Identifying breakouts and hitching yourself to them is imperative to creating sustained fantasy success. In this article, we’ll take a look at Buffalo Bills’ exciting sophomore receiver Gabriel Davis and ask ourselves the question, is Gabriel Davis breakout bound?
The former UCF standout made a strong impression during his rookie campaign after being selected 128th overall in 2020. In part due to John Brown’s injury issues, Davis started 11 games as a rookie and posted the following totals.
Among those totals, Davis’ aDOT stands out and explains how he finished 7th in the NFL in yards per reception with 17.1. As he continues to develop, Davis should see his role expand in the Bills’ potent passing attack.
Looking ahead to 2021, there are several tailwinds for Davis that could lead to a sizable increase in his dynasty value.
Starting with the biggest, the Bills are unlikely to retain soon to be 31-year old John Brown. When that comes to fruition, Davis will take on a full-time role in the Bills steadily improving offense. During the 2020 regular season, the Bills ran a total of 738 plays (72%) utilizing 11 personnel (3 WR). That clip was good for fourth most in the NFL and given the success they enjoyed, should remain similar (or increase) in 2021. Logically, an increase in playing time and opportunity will lead to a higher statistical output for Davis and thus, more fantasy production.
Second, the vast majority of rookies take a step forward in their second season. Assuming Davis is not an anomaly, we can expect his game to improve as he enters his age 22 season. Additionally, the Bills coaching staff will have a better understanding of Davis’ strengths and how they can most effectively combine them with Josh Allen’s. Finally, Allen’s ascension to an elite quarterback ensures that there will be plenty of opportunity for receivers not named Stefon Diggs to make an impact. This is supported by Cole Beasley’s WR 26 finish at the ripe age of 31 last season.
Finally, Davis passed the eye test last season and looked like a legitimate NFL receiver. His 7 receiving touchdowns were tied for the 2nd most among rookie receivers and he has the skill set to be a primary red zone weapon for the Bills. Add in the big-play ability he consistently displayed and it’s hard to be down on Davis’ 2021 prospects.
So what are reasonable expectations for Davis as he enters his sophomore season in the NFL? With Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley still in town, it’s unlikely Davis becomes a WR 2 this season. Instead, Davis emerging as a high-end WR 4 or low-end WR 3 is a much more plausible scenario. If this occurs, he’ll experience a significant boost in his dynasty stock with plenty of runway ahead in his career. We’re in the early innings of his fantasy ascension.
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