Cordarrelle Patterson or Mike Davis Start/Sit Week 18: Should you avoid them entirely?

If you made it to your title game with Cordarrelle Patterson or Mike Davis on your fantasy roster, you should consider yourself lucky.

The Atlanta Falcons have been fun to watch this season. Well, only if you define “fun” as “extremely painful from a fantasy football standpoint.” They have been without their star WR Calvin Ridley since Week 5 and have seen a star both rise and fall in RB Cordarrelle Patterson. Now that your whole season is on the line, which Patterson will show up, and should you start him? Can Mike Davis help your fantasy team from the flex position?

Should you avoid either Cordarrelle Patterson or Mike Davis in Week 18?

Patterson is one of the strangest stories in all of fantasy this season. He was practically undrafted in August. After Week 2, he became a must-start. That kind of meteoric rise just doesn’t happen that often, so it was fun to see it in real time.

He started the season pretty slow, only getting 67 total yards in Week 1. But in Week 2, Patterson turned on the jets. He started a streak of seven straight weeks scoring over 10 PPR points. That streak ended in Week 10 (4.9 PPR points), but he went right back to dominating in Weeks 12-14.

That’s when the wheels fell off. He scored a meager 4.3 points in Week 15, costing many fantasy managers to lose their playoff matchups. If you were lucky enough to survive or have a bye week, he only scored 8.3 in Week 16. He followed that up with a mediocre 7.2 points in Week 17.

For the year, Patterson is the RB7 in PPR scoring with 232.4 points. However, he’s RB14 in points per game with 15.5. Given how his last few games have gone, Patterson’s not exactly someone I feel confident in at the moment.

Mike Davis isn’t doing much better

Patterson’s teammate, Mike Davis, is also frustrating to watch from a fantasy standpoint this year. In PPR scoring, he’s only crossed the 10-point threshold nine times, never once going above 16.9 points. Davis has been much quieter, both on the field and in fantasy, but he’s been a solid flex option in some places.

Over the last three weeks of Patterson struggling, so did Davis. He scored 2.1 PPR points in Week 15, 4.5 in Week 16, and 12.7 last week (due to a rushing touchdown). Scoring touchdowns is hard to predict — and even more so for Davis. He’s only scored 4 touchdowns on the year compared to Patterson’s 11.

A few other stats show a similar picture. Davis has 132 rushes to Patterson’s 149. He has 473 rushing yards to Patterson’s 607; and 261 receiving yards to Patterson’s 547. Davis just hasn’t been used as much as his teammate. When he has, he’s not exactly lighting things up.

The Falcons face the Saints on Sunday

Zooming out slightly shows us more information. On the year, the Falcons are 30th in rushing yards as a team. They’re 27th in both rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns. This just isn’t a team that leans on the run or does well when they do. And, unfortunately, the Saints are solid against the run.

The Saints are tough to run against

Comparing the Falcons’ rushing offense to the Saints’ rushing defense feels too easy, but we’re going to do it anyway. New Orleans’ defense is fourth-best in rushing yards allowed and fifth-best in rushing touchdowns allowed.

Since these two are divisional rivals, we can also look at their previous game this year to help paint the picture. In Week 9, the Saints held the Falcons to a pitiful 34 yards rushing. Patterson had 10 of them and did his damage more through the air. He caught all 6 targets for a whopping 126 receiving yards. That’s entirely possible again, but boy is that hard to bank on in a fantasy title game.

Are either Davis or Patterson fantasy starters in Week 18?

If we just look at the last three weeks alone, it’s hard to recommend that either should make your starting lineup. Neither back has been all that exciting. Yet, given that this is a division game and the last one of the year, some of the stats get thrown out the window.

If you have to start one of the two, you’re clearly starting Patterson. It might hurt, but what can you do? You’ve come this far weathering his bad weeks throughout the playoffs. There’s practically no way I’m risking Davis this week, though. He just isn’t good enough out of the backfield to be anything but a wild play in DFS. If you want to be risky, go for it. But I’m trying real hard to avoid playing either option on Sunday.

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