Darius Slayton was drafted by the New York Giants with a conditional fifth-round pick in 2019. After missing the first two games with a hamstring injury, he started exceeding expectations. Over the next 14 games, Slayton started establishing a noticeable rapport with fellow rookie Daniel Jones as he led NY in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, yards per catch, and receiving first downs. It’s rare for a day-three pick to turn out and even rarer for one to turn in such an impressive rookie season. Slayton even finished second on the team in both catches and targets, trailing Golden Tate by one in each category. The combination of talent and opportunity was perfect for Slayton to impress from the jump.
According to Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception series, “Slayton’s results carry similarities to Marvin Jones.” He says that “neither are great separators, but win on a handful of routes…for Slayton, it’s the nine-route and intermediate routes…The Giants need a player like this in their offense as the rest of their players are small-ball slot and flanker options.”
Slayton was the missing piece for the Giants receiving corps last year and what’s even better is they didn’t feel pressured to bring in any help at the wide receiver position in the offseason. This showed complete confidence in the guys they have right now.
Darius Slayton needs to take a step forward in 2020 to become a consistently viable fantasy option week-to-week. He may have produced team-leading stats last year, but from a fantasy perspective, he was very hit or miss. With no new competition and a full year and offseason of experience under his belt, I believe Slayton will take that next step.
Slayton’s ceiling this year is the number one wide receiver on his team, but I don’t believe Golden Tate will relinquish that spot easily. Does Slayton need team-leading targets to produce for fantasy? Not if he continues to produce as a big play-maker with a 15.4 yards per catch (20th overall) and touchdown threat (8, 8th overall).
Darius Slayton had 8 touchdown receptions in 2019 (first among rookies.) He averaged 28 yards per touchdown reception.
— David Solow (@GiantsAlliance) July 7, 2020
In the nine games that he received at least five targets, Slayton averaged almost 16.6 points per game. Over a full season, that’s 265 points on what would total 124 targets. That would have been enough for WR6 in PPR leagues. Unfortunately, I’m not projecting Slayton at his ceiling. The most likely outcome for 2020 is a reduction in touchdowns, but an increase in targets.
Slayton was a back-end WR3 at the end of 2019 on only 83 targets. He may end up being someone you aren’t happy with starting every week, but his big-play ability will make him an excellent flex option.
There’s a lot of uncertainty around Darius Slayton this year with the new coaching staff, but one thing that’s certain is that he will be on the field a ton. If he can build on last year and receiver a consistent amount of targets from Daniel Jones, he can be a solid WR3 with WR2 upside. The Giants believe in what they have at the receiver position and I’m following their lead. I have Slayton ranked as WR36 (69th overall) and he is right in the mix with a few of the highly-touted WR prospects from the 2020 draft and some lower-tier 2019 rookie breakouts in Diontae Johnson and Preston Williams.
I haven’t thrown out all of the statistics on day three receivers hitting at a much lower rate so I’m cautious, but I’m also optimistic based on the 2019 tape, his 8.91 relative athletic score and the opportunity in front of him.
What do you think about Darius Slayton this year? Hit me up @DFF_JoeMem on twitter to let me know! Be sure to sign up for the DFF monthly subscription so you can have access to my Dynasty Rankings and always be one step ahead of the competition!