Is Mike Davis a Trap?
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Mike Davis, RB, Falcons
What You Need to Know:
- Davis earned the Panthers' #2 job behind Christian McCaffrey last summer. With CMC playing only 3 games, Davis rolled up career highs in carries (165), yards (642) and TDs (6). The same held true in the receiving game with a 59-373-2 line.
- He wasn’t efficient, though, averaging just 3.9 yards per carry.
- Davis declined down the stretch. After posting 4.2 yards per carry over the first 8 games, he tallied just 3.6 over his final 7. He saw his targets drop by 1.5 per game.
- Davis missed Week 17 with a minor ankle injury.
- Overall, Davis showed spurts of excelling as a lead back. He averaged nearly 3 yards after contract per attempt — a solid mark. Davis also ranked 3rd among 47 RBs with 100+ attempts in Pro Football Focus’ Elusive Rating.
- He wasn’t dynamic on a per-catch basis, averaging just 6.3 yards per reception. He sat 14th among 28 RBs with 40+ targets in yards per route run; 19th in yards after catch per reception. Nothing special.
- Atlanta signed Davis to a 2-year deal worth $5.5 million in March.
-The Falcons ranked 22nd in PFF’s run-blocking grades last year — 3 spots behind the Panthers. Expect some improvement from this young line.
- Atlanta’s top-3 ball-carriers from 2020 all departed this offseason. Todd Gurley, Brian Hill and Ito Smith leave behind 358 carries (plus 91 targets).
- Atlanta didn't draft a back, instead opting for UDFAs Javian Hawkins and Caleb Huntley. Cordarrelle Patterson arrived as a versatile RB/WR chess piece. But none of the 3 project as major factors.
- Here are the offseason words of new HC Arthur Smith, former OC for the Titans: “The reality is that we’ll get multiple backs in here, and we’ll have the way we trust our schemes and the way we teach the details of it, and we’ll commit to it.”
- In May, RB coach Desmond Kitchings said “the door is wide open” for any RB to take over the backfield. But with unproven guys like Qadree Ollison and Tony Brooks-James (plus the rookies) pushing for snaps, Davis will at least head to camp as the clear favorite for touches.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
Davis is a 28-year-old back set to play for his 5th team in 7 seasons. Before tallying 165 carries last year, he compiled 247 totes over his first 5 seasons.
So he doesn’t fit the typical profile of a sure-fire lead back. Yet that’s the role he’s the favorite to land with help from a thin depth chart.
Perhaps stiffer backfield competition arrives in the coming months. But for now, Davis profiles as a volume-based RB2 for a solid Atlanta offense — even without Julio Jones. He does come with elevated risk considering his spotty history. We're generally not looking at him until the 5th round of fantasy drafts.