Fantasy Watch: Darius Slayton on Monday Night Football
With week 1 upon us and many having or about to draft their beloved fantasy rosters, it is always smart to be on the lookout for potential breakout players or as most would call them, “sleepers”. While there are obvious sleepers, I always go into my fantasy drafts with the simple approach that every single team has a sleeper on their roster. It truly all depends on when to trust them and a large part of that is the matchup they will have that week.
In this case, I think the New York Giants fantasy sleeper is second-year WR Darius Slayton. Last year, Slayton probably went undrafted in most fantasy leagues but quickly became a hot commodity on the waiver wire. In the first two games of the season, Slayton did not see a single target, but as the year went on and especially when Daniel Jones took over as the starter, Slayton started to see more balls coming his way. Being that both Jones and Slayton were rookies last year, they spent a lot of time together in practice building chemistry and trust with one another.
That trust was displayed throughout the year as Daniel Jones was consistently looking Slayton’s way. Last year, in week 10 against the New York Jets, Slayton was targeted a season-high, 14 times. Of those 14 targets, he caught 10 for 121 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. Also, over the course of the 14 games that Slayton was targeted, in 6 of those, he was targeted 7 or more times.
Overall, Slayton’s rookie season numbers were as follows:
48 REC, 740 YDs, 8 TDs
Pretty impressive for a rookie. I expect Darius Slayton to come into the 2020 season with high expectations from his coaches. New Giants offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett will like to establish the run as they have one of the best running backs in the league in Saquon Barkley. If they are able to do so, that will open the passing game and allow Slayton to make big plays down the field.
In week 1 of the 2020 regular season, I see Slayton being one of the “sleepers”. They are going up against a stellar Pittsburgh defense which includes a secondary of Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Terrell Edmunds. Although many may be scared to play Slayton against this Pittsburgh defense, I would encourage it.
Now, if you have a better option at the WR position, then, of course, do that. I know many people go WR heavy in fantasy leagues and if that’s the case then stick with your lineup. But, if you are iffy about one or not sure about another and you have Slayton on your bench, I would suggest starting him for two reasons.
First, the Steelers main concern is going to be stopping the run. Pittsburgh is strong upfront, so they should have no problem going up against a weaker Giants offensive line. But, I do see the Giants using Saquon more frequently in the passing game this year. If that is the case, the Steelers linebackers will be focusing more attention on that leaving the middle of the field open for slants and other routes that favor Slayton. Secondly and most importantly, Giants WR Golden Tate is questionable for this game with a lower-body injury. If Tate does not play, that means Slayton will see more targets as Daniel Jones has built that trust with him. Their other wide receiver Sterling Shepard is more of a slot option; he typically does not make big plays down the field.
If Tate is out for week 1, Slayton will take over his short route responsibility and will be the deep threat on that night. I personally like Slayton in this matchup and I have him putting up the following numbers:
6 REC, 95 YDs, 1 TD
Fantasy Translation: 6 REC (6 PTs), 95 YDs (9.5 PTs), 1 TD (6 PTs)
Total: 21.5 Points
I am, of course, using the standard PPR (points per reception) fantasy standards when predicting those numbers.
Take the risk on Slayton on this week, I do not think he will let you down.