Mike Davis was one of the biggest breakout stars of fantasy football in the 2020 season with the Panthers, albeit with Christian McCaffrey succumbing to several injuries. However, he was still able to garner most of the touches out of the backfield for Carolina last year — finishing as the RB12 overall in PPR leagues as he totaled 165 carries for 642 yards and six touchdowns to go with 59 receptions for 373 yards and two more scores.
In his two seasons as offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith’s Titans ranked 10th and second in respective rushing attempts, third and second in rush yards, and second in rush touchdowns both years. The opportunities will be there for him, and Davis is more than capable once he gets the ball in his hands. Only Nick Chubb had more missed tackles per rush last year among running backs with 160+ carries — ranking fourth in total broken tackles and 14th in yards after contact. I have already pegged Davis as a breakout candidate:
The Falcons are going to run the ball more often and more effectively. Given Davis is likely to assume the starting role, it puts him in line for a breakout year. I fully expect him to record career highs in every major rushing statistic. He started 12 games for Carolina last year, rushing 165 times for 642 yards and six touchdowns. His only career-high not from the 2020 season was his yards per attempt, which was 4.6 in 2018 and 3.9 a season ago.
Davis isn’t [Derrick] Herny, but he’s no slouch himself in the realm of power backs. Henry’s 2.8 rushing yards after contact per rush is impressive, but Davis is right behind him with 2.4 rushing yards after contact per rush — both of these men fall forward a lot. Henry’s 11.1 rush attempts per broken tackle is out of this world, but again, Davis’s 7.9 rush attempts per broken tackle is a close second.
Fantasy Pros has Davis ranked as the RB26 in PPR leagues for the 2021 season, which I believe to be criminally low. I’d expect Davis to be a continued riser throughout the offseason and surely be more valuable than the likes of J.K. Dobbins, Travis Etienne, D’Andre Swift, Miles Sanders, Chase Edmonds, David Montgomery, and more due to his opportunity to be a three-down back. I have seen Davis’ ADP vary from site to site as he’s the RB23 over at Underdog Fantasy and the RB29 at Fantasy Football Calculator, but I truly believe he’s in the RB14-RB22 range. Regardless, he’s extremely undervalued at this point in the offseason.
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