As an avid player and student of redraft and dynasty football, I am aware of the consensus of Corey Davis in the dynasty community. He remains a top dynasty asset and is coveted in many leagues. In the redraft community, his ranking is much lower and Davis is drafted often in the sixth round or later in drafts and behind more than 25 other wide receivers. This is criminal – if you can get Davis that late you will reap the rewards of a talented receiver on the cusp of WR1 status.
The Years Before Arrival
Corey Davis was as prolific as a wide receiver could be at the collegiate level at Western Michigan, amassing over 5.200 yards and 52 touchdowns in four seasons. Davis did face many smaller schools playing the Mid-American Conference yet had a few games against Big Ten opponents such as Wisconsin and Michigan State and showed well. Davis torched Michigan State’s vaunted ‘No-Fly’ pass defense in 2015 with 10 grabs for 154 yards and a score. I was able to watch many of his college games and Davis is a phenomenal wide receiver – his body control and awareness are off the charts and his hands are some of the best I have ever seen. He was drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft at pick 5 by the Tennessee Titans and the expectations were huge for Davis in the NFL.
Redraft is fantasy football at the ‘What have you done for me lately?’ level and 2017 was marred by a foot injury that immensely limited Davis and the Titans offense took a step backward overall. Marcus Mariota maintained his completion percentage of 62% yet threw 15 interceptions against 13 touchdowns. Demarco Murray regressed and Derrick Henry was effective overall, with his production skewed by several large gains that made him look more impressive. Rishard Matthews anchored the wide receiver unit when Davis was out and Delanie Walker was his typically productive self. Corey Davis started 9 games and logged 517 snaps for just over 50% of the Titan offensive snaps. He was limited by the foot injury and caught 34 balls for 375 yards without a score in the regular season. Some would say Davis ‘arrived’ in the Divisional Round of the 2017 playoffs, Davis made Malcolm Butler look like a small school cornerback catching 5 passes for 63 yards and his first two NFL touchdowns. This was only the beginning, 2018 is the arrival.
2018 and Beyond
Corey Davis is ranked anywhere from 24 to 32 in standard and PPR redraft rankings here at The Fantasy Authority. He notches rankings of 63 overall, WR34 at ESPN and 69 overall, WR28 at Yahoo. The consensus is for Davis to finish in the WR3 territory for the season, I am here to tell you why that is criminal and if you are able to grab Davis that late – the rewards for your fantasy team will be immense.
The Titans offense is a solid offense overall, the offensive line is one of the top in the NFL – ranked #5 by PFF and they added a key offensive weapon in Dion Lewis. Marcus Mariota has the keys to an offense with playmakers and a healthy Corey Davis, ready to take the step into the echelon of top NFL wide receivers. The complimentary passing options are strong and will prevent defenses to key on Davis. The Titans are also facing one of the easier schedules in 2018, particularly in the second half. The five weeks before the bye are tough but leading into your fantasy playoffs they face favorable secondaries such as Indianapolis, New York Giants, and Washington in Week 16 – the potential stumbling block is Week 14 versus the tough Jacksonville secondary.
Corey Davis has had a full season digesting the NFL game but enters 2018 with a new head coach in Mike Vrabel and a new offensive coordinator in Matt LaFleur. LaFleur is a brilliant offensive mind that will implement more play-action passing, he called play action 29% of pass plays in 2017 for the Los Angeles Rams. This, in turn, will help Mariota – who has thrived in play-action thus far- and Davis as well, creating more opportunities downfield for the huge receiver. Davis’ strength lies in his ability to high-point passes, he adjusts to the ball in the air with the best and his awareness of where he is on the field is uncanny. He isn’t just that big downfield presence or prototypical X receiver- he excels running routes and will also provide value from in the PPR formats. Davis tallied 7 or more catches in 26 of his 50 collegiate games and will learn to read defenses better as he gains more reps with Mariota.
My prediction is Corey Davis will flirt with the top-10 in scoring as a wide receiver in 2018 and the return on where you will draft him will be astounding. Davis is the perfect target if you choose to go running back heavy early and not chase the top wide receivers in the first couple rounds.
Final Prediction for 2018: 88 catches (135 targets) for 1,211 yards and 7 touchdowns