Fresh off a successful rookie campaign in 2020, Buffalo Bills WR Gabriel Davis quickly established himself as a serious threat to score at any opportunity. Now heading into Year 2 but still under the radar of most, can Davis build on his early success, or does his fantasy football outlook suggest his ADP could be rising too quickly?
Gabriel Davis’ fantasy outlook for 2021
Making the leap from the Bounce House to Orchard Park came all too easily for Davis. As a rookie, Davis posted 35 receptions on 62 targets for 599 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was on the field more than many expected, largely aided by the injury to John Brown. As a result, Davis played on 73% of the snaps, including 88% over the final six weeks.
He also brings something that was desperately needed on the offense — size. While 6’2″ is not tall compared to most teams, when the other guys on your team are Stefon Diggs (6′), John Brown (5’11”), and Cole Beasley (5’8″), that stands above the rest — literally. It is one of the reasons Davis saw 12 end zone targets, which is one more than Davante Adams had and more than any other rookie receiver.
Davis is both a red zone target and a field stretcher for the Bills, finishing the season with a 15.2 aDOT (average depth of target). While he finished as the WR56, Davis was the WR44 from Weeks 9-17, which included the Bills’ bye week and a game in which he had no receptions. This stretch also includes four games in which Davis had 68+ yards receiving and was a WR22 or better.
Davis was already in the mix for the WR3 role on the offense but could become the WR2 even with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders. He was already one of my favorite fantasy sleepers for 2021, and all the recent news has done is shoot Davis’ fantasy outlook ever higher.
It’s pretty clear I am relatively bullish on Davis, but it’s hard to ignore the fantasy points that came off touchdowns. Of players that had at least 60 targets, Davis had the fourth-highest touchdown percentage at 11.29%. For comparison, Diggs, who saw 104 more targets, only recorded 7 touchdowns (4.82%). Unless Davis is the next A.J. Brown, this will regress to the mean.
What will help to counteract this will be the increased target share in 2021. In the game where Brown was out, Davis averaged 5.4 targets per game compared to the 2.6 with him in the lineup. That’s 94 targets on a 17-game pace.
I expect the Bills’ offense to be more or less the same as it was in 2020. They run to set up the pass, as head coach Sean McDermott once pointed out. You don’t win the AFC East for the first time since 1995 and change things up.
Targets will be available
I do expect to see Sanders get his fair share of targets, but at 34 years old, they will have to monitor his snap count. Last year, Sanders played on 65% or more of the snaps just five times while averaging 52% over the season.
My projections, while early, do have Beasley still accounted for because he is still on the team. However, should something happen, they will be adjusted, and Davis will benefit immensely, as would Isaiah McKenzie.
Currently, I have Davis projected for around 80 targets with 50 receptions for 840 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Gabriel Davis’ fantasy ADP
According to Sleeper, Davis is currently being selected with an ADP of 197.8 in half PPR formats. However, according to NFC (a high-stakes fantasy platform), Davis has an ADP of 159.2. His ADP in half PPR formats on Fleaflicker sits in between at 184.
Should you draft Davis in 2021 for fantasy?
The best advice I could ever give to someone in the draft is to enter it with several game plans. If you go in expecting one result and it goes awry, the tilt sets in quickly. With that said, Davis is an autopick for me in the later round of fantasy drafts. There are some players who I will reach a round early for to ensure I get my guy, and Davis is one of them.
Once managers have their starting rosters filled out, ADP at times can get thrown out the window. I have no issue taking Davis a bit earlier than his WR67 ADP to make sure I land him on my roster.
Davis has a relatively clear path to targets on one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and has already established himself as a critical target in the red zone. You will struggle to find players with a better fantasy outlook to fill your roster when Davis is coming off boards at his current ADP.