On top of this, he had 5 games of 40+ attempts. The volume is there. If you pace out his passing numbers to 16 games, he would’ve finished the season with 4,300 yards, 35’s TD’s and 17 INT’s. This doesn’t include the ludicrous amount of fumbles he had that quickly ended drives. That is plenty of opportunity to support multiple offensive pieces.
New offensive coordinator Jason Garrett gave Dak Prescott 30+ attempts in 14 games and 40+ attempts in 7 of those. Overall, Prescott finished 6th in pass attempts in the league while managing to give Elliott 301 carries. Looking at Prescott’s first 4 years in the NFL saw him finish 23rd, 16th, 13th, and 6th in pass attempts. While this Giants offense may not be the 2019 Cowboys, there is a probable outcome that Daniel Jones will be top 15 in pass attempts in 2020.
From weeks 6-17, Slayton had 9 games of playing at least 80% of snaps with Jones. In those weeks he had 58 targets, 32 receptions, 408 yards, and 5 TD’s. A 16 game pace of 103 targets, 57 receptions, 725 yards, and 9 TD’s. These numbers won’t “WOW” you but there is definitely something to take from this.
At 6.4 targets a game, there was plenty of opportunity for Slayton to do damage. His best games with Daniel Jones included: 14 targets, 10 receptions, 121 yards and 2 TD’s & 8 targets, 5 receptions 154 yards, and 2 TD’s. Very rarely do we get to see a WR’s true upside in their rookie season.
Slayton, Tate, Shepard, and Jones only saw the field together in weeks 12 and 17. Regardless, Slayton still managed 7 and 9 targets respectively. In Slayton’s last 5 games as a starter, excluding the week 15/16 injury, he was seeing over 9 targets a game. Like most rookies, it took him a while to become acclimated in the system but talent always prevails.
The last thing I will leave you with is Slayton’s profile on Reception Perception. As a rookie, Daniel Jones averaged 4.3 deep attempts per game, which was 18th in the NFL. Slayton saw a 60.7% success rate on Go routes while receiving 22% of his targets on that route. Slayton is a big play WR and is given the opportunity on his best route. If you need convincing, go watch week 8 vs the Detroit Lions. Slayton out-muscled his opponent TWICE for jump ball touchdowns. The man looked impressive.
The natural progression of a 2nd year player, paired with an improved coaching staff, puts Slayton in a position to breakout and become a fantasy stud in 2020. At 6’1 and 4.39 40, Slayton is ready to make big plays for New York.