Three REASONS why Corey DAVIS WILL DOMINATE
- He'll get the necessary target volume
- The Titans offensive system experienced a major offseason upgrade
- He is putting in the extra work necessary to take steps forward
In redraft leagues, Davis is a bargain at his current ADP. He has another year of NFL experience under his belt and the spread-friendly system being implemented is one in which he should thrive. Draft pedigree and better integration of his skills should dictate that Davis gets a much larger share of targets in an offense that is primed to take a big step forward. With all signs pointing toward improvement, a jump in value seems quite likely as the summer wears on and the fantasy community becomes more aware of the favorable changes that have occurred in Tennessee.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR?
After being selected with the fifth-overall pick in the draft, Corey Davis was one of the few rookie wideouts that fantasy drafters expected could make an instant impact. A variety of factors prevented this from happening. Davis missed valuable experience in training camp with an injured hamstring. He then re-injured his hamstring early in the regular season and was held out for six games. The Mike Mularkey and Terry Robiskie- led system he was in also proved to be outmatched, ranking 23rd in the league in total passing yards. Davis ended the regular season with a disastrous 34 receptions for 375 yards and no touchdowns. This year, there is a greater chance that Corey Davis will be set up to succeed. A total shift in offensive philosophy and effectiveness, improvement in his own skills, and increased target volume will vault Davis to fantasy relevance.
Even though Davis’ rookie year was considered a bust, there were some signs that better days are ahead. When on the field, he was the most targeted receiver for the Titans outside of tight end Delanie Walker. From the time Davis returned from injury in week nine until week seventeen, Walker only had twelve more targets than Davis. The organizational investment in Davis is likely to continue to push his target volume up, and there should be more targets to share across the board with the offensive improvements that have been made.
One of the more exciting reasons to invest in Davis this season is that the new offensive scheme will be a better fit for both him and his quarterback, Marcus Mariota. New Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur was part of the coaching staff that took an abysmal Rams offensive attack and made it one of the best in the NFL in a single season. LaFleur has already installed a new system that will feature more modern offensive staples, such as spread, run/pass option, and play action concepts. Both Davis and Mariota played in spread systems in college, systems in which they both felt comfortable and excelled. This new philosophy will emphasize the short and intermediate passing game, the areas in which Davis naturally wins. It should also be noted that Marcus Mariota had the highest passer rating of any quarterback in the league last year (122.8) when using play action. Playing to the strengths of critical personnel should improve the unit and increase Davis’ fantasy output.
By all accounts from beat writers and observers alike, Davis continues to put his maniacal work ethic to good use, looking impressive while getting the repetitions he needs to refine his technique. In organized team activities, Davis continues to look very fluid on the field but is also getting extra time to work with Mariota after practice. He is catching balls on his own with the aid of the JUGS machine. Replacing the inexperienced Frisman Jackson and adding a more experienced wide receivers coach to the staff in Rob Moore seems to already be paying dividends. A two-time Pro Bowl receiver himself, Moore is taking his wideouts back to basics. Specifically, he’ll be working to help them improve concentration to limit drops and helping the receivers to identify the correct route to run - two issues that plagued the unit last season.
IS DRAFTING DAVIS DAFT?
Some of the factors that led to Davis’ poor rookie campaign are some of the same reasons that he could disappoint this year. The hamstring issue that caused him to miss training camp participation and play in only 11 regular season games has been one that also plagued him in his college days at Western Michigan. Additionally, he had problems with his ankle that required surgery in college. If either issue were to crop back up in the regular season, he would certainly miss time. Though he has been impressing at organized team activities, Davis has also been limited there due to an undisclosed injury, which is mildly concerning.
In the 2017 regular season, Davis was targeted five times inside the 20-yard-line and only once in the end zone. That will need to change if Davis is to meet the expectations that most owners have for him. The Titans’ playoff campaign was encouraging in this respect because Davis was targeted in the end zone twice and scored both times. Touchdowns are tricky to predict, but there is no reason to believe Corey Davis will go a second season without scoring multiple touchdowns. Positive regression is all but assured for him.
Justin Woodruff of RotoUnderworld believes Davis will improve dramatically this year:
“As Mariota will see positive regression, this will help Davis become a more efficient and productive wide receiver.”
Dom Cintorino of RotoExperts expects a big season out of Davis:
“This is a young offense that is up and coming with Matt LaFleur as a new coordinator and Davis should soon be the face of it.”
William Moy of Pro Football Focus believes a bounce back is in order:
“Davis graded as one of the ten best wide receivers in the nation every year from 2014-2016, that’s too long a stretch of dominant play to think that his performance as a rookie is what we should expect from him going forward.”