The great part of the mid to late rounds of a normal 10-12 team fantasy football draft is how badly you can miss on a few picks and still be fine. How you play the waiver wire is a big contributor to your success so you can afford to take big swings on “your guys”. I don’t think that there was a league last year that I drafted in August that didn’t have Darwin Thompson on it. Another player that I was heavily invested in was Curtis Samuel. Neither one of those players lived up to the expectations that I had for them, but it didn’t matter because I built strong cores and was active on the waiver wire.
There are too many variables in fantasy football to NOT take shots on high upside guys that could be league winners. And a lot of these players have yet to prove themselves in a 16-game sample size. There’s always going to be the D.J. Chark’s and Terry McLaurin’s that you can find on the wire that literally everyone overlooks. Knowing this, I’m going to be loading up on Darius Slayton in the 9th-10th rounds of fantasy drafts this year.
Darius Slayton wasn’t talked about a lot going into the 2019 NFL draft. Although he went to Auburn, there wasn’t much that stuck out statistically to make him stand out. His Junior year he had 35 receptions and 5 touchdowns in 11 games. His 740 yards in his rookie season with the Giants was actually a higher yardage total than any of his seasons at Auburn. Even though he was a 5th round draft pick, sometimes it just comes down to fit and opportunity.
After only catching one ball during the preseason, Slayton received his opportunity in week 3 against the Buccaneers, which was also Daniel Jones’ first start. Slayton caught 3 balls for 82 yards and now he was at least part of the offense. Darius Slayton’s biggest games didn’t happen until the second half of the season. In week 10, he torched the Jets with 10 catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns. And in week 14 he caught 5 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles. He even had another multiple touchdown affair against the Lions in week 8 but there was much less volume.
A lot of you will think to yourselves that luck has a lot to do with touchdowns and there could be some truth to that, but after watching Slayton last season, I believe he’s truly a playmaker. He overcame a preseason issue of multiple dropped passes and quickly became a favorite of Daniel Jones, who is the franchise quarterback, not a stopgap. Either way, tying for the rookie lead in touchdown catches as a 5th round draft pick is an impressive feat.
Slayton saw 83 targets in his rookie year, but really wasn’t a fixture in the offense until halfway through the year. Even with the low target total, his 23 deep targets ranked 19th in the NFL. His 15.4 yards per reception was also good enough to be top 20 in the NFL. It also doesn’t hurt that the Giants were firmly in the top 10 in the NFL for passing plays per game.
I’m expecting some good things from the New York offense this year. Slayton is second Giant that I have profiled this month. We have seen the peaks and valleys of Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Evan Engram already. Slayton has every opportunity to be a break out star and a target monster. And hopefully a healthy Saquon Barkley will help this team get to the red zone often. Slayton is currently being taken around pick 100, but he’s a guy that I’m willing to reach into the 8th round for to assure that I get him on my roster. After all, if he disappoints, you can find somebody on the waiver wire to be your next cheap swing for the fence.