Fantasy Football ADP – Draft Tee Higgins or Kenny Golladay?


(All summer, Adam Pfeifer will be putting the tightest fantasy football picks under the microscope in our ADP Decisions series.)

Fantasy football drafts are happening at a frenetic pace, as the NFL season is just six days away. This is a huge weekend for drafts, and many have questions about players ranked very close to each other. That’s where we come in. 

Our ADP Decisions series continues with a look at two immensely talented receivers in Tee Higgins and Kenny Golladay.



The case for Tee Higgins

Higgins put together a very successful rookie campaign in 2020 and was a huge reason why last year’s class was one of the best we’ve ever seen. The Clemson product caught 67 balls for 908 yards and six touchdowns, finishing as the WR28 in PPR scoring. He showcased the ability to be a team’s top receiver, possessing tremendous size (6-foot-4, 216 pounds) and ball-tracking skills. There were two games last year where Higgins played less than 25% of the snaps, which were Week 1 and Week 17. If you remove those two contests and look at the 14 games he played in full, Higgins was a borderline top-20 fantasy receiver and keep in mind that was with quarterback Joe Burrow missing the final six games of the season. Cincinnati’s offense obviously took a massive hit once Burrow suffered his season-ending injury, as did Higgins’ numbers. Using the FTN Daily splits tool, you can take a closer look.

As you can see, in the six games Higgins played without Burrow, his receiving yards per game dropped from 69.8 to 46.5. He also averaged nearly two more targets per game alongside Burrow. However, during the stretch with Burrow sidelined, Higgins was the WR40 in fantasy football, averaging just over 10.6 PPR points per game. He also only saw two end zone targets during that stretch, as the Bengals offense struggled to move the ball with Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley under center. But in the weeks where Burrow was starting for the Bengals, Higgins was the WR26 in fantasy, averaging over 13 fantasy points per game, and keep in mind that he only played 22% of the snaps in Week 1. Higgins also only had six deep targets with Burrow out of the lineup compared to a league-leading 22 during the 10 weeks alongside Burrow. With Burrow set to play Week 1, there is so much upside for Higgins and this entire Cincinnati offense. 

And look, I get it: The Bengals selected Ja’Marr Chase in the first round of the NFL Draft and while he struggled a bit during the preseason, this is still one of the best receiver prospects we’ve seen in years. He is going to be good and while his arrival could hurt the overall ceiling of Higgins for fantasy, I’m not too worried because there will be enough volume in this offense for three receivers. Before suffering his season-ending injury in Week 11, Burrow was second in the league behind only Tom Brady in pass attempts, averaging around 37 per game. I truly believe that Higgins can still be the WR1 on this team over the course of the season and is my favorite Bengals receiver to draft in fantasy. He has massive breakout potential in Year 2.

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The case for Kenny Golladay

After four productive seasons with the Lions, Golladay joins the Giants as the team’s clear No. 1 wide receiver. Golladay was one of the best downfield receivers in football during his time with Detroit and the Giants had a massive need at receiver during the offseason. Of course, they need him to stay healthy, as injuries limited Golladay to just five games last season and he is already dealing with a hamstring injury at the moment. Of course, Golladay was very productive in his five outings last season, scoring two touchdowns and recording two 100-yard games. He’s been one of the better touchdown-scoring receivers over the last few seasons and we’ll see how he performs in a new offense and with a new quarterback.

In 2020, Daniel Jones was quietly productive as a deep passer, though it wasn’t a huge sample size. Jones was top-five in football in adjusted completion percentage on passes 20 yards or more down the field, though his 43 deep attempts tied for 21st among all passers. But he showed touch on deep passes and Golladay is much better than any receiver they had a season ago. But in order for Golladay to get those deep targets, Jones will need time in the pocket, which is a massive concern. Last season, Jones was under pressure on just over 40% of his dropbacks, one of the highest marks in the league. If the Giants offensive line can improve, it will go a long way toward Golladay’s success in New York but that seems like a massive question mark right now. Of course, volume should be there for Golladay, as no other pass-catchers will warrant a ton of targets, especially if tight end Evan Engram is forced to miss time. I just worry about the overall success of this offense and under offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, the Giants will likely give the ball to Saquon Barkley 25 times per game, which isn’t exactly a bad idea. Golladay still has the talent to present top-15 upside at receiver, but he does carry plenty of risk.

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The verdict: Tee Higgins

Usually, I try to debate two players that I believe are very close. However, this one is a no-brainer for me. I cannot ignore the upside of Higgins entering year two, while the Bengals offense truly has the potential to take off with Burrow back under center. Golladay is a tremendous player, but I just believe that he and Higgins are on different trajectories at this point of their careers. 

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