Detroit Lions wide receiver, Golden Tate, had a golden 2014 season, but don’t expect him to match those numbers in 2015. After spending four years in a run-heavy Seattle offense, the Notre Dame product put up career numbers across the board. Tate had season highs in targets, receptions and yards not just from his smooth hands, but most notably because of a banged up Calvin Johnson.
Johnson suffered a high ankle sprain in week five and missed the subsequent three weeks. During that time, Tate dazzled, catching seven or more balls in each game and becoming fantasy’s number three wide receiver. However, when Johnson returned in week 10, Tate’s production petered out. In the final eight games of the regular season, Tate recorded seven or more catches just three times and reached the end zone once. At the conclusion of the 2014 fantasy year, Tate and Johnson finished as the number 13 and 14 receivers respectively.
Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford was really the guilty party. Instead of trying to spread the ball out when Megatron returned, he forgot all about Tate and his performance suffered because of it. Johnson turns 30 in September and is back to full health and participating fully in all team activities. That should be good news for a team that saw it’s total offensive ranking drop from 6th in 2013 to 19th in 2014, but the team’s success rests on the shoulders of Stafford.
Unfortunately, a healthy Johnson also spells bad news for Tate owners. Tate’s value is indirectly correlated to Johnson’s health and his value will be capped for as long as Megatron is on the field. Tate’s average draft position is currently mid-6th round as a WR2/Flex. His small frame relegates him to the slot position, which doesn’t typically get many touchdown looks. Tate will need to dominate after the catch again in 2015, if he is to garner any fantasy relevance.