Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Update: Darius Slayton, WR NYG

Bruce Matson

Name: Darius Slayton

Position: Wide Receiver

Pro Team: New York Giants

College Team: Auburn Tigers

Draft Status: Round five, 171st overall

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

COMBINE REVIEW

  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 190 pounds
  • Arms: 32 3/4’’
  • Hands: 10’’
  • 40-Yard Dash: 4.39 seconds
  • Bench Press: 11
  • 3-Cone: 7 seconds
  • Vertical Jump: 40 1/2’’
  • Broad Jump: 135’’

STRENGTHS

  • Easily eats cushion between him and the defensive back
  • Can make defenders miss in the open field
  • Adjusts body while the ball is in the air to create separation on contested catches
  • Can run short, intermediate and deep routes
  • Has the speed to take the top off the defense
  • One of the most athletic wide receivers in this year’s draft class
  • Knows how to use his hands to fight off press coverage

WEAKNESSES

  • Drops are an issue
  • Will allow passes to get into his basket at the catch point
  • Hit or miss when it comes to tracking the ball
  • Needs to refine route running to create more separation
  • Needs to be more assertive at the top of his route
  • Thin lanky frame

OPPORTUNITIES

Dysfunctional offenses usually have a lot of ambiguity in their passing game and no one is more dysfunctional than the New York Giants. Earlier this off-season, the team shipped Odell Beckham Jr. away for pennies on the dollar. They picked up Golden Tate, but they still need to make up for the talent gap lost in the Beckham trade.

Slayton tested as one of the most athletic wide receivers at the Scouting Combine. He will give the Giants plenty of speed to help stretch the field, adding more versatility to the offense. His athleticism could get him on the field sooner than expected considering he has a skill set that can separate him from some of the other receivers on the team.

He’s already receiving practice reps with the first-team offense. The Giants are giving him the opportunity to prove himself early which could lead to him carving out a role as the team’s deep threat. This might not lead to instant fantasy relevance but could allow him to get his foot in the door to receive a larger workload later in his career.

THREATS

Draft capital is not on his side and the team could easily draft or pick up another wide receiver in free agency next year. Unless he blows up early in his career, this will always be a threat to Slayton’s long-term player value. The Giants are currently one of the worst franchises in the league. It’s hard to predict their long-term plans.

Daniel Jones is a young quarterback who isn’t exactly pro ready, and he will need some extra time to develop his game. This could affect Slayton’s quality of targets and his ability to acclimate in the offensive system. There’s a chance that Jones feels safer leaning on the veteran receivers early in his career. If this happens, Slayton could quickly fall down the pecking order and get replaced by a more talented wide receiver somewhere down the line.

Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Golden Tate could steal all the targets, preventing him from receiving enough targets to make an impact. He’s in a unique situation because he’s on one of the few teams in the league where the running back commands a large market share of the targets. Saquon Barkley saw 121 targets last year, equating to a 21 percent target share. Even if Slayton gets on the field, there might not be enough footballs to go around to make him a useable fantasy asset.

The Giants depth chart is loaded with talented gatekeepers at the wide receiver position. Corey Coleman, Cody Latimer, and Bennie Fowler are all competing for snaps and they could create problems for Slayton. Honestly, if Slayton can’t surpass the previously mentioned gatekeepers then he shouldn’t be considered a rosterable dynasty asset.

SHORT-TERM EXPECTATIONS

Like most late-round wide receiver prospects, Slayton is going to spend his first training camp fighting for a spot on the roster. He should at least make the team, but after that, he will have to figure out a way to get on the field.

Look for him to get snaps during his rookie season. He might even flash some production here and there, but it might take a year or two before he fully transitions to the NFL game. He is more than likely going to start his career as a rotational player. If given the opportunity, he should at least showcase his athleticism on a few plays.

LONG-TERM EXPECTATIONS

Establishing himself as the team’s deep threat would be the best case scenario. He would play on the perimeter of the offense and stretch the field. In this role, he might not see a lot of targets, but he would receive a lot of targets downfield, making him roster-worthy in best ball and DFS formats.

The worst-case scenario for Slayton would be getting washed out of the league. He’s a fifth-round pick and he will need to prove himself before the coaching staff gives him a chance. If he doesn’t develop within the first couple of years of his career, then he could float from team to team until he’s bounced out of the league.

NFL PLAYER COMPARISON

His playstyle and athleticism are very comparable to DJ Chark. Both players are lanky wide receivers who pack a lot of speed. Being able to stretch the defense and catch the ball downfield are their key traits. Chark is a little bit better athlete and he has more burst off the line of scrimmage, but ultimately, both players excel at getting downfield.

PROJECTED ROOKIE DRAFT RANGE

After perusing through DLF’s Rookie ADP, Slayton is falling out of the fourth round, making him an undrafted free agent in a lot of rookie drafts. He didn’t get drafted in ten four-round mock drafts, providing the notion that the dynasty industry isn’t too keen on Slayton’s talents.

MFL Rookie ADP has Slayton being drafted in the bottom of the fourth-round with an ADP of 47.63. The wide receivers who are usually being drafted before him are KeeSean Johnson, Emanuel Hall, and Preston Williams. Depending on your league, Slayton might be eligible to pick up off of waivers.

He’s currently listed at a no-lose price point. Since he’s virtually free, the only real value spent on him is a roster spot. A low sunk cost makes it easy to drop players for other prospects. You’re not going to be married to Slayton and he will be an easy cut if he doesn’t develop.

I don’t mind boom-bust players who are dirt cheap. They have their place in dynasty and it’s always good to have a few players like Slayton on your roster, especially during this time of year. You never know you might get the opportunity to cash in on the lottery ticket.

bruce matson
Latest posts by Bruce Matson (see all)