Cosell Fantasy Film: Kenny Golladay - 2019


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Cosell Fantasy Film: Kenny Golladay - 2019

In this series of articles, our resident tape wizard Greg Cosell will take an in-depth look at some of the more interesting fantasy players for the 2020 NFL season. It’s a peek behind the curtain of the film room, as these are Greg’s raw, unfiltered notes he takes as he watches a player.

One of the more under-discussed stories of the 2020 NFL season was how well Lions QB Matthew Stafford played before going down with a back injury, something that’s bothered him in two straight seasons. Coinciding with Stafford’s strong play for the first eight games of the 2019 season was a continuation of WR Kenny Golladay’s 2018 breakout season. Does the tape from the Stafford-Golladay connection show a budding #1 WR?

General Observations

  • I charted all Lions personnel and formations on Golladay’s 62 targets in the eight games with Stafford at QB.

  • Golladay almost always lined up on the outside on the ball, predominantly at boundary X but also some snaps as the field X.

  • There were many snaps in which Golladay aligned in reduced splits as the outside receiver (clearly part of the Lions pass game concepts).

  • In empty sets (which the Lions featured as a significant part of their pass game) Golladay always aligned to the twins boundary side of the formation, both in the slot and outside.

  • Golladay was predominantly the boundary X receiver in the Lions base personnel groupings and 11 personnel 1x3 sets.

  • Golladay predominantly aligned to the boundary side of the formation, but there were significant snaps to the field. Wherever he lined up, he predominantly aligned on the ball as the X receiver.

  • Golladay saw significant snaps in a reduced split both to the boundary and the field, at times to the field he was almost in a flexed TE alignment (especially running stick routes).

  • Golladay was predominantly the outside receiver (#1) in the Lions multiple formations, even when the splits were reduced.

Golladay’s Eight Games with Stafford (2019)

  • Golladay stats with Stafford: 35/640/7 (18.3 YPR, 62 targets)

  • Golladay has a big body with the size and body control to shield corners and make tough contested catches: 31-yard TD on post route versus Chargers a great example.

  • His big body allowed Golladay to work the middle of the field effectively from multiple splits, running multiple routes.

  • Size/stride length/body control/hands profile made Golladay an effective vertical dimension at times: 27 yard fade versus Chargers a good example.

  • One thing that stood out was Golladay did not consistently separate as a route runner, He made his living making tough catches with his big body and strong hands.

  • The Lions featured significant snaps of empty. They did so out of multiple personnel groupings.

  • When the Lions were in empty sets, Golladay almost always was aligned to the twins boundary at either #1 and #2.

  • Golladay is strong at the top of his route stem. That allows him to create separation at times: 21 yards versus Vikings a good example.

  • Lions used Golladay as a boundary matchup receiver to take advantage of his size/body control/hands/contested catch traits.

  • Golladay is an effective red-zone weapon because of his physical profile and combination of traits: 6-yard TD versus Chiefs and 9-yard TD versus Giants are good examples.

  • Golladay was featured with reduced splits in the red zone — this is a staple of the Lions’ tight red zone pass game.

  • When Golladay was aligned in plus splits at #1, the larger percentage of his targets came outside the numbers. He was very much an isolation route runner in the Lions’ offense.

  • When Golladay was reduced in his splits, he had a stronger tendency to work inside on his routes, between the numbers: 28 yards on shallow cross versus Raiders is a good example (but there were many good examples).

One of the preeminent NFL analysts in the country, Cosell has worked for NFL Films for over 40 years. Due to his vast knowledge of personnel and matchups based on tape study, Cosell regularly supplies us with valuable and actionable insight and intelligence that cannot be found anywhere else.