Should You Start Gabe Davis vs. Patriots? Fantasy Outlook for Bills Wide Receiver

Gabe Davis has been inconsistent and unreliable all season. Can fantasy managers trust him against a tough Patriots pass defense?

This late in the season, I am as hesitant as ever to start players on Thursday Night Football. But this week is a little different because both the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots are on a normal week’s rest, with each having played on Thanksgiving.

Gabe Davis has been inconsistent and unreliable for the entire season. It’s been downright impossible to predict his spike games. Should fantasy managers roll the dice on this Thursday night being one of them?

Gabe Davis’ Fantasy Outlook Against the Patriots

Through 10 games, Davis is averaging 12.8 PPR fantasy points per game. In terms of points, that’s lower than fantasy managers were expecting when they drafted him as high as the fourth round in some instances. Overall, though, Davis has been a high WR3.

The problem with Davis is that many of us were expecting this every week set-it-and-forget-it WR2. Instead, we have an extremely volatile WR3.

Davis has been all over the place this season. He has one overall WR1 performance and three other WR1 or WR1-caliber weeks (anything over 16 fantasy points). In his other six games, he’s scored fewer than eight fantasy points five times.

MORE: Week 13 Fantasy Rest-Of-Season Rankings 

The only silver lining to Davis’ struggles is while we can’t necessarily predict the smashes, we’ve seen him be incapable of getting anything going against quality pass defenses. Three of Davis’ duds have come against the likes of the Ravens, Packers, and Jets. He doesn’t always do well against weak pass defenses, but he’s never done well against good pass defenses.

Despite their disastrous performance last week, the Patriots are a good pass defense. They allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.

Davis is currently third in the league with his 15.6 average depth of target. He’s never getting there on volume, as evidenced by his paltry 16.7% target share. There’s a reason you never see his receptions projection higher than 3.5 on Underdog Fantasy.

Davis needs the splash play. Well, the Patriots allow just a 37% completion rate on deep balls, the ninth-lowest in the league.

Should Fantasy Managers Start Davis?

Davis currently checks in at WR23 in our Week 13 wide receiver rankings. His ranking suggests he’s pretty much a must-start.

But the problem with someone like Davis is the alternative is just as important as Davis’ matchup. In a vacuum, I would prefer to sit Davis. He’s not a particularly talented receiver, despite what one game against the Chiefs in January may have suggested. Davis is just a downfield specialist who needs to catch a long one and score a touchdown to produce.

At the same time, who are you starting ahead of him? The reason Davis always ends up so high in weekly rankings is that he at least has that upside in him, whereas many other receivers don’t.

Ultimately, if you have a viable alternative, I would definitely sit Davis on Thursday night. However, that doesn’t mean going out of your way to pull him from your lineup for fringe players. Regardless of matchup, there are far worse things you can do as a fantasy manager than starting Josh Allen’s WR2.

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