I get it, OK, I can see your eyes rolling into the back of your head, but hear me out. Separate yourself from the disappointment given the 5th overall NFL draft capital. Forget that possibility you passed on Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook or Alvin Kamara to select him in dynasty rookie drafts, that even Leonard Fournette would have been a better return on investment with that rookie pick to date.
First, let’s Compare Corey Davis’ first four seasons to another wide receiver people had high expectations for who didn’t break out on schedule for us in the dynasty community.
That’s right, Davante Adams, who just had one of the greatest wide receiver seasons in fantasy history. My man Corey Davis here didn’t have prime Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball either. The real point I’m trying to emphasize here is that some players just need a bit of time (unless that player is N’Keal Harry). So with an open mind let’s continue.
Corey Davis finally broke out to the tune of 65 receptions for 984 yards & 5 touchdowns. This was over 14 games with a measly 92 targets. Over a full season that equals 75 catches off 105 targets for 1125 yards over a full season.
In 2020 Corey Davis had some of the best efficiency metrics in the NFL. 8th in yard per target at 10.7, 4th in yard per route run at 2.67 & 6th in fantasy points per route run at .52. When you cross check the efficiency metrics with opportunity metrics, it’s apparent Davis can still deliver more raw production.
His 6.57 targets per game ranked 50th in the NFL whilst his 70.3 yards per a game ranked 19th. He was only running 26.3 routes per a game, in comparison your elite producers like Stefon Diggs and DK Metcalf ran 37 and 38 routes per a game, respectively.
For the 2020 NFL season Pro Football Focus had Davis graded out as the 11th best wide receiver, with a contested catch rate that ranked 5th in the league, whilst being graded in the 85th percentile against single coverage.
The Titans declined Davis’s 5th year option making him an unrestricted free agent. This is where things get interesting. If he stays with the Titans and is the WR2 across from AJ Brown I would view this season’s production as his floor. If still on the Titans I really see it as 1A, 1B situation.
As much of a beast as Derrick Henry has been, the NFL is a passing league and a combination of AJ Brown and Corey Davis is too talented for the passing game not to see an uptick. Especially with the way Titans’ Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has played, if the Titans are going to take another step forward they need to lean more on the passing game.
Another thing to consider is that if Davis is back with the Titans, then Jonnu Smith probably isn’t due to cap constraints. That’s another 65 Targets to spread around the offense. They can’t all go to AJ Brown and they are not going to Derrick Henry.
However & this is where it gets a little crazy. If Corey Davis moves to another team I think he can be a bonafide Wide Receiver 1 in an NFL offense. If another team goes out and pays him, it’s because they think the same. The Colts, Giants and Ravens are all teams that need a legit WR1 and all would be fantastic fits for Corey Davis.
Not knowing the Colts QB situation obviously makes this the toughest spot to predict as far as potential to produce. The Colts also have some of the most cap space in the league and might splash out for an Allen Robinson or Chris Godwin caliber of talent. But if Davis went there and they landed a QB that could approximate the production of Philip Rivers this is a situation I would be excited about.
The Giants badly need a good versatile outside wide receiver, Sterling Shepard excels in the slot and needs to be able to spend more time there. I was excited about Darius Slayton heading into this season but he’s looking like a one trick (deep threat) pony. Davis as the X receiver bumps everyone down into the role they should be in. The Giants’ cap situation isn’t fantastic and Davis wouldn’t break the bank like the aforementioned Robinson or Godwin.
The Ravens will also be tight against the cap and might see in Davis the opportunity to get a WR1 at WR2 prices. Now I hope you’re sitting down because this is where it gets a lot crazy. If Davis went to the Baltimore Ravens I think he can be to Lamar Jackson what Stefon Diggs was to Josh Allen this season. It’s an adventurous statement to be sure, but Lamar needs his version of Diggs. I truly think Corey Davis can be that guy. It’s easy to forget very few people thought Diggs would have the season he had when he initially got traded to Buffalo. Let’s look at Diggs 2019 season vs Corey Davis 2020 season.
As a number one option the assumption will be he won’t be able to handle the coverage thrown his way. However, Davis had a mini breakout in his 2018 season where he saw an insane amount of elite coverage per pro football focus. Catching 65 balls for 891 yards and 4 TD’s off only 112 targets. Davis since then has only gotten better as a football player.
If he can get into a spot that gives him 130-140 targets I think that results in 85-90 catches for 1300 yards 6-7 TD’s. In the weeds of the dynasty off season and rookie fever I think you could acquire Davis for something in the range of the 2.02.- 2.04 rookie pick in a 12 team PPR Superflex league. For a player with his floor combined with his potential upside, that is a fantastic.
Special thanks to https://www.pro-football-reference.com/ for their amazing NFL stats resource.