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Panthers RB Mike Davis (ankle) isn't expected to play vs. the Saints this weekend, ESPN's David Newton reports. So with Davis and Christian McCaffrey out, Carolina will be down to RBs Rodney Smith and Trenton Cannon. Look for Smith to handle the bulk of the work, but the matchup vs. New Orleans' top-ranked RB defense leaves him as an uninspiring fantasy play. WR Curtis Samuel should also continue to play a significant role in the ground game after carrying 7 times for 52 yards last week.

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Scott Bair of the Falcons official site believes Mike Davis will see “200 plus carries.” “They'll use several [RBs] in the rushing attack,” Blair says, “though I think Davis ends up the workhorse.” Our current RB projections have Davis down for 205 rush attempts, so it's a reasonable take. We’ll keep an eye on Atlanta adding another RB as teams make cuts to get rosters down to 53 by 4pm Monday. For now, Qadree Ollison looks like the team’s #2 rusher.

Back before his team elected not to draft any RBs, new Falcons HC Arthur Smith said he plans a committee approach in the backfield. “We’re not going to have Derrick Henry here,” Smith told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in April. “So, it’s not like I think we’re going to have Derrick Henry. 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." Mike Davis stands as the clear leader in a group who's next most accomplished rusher is Cordarrelle Patterson. But Patterson will factor in. Atlanta signed Javian Hawkins after the draft. We'll see about Qadree Ollison. And the Falcons could still add pieces. Davis makes for a solid target in current best-ball drafting. Just beware of projecting him too many touches simply because we can't see exactly where else they would go yet.

Has any RB's fantasy outlook improved more than that of Mike Davis through draft weekend? As of this writing (late in Round 6), the Falcons have spent all of their NFL Draft picks and drafted 0 RBs. "It just didn't fall our way," GM Terry Fontenot said of their RB considerations throughout the draft, according to ESPN's Michael Rothstein. That leaves 30-year-old Cordarrelle Patterson as the next most accomplished NFL rusher (167 career carries) behind Davis on the roster, and Atlanta does list Patterson at RB. Qadree Ollison and Tony Brooks-James join them. Fontenot and HC Arthur Smith added that they'll look at undrafted free agents and consider trades, free agents and post-June 1 cuts. So we'll see if the Falcons can add someone better than Davis. He has cleared a big hurdle through draft weekend, though.

Buffalo
8:03am EDT 3/23/21

The Falcons have agreed to a 2-year, $5.5 million deal with RB Mike Davis, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a sensible signing for an offense with a weak group of RBs. Davis performed solidly in place of Christian McCaffrey with the Panthers last year, including ranking 4th on the team -- and 4th among all NFL RBs -- with 59 receptions. Davis' arrival certainly doesn't preclude Atlanta from making further backfield moves. We'll see whether that includes a pick in the NFL Draft's first 2 days.

Panthers RB Mike Davis injured a finger in the 3rd quarter of Sunday's game against the Bucs and is officially questionable to return. Stay tuned for an update.

Update: Davis returned in the 4th quarter.

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