ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Kenny Golladay didn't know how any of it really worked. The Detroit Lions' rookie wide receiver didn't play fantasy football growing up -- instead sticking to the real thing in parks and streets around his home.
So his first inclination that he became a breakout fantasy option came when he returned to the locker room Sunday afternoon after his 69-yard, two-touchdown debut against the Arizona Cardinals. He checked his phone. He saw the messages. Then, he knew.
"A lot of friends said they already had me on their teams," Golladay said.
And most of those friends were now reaching out to congratulate him -- and in some cases, saying "Thanks for the 19 points."
That Golladay got 19 points in standard leagues is somewhat fitting since he wears the number 19 for the Lions and on Monday wore a chain with the number proclaimed in the middle of his chest. Golladay, of course, had no idea how many points he scored for fantasy.
All he knew is he accounted for two big touchdowns for Detroit in its opener -- both the go-ahead score and the game-sealing one.
"People texted it to me, you know, but I never played it, though," Golladay said. "So I don't know how it works."
Golladay’s 22.9 points in PPR and 18.9 points in standard leagues marked the best fantasy debut for a wide receiver since Allen Hurns in 2014, according to Tristan H. Cockcroft. It also makes him a heavy possibility for a waiver wire pickup in Week 2 considering he was available in 95.4 percent of leagues in Week 1.
Understand, too, this is only one game for him. Two touchdowns a week is not something that is a realistic expectation for a rookie. Four catches for 69 yards, though, might be a reasonable expectation depending on the week and the opponent.
A benefit for Golladay in fantasy football would be both the continued success of Matthew Stafford (292 yards, four touchdowns) and Golden Tate (12 targets, 10 catches, 107 yards). If both Stafford and Tate are on, that should open up deep threat passes for Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr., Stafford’s speedier downfield options. So at this point he would definitely be worth acquiring and, depending on the matchup, possibly putting into your lineup. But do so understanding that there will be good and bad days ahead.
For the first week, though, there was much fantasy success--– something Golladay is still getting used to. As for real football -- which translates to fantasy success -- Golladay's ceiling hasn't been established yet. Lions coach Jim Caldwell had no interest in comparing him to any other player.
"He's a guy that I think, we're a long way away from defining what he can do in this league because, you know, it's one ballgame, but I do think that he's got the right traits," Caldwell said. "He's got speed. He's got height. He's got quickness and he's got toughness. And obviously, we'll see in the long run how many big plays he can make for us and that kind of thing, but he's certainly capable.
"But I certainly wouldn't like to compare to anybody, he is who he is, and I think he's got his own strong points."