Gabriel Davis fantasy outlook and projection for 2022

What is Gabriel Davis' fantasy outlook and projection for 2022, and should you look to draft him at his current ADP?

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis is one of the hottest names in fantasy football this offseason. The departures of Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley opened 29.5% of last year’s targets. Should you expect Davis to breakout in 2022 with this opportunity? Let’s examine Davis’ fantasy outlook for 2022 and whether he is a value at his current ADP in fantasy football drafts.

Gabriel Davis’ fantasy outlook for 2022

The perfect storm seems to be brewing for Davis to break out in his third season, sparking what has been a non-stop discussion amongst the fantasy football community about what his value is entering 2022. Davis overtook Sanders’ starting role in the second half of 2021 and capped off his season with an unforgettable performance. He tallied eight receptions for 201 yards and four touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.

Davis’ emergence allowed the Bills to part ways with Sanders this offseason despite a productive year from the journeyman. However, Davis’ role in the regular season was inconsistent even as he earned more snaps. Only six of his 18 games played featured five or more targets.

Davis averaged 4.2 targets and about five fantasy points per game in 2021. As a vertical threat, he produced in flurries, with three games with 10 or more fantasy points and six contests with less than 5 fantasy points.

His fantasy profile is fascinating because it’s easy to justify being either bearish or bullish on what’s to come in 2022. With Sanders gone and Davis’ late-season breakout, it’s not hard to envision Davis earning the majority of the 72 targets Sanders left behind. Davis had just 63 targets, 14 of which came in the regular-season finale.

While the volume was not consistently there, a reasonable jump in more opportunities should lead to an impressive season. Davis ranked 13th in red-zone targets, converting 18 into six touchdowns on nine receptions. Sanders took 10 red-zone looks but projecting all of those to go to Davis would be overly optimistic.

A solid floor but plenty of upside for fantasy managers?

The worst-case scenario for Davis is he assumes the same role he was in already during the second half of the 2021 season. Only eight receivers with 30 or more receptions averaged more yards per catch than him.

His per-game catch rate was impressive on an individual game basis. Entering Week 17 of 2021, Davis had a 65% catch rate. Davis was credited with 14 targets and just three catches in Week 18, driving his catch rate down to 55%. Don’t be discouraged by his 21.4% catch rate in Week 18 since he had only one other week with a catch rate under 50%.

Good things happen when Buffalo targets Davis, and it’s promising that Buffalo avoided investing more into their outside receiving options besides adding fifth-rounder Khalil Shakir. But he’s also more like the whipped cream on the pie instead of the more important key features like the crust and filling.

Entering the 2022 season, Davis has a clear starting role on a passing offense that ranked No. 1 last year. The Bills lost offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and upgraded on Beasley (Jamison Crowder) and tailback (James Cook). This is a stacked depth chart with a play-calling change. Daboll’s replacement, Ken Dorsey, has been with the Bills since 2019 as the quarterbacks coach. This is his first time calling plays, but he does represent some level of continuity.

Davis should be treated as a high-variance wide receiver. He’s talented, and there’s upward mobility for him to outperform those in his draft range. But he is also a realistic regression candidate with a set of barriers that could keep him from breaking out much beyond his averages through two seasons (35 receptions, 574 yards, and 6.5 touchdowns).

How the Bills depth chart impacts Davis’ fantasy projection for the season

The rise of Davis’ stock this offseason has been extraordinarily optimistic. While talented, the Bills already have a true No. 1 star in Stefon Diggs and still prioritize targeting tight end Dawson Knox and their stable of running backs. With Crowder and Cook joining the team and Buffalo re-signing Isaiah McKenzie, it’ll be very difficult for Davis to be more than the intermediate and deep option that gets only a handful of targets each week.

Last season, the Bills attempted 655 passes and ran the ball 461 times. Of those 1,120 opportunities, 71.6% went to Diggs, Beasley, Sanders, Knox, Davis, and the running backs. Don’t forget that Josh Allen is also a rushing force, taking 122 carries and six scores from his playmakers.

The Bills ranked third in the league in total plays in 2021. Their defense should improve after a bit of a drop-off last year and the additions of Von Miller, Kaiir Elam, and a healthy Tre’Davious White. With a better defense and the loss of Daboll, it’s more likely the Bills are less potent on offense.

The depth chart is a major factor in projecting Davis’ most likely outcome. If he becomes a star, he will have completely validated his ADP rising throughout the offseason. If he doesn’t, he’ll have been a major flop. He has value in Best Ball because of the functionality of the offense, but understand the risk that he may simply be a complementary piece in a well-balanced attack.

Davis’ ADP for 2022

Davis’ ADP has been somewhat up and down during the offseason. An early offseason darling for many after a strong performance in his final game of 2021, there was the natural rebound before his ADP settled at its current level. Davis is currently coming off the board 75th overall as the WR30.

Despite the early hype, Davis now appears to be somewhat of a value. PFN’s consensus 2022 PPR fantasy rankings have Davis as the WR25 at 62nd overall. There is no lack of opportunity or talent for Davis, the concern really comes with his potential consistency in his role.

With the likes of McKenzie and Crowder running underneath routes, Diggs as the main target in the offense, and Knox a red-zone weapon, will Davis be able to provide consistently enough? There will certainly be good weeks, but will he be the second coming of Tyler Lockett — a player that ends with a fantastic overall points total, but knowing whether to start him week to week is impossible?

That is where you need to know your team before drafting Davis. If you have solid floor options around him, then his upside each week is a wonderful asset. But if you have taken early risks, adding another potential headache to your roster may not be the smartest move.

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