The building blocks of any competitive dynasty team, a consistent injection of wide receiver talent helps keep your championship window open for a long time. In a stacked class, Florida’s Kadarius Toney could be one of the better dynasty values, but it all depends on if the New York Giants’ can even support all of their receivers from a fantasy football aspect.
Kadarius Toney’s dynasty value for 2021
Part of the NFL’s beauty is the fact that it is forever evolving. Sure, sometimes it is slow and gradual, but there is progression. Go back 15 years, and there is no way you would have seen the Air Raid offense make its way into the standard play scheme. That’s also why you now see guys who were traditionally undersized carry substance into the NFL Draft because of their versatility. This is Toney.
Toney is a short-to-intermediate route specialist who routinely put defensive backs on skates while at Florida. The 5’11” senior broke out in 2020 by recording 70 receptions for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns. But that was not all, as he showcased his versatility as a rusher as well, accumulating 19 attempts for 161 yards and a score.
Given the way the modern NFL offense is run, Toney could be an offensive weapon in the hands of a creative play-caller. While some have reservations about his hands, the athletic traits are undeniable. It’s the explosive speed at which he makes precision cuts that make Toney so valuable for dynasty.
Success in the NFL is predicated on one’s ability to get yards after the catch. Few are better at this than Toney. The issue for Toney is that even though he received first-round draft capital, his landing spot raised more questions than it answered.
Kadarius Toney lands with the New York Giants
The sound you just heard on draft night was the collective “huh?,” when Roger Goodell read off Toney’s name to the Giants at pick No. 20. Sure, we knew the NFL was infatuated with Toney, but this was not a landing spot we expected. New York invested heavily in free agency when they signed Kenny Golladay to a massive contract. In addition, they have both Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard on their roster.
The big question is, whose job is in jeopardy?
It certainly won’t be Golladay. The Giants just gave him a four-year, $72 million contract in the offseason, and he is a traditional “X” receiver. A good one at that, having recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019 on 135 catches.
Since 2018, Golladay is fifth in the NFL in yards per receptions at 16.72 (minimum 120 targets), which could be a dangerous pairing with Daniel Jones’ arm strength.
Slayton is likely safe as well, as he will continue to operate on the perimeter. After a breakout 2019 season, in which the Auburn alum recorded 8 touchdowns as a rookie, he failed to replicate this production after only 3 scores in 2020. But in reality, the entire Giants’ offense struggled as the offense finished No. 31 in scoring and No. 28 in passing last season.
Toney and Slayton will be in direct competition for touches in 2021
For me, the competition for snaps comes to the slot and with Shepard. While he has found success in the slot, it’s hard to say Shepard has been an impact player for the Giants. In his five seasons, he has played in all 16 games just twice and recorded 800 yards or more once (2018) and 4 or more touchdowns just one time (2016).
Toney is a pure slot receiver, and given the draft capital, you have to believe he has the leg up. For at least the first year, I believe both players hurt each other’s snaps and production while Jason Garrett finds out how to use them both.
There is also the elephant in the room which is Jones being able to sustain all of these players from a dynasty aspect. We haven’t even touched on Evan Engram or Saquon Barkley. Those two alone account for 186 targets a season, which would be 35.9% of the targets.
Add in Golladay with at least 120 targets and Slayton’s 90 target average and that only leaves around 20-22% of the targets for Toney, Slayton, and the rest of the team. Someone has to draw the short straw at the end of the day.
It is worth noting that the Giants can move on from Shepard after the 2021 season. Although he signed a four-year, $41 million contract in 2019, the team could exercise their potential out and lose just $3 million in dead cap over the next two seasons. The job is Toney’s, but it might just take a full season for it to happen the way fantasy managers would hope to see.
Where should you draft Toney in dynasty rookie drafts?
While I have mentioned the changes to the modern game being more conducive to Toney’s skill set, that does not mean he can go wherever and have the same fantasy value. Guys like Ja’Marr Chase and Rashod Bateman have the size and traits to succeed anywhere in the NFL.
Still, Toney is a specialized player at the end of the day. He’ll never be an “X” and will really be a slot specialist in the NFL. Although that is never a bad thing as those tend to see an immense workload.
Now that we have a landing spot for Toney, his dynasty value will stabilize. Right now, he is a mid-second-round draft pick in 1QB leagues. If you are inside the first half of the draft, I could see a favorite move being Kyle Pitts or Javonte Williams in Round 1, followed by Toney in the second. Then, throw a QB or another WR in Round 3. That would be a fantastic mix of upside and balanced upgrades across your dynasty team.
In superflex formats, the positional value of QBs vaults up the draft board. All five quarterbacks (Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones) should and will go ahead of Toney, pushing him towards the back end of Round 2. All that does is make him a better value, assuming we have predicted his role on the Giants’ offense correctly.
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