Davante Adams Could Easily Be the Top Fantasy Football Wide Receiver This Year
The Green Bay Packers' decision to largely ignore their receiving corps during the off-season was seen as mostly bad news for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The same can be said about the team's decision to draft what appears to be his eventual successor in Jordan Love. But while the lack of additional weapons is not exactly a boom to Rodgers in the coming season, it is great news for Davante Adams.
Indeed, Adams' role in the Packers passing game and the lack of serious competition for targets could see him finish the 2020 season as the leading wide receiver in fantasy football.
New Season, No New Faces
The Packers' passing offense was not at its best in 2019. They finished 17th in passing yards with 3,733, at an average of 233.3 per game. According to our metrics, they were the 13th-most efficient unit on a per play basis -- averaging 0.14 Adjusted Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play.
This leaves Adams atop the Packers depth chart, and in line to keep up the workload he has shouldered over the last few seasons. Since the 2016 season, Adams has averaged 9.4 targets and 6.0 receptions per game. These are the seventh-highest marks among all wide receivers during that span. However, last season, Adams commanded a truly elite-level workload.
Adams was one of only three wide receivers to receive at least 30% of his team's targets in 2019, with his 10.6 looks per contest amounting to a 30.1% share of the Packers passing game. Opportunity and volume are the true drivers of fantasy football, and the likelihood of Adams receiving a similar load in 2020 should have his fantasy drafters salivating at the prospect.
Competition -- What Competition?
Adams won't be able to command every target, of course. And to be critical of him for a moment, he has not been the "most" efficient receiver for the Packers over the last few years.
Indeed, both Allen Lazard (10.39) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (8.47) have produced more adjusted yards per attempt for Aaron Rodgers in their careers than Adams. However, Adams' 8.21 AYA is still nothing to be sniffed at, and those two other players have not come close to matching Adams in terms of workload since 2016. Plus, as we saw last season, they did not see the field quite as often as Adams.
For Adams, those numbers are since 2016. While Lazard played at least 75% of snaps in each of his final three games last year -- commanding 20 targets in the process -- having someone who can pry attention away from Adams is far from a bad thing.
Red Zone Prowess
Simply soaking up targets is not what Adams is all about. Not at all.
While we all want players to see as many targets as possible all over the field, players commanding looks in the scoring areas are worth their weight in gold. Here, Adams is worth an awful lot of gold.
Since 2015, Adams has seen 113 targets inside the red zone and has scored 33 touchdowns inside the opposition's 20-yard line. Both of these figures lead all wide receivers. In 2019, Adams commanded almost 40% of the Packers' red-zone targets.
A look at Adams' red zone production over the last four seasons will show that 2019 was an outlier.
|RZ Touchdown Rate||39.13%||30.43%||38.71%||17.39%|
|RZ Rec NEP/rec||1.41||1.70||1.96||1.16|
|RZ Target NEP/target||0.61||0.83||0.65||0.55|
|RZ Rec NEP/target||0.86||1.11||1.01||0.80|
|RZ Rec Success Rate||71.43%||86.67%||100%||87.50%|
|RZ Target Success Rate||43.48%||56.52%||51.61%||60.87%|
Adams' per-reception efficiency metrics last year were worse than what he had posted in the previous three campaigns. Additionally, his touchdown rate dropped significantly.
Given the volume of targets he's garnering in that area of the field, positive touchdown regression is almost certainly in order.
While we should be hoping for more of the same for Adams in most categories, an increase in touchdowns would be just what the doctor ordered. Last season, Adams scored his touchdowns at a rate of 3.9%. Between 2016-2018, Adams scored his touchdowns at an 8.6% clip.
|Davante Adams Touchdown Percentage|
While we should see this number rise for Adams, especially given his work inside the red-zone, we should also be slightly cautious. Adams' touchdown rate has actually dropped in each of his last three seasons.
Assuming Adams and Rodgers remain healthy and are able to take the field together for the whole season, the outlook seems incredibly bright for Adams.
numberFire currently has Adams projected to finish as the WR3 on the season, but I believe that there is potential for him to rule the roost at the season's end. With an average draft position (ADP) more than four picks behind Michael Thomas, there's an opportunity for value here.
We don't know for how long the Rodgers era in Green Bay will last, but if 2020 is the beginning of the end, your best way to enjoy the sunset will be to get Adams onto your fantasy roster.