Fantasy Reaction: Corey Davis Signs with the New York Jets

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While Corey Davis was one of the first free agents to ink a deal, there hasn’t been much fanfare about his signing. Maybe it’s because his career has been a roller coaster of disappointment to this point? Maybe everyone is just waiting for the bigger named WRs to land somewhere? Maybe it’s because it’s the Jets? Regardless, Davis got PAID! The Jets locked him up for 3 years, $37.5 million, giving him the same AAV as former teammate Jonnu Smith and basically the same contract as Hunter Henry. The biggest question left is: Can the Jets get more from him than the Titans?

A Much Needed Change of Scenery

Thus far in his career, Davis has been a “flip a coin” type player, both on a season-by-season and game-by-game basis. Heads, he might help win your league. Tails, he falls flat on his face. Here are his fantasy finishes so far:

Year Fantasy Finish
2017 WR93
2018 WR28
2019 WR64
2020 WR31

His rookie year was a huge miss, especially for a guy taken in the top-5 of the NFL Draft. He played in just 11 games, catching 35 balls for 375 yards, barely 10 yards-per-catch, and did not score a single TD. In year 2, he found the endzone four times while almost doubling his catch total and more than doubling his yards. Year 3 was another down one, he only started 11 of the 15 games he played, TDs were down again, as were catches and yards but his YPC stayed north of 14. Last year was his best season yet. In just 14 games, he registered the most receptions and yards of his career and scored five TDs. However, on a game-by-game basis, he had seven games where he failed to register ten fantasy points and seven where he was above that benchmark. Two of those duds were actual zeros on the stat sheet…not good.

Basically, the Titans were a team built around and for Derrick Henry, and that, plus the addition of AJ Brown, did not do Davis any favors. Being the WR2 on a run-first, run-second, and probably run-third team is not ideal for fantasy. In New York, he should be alpha on a team that should need to throw the ball more than they did in Tennessee.

The New Look J-E-T-S

Most people have an immediate sickening reaction to a player landing on the Jets. It’s called the Adam Gase effect. Gase ruined just about every player he coached and escaping the B-Hole was the only reprieve. Well now, the whole NY Jets team has escaped. Gase is gone and replaced by Robert Saleh from the San Francisco 49ers. Saleh is a defensive coach but his offensive staff also comes from San Francisco, so we can expect a similar offense. While the 49ers love to run the ball too, there is hope. Over the last four seasons, the 49ers threw the ball 321 more times than the Tennessee Titans or 80 more attempts-per-season. The Jets themselves had even fewer attempts than the Titans during that span, but that offense is gone so no need to compare.

Now, there is no instance where the 49ers had a true WR1 during that span, so it’s hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison but there a few glimmers of hope. The first is George Kittle. While San Francisco had no WR1, they certainly had an alpha. Kittle has played in 53 games over the last four seasons and was targetted 369 times during that span. That means that the 49ers targetted their alpha at a seven targets-per-game clip, or an average of 112 targets for a 16-game season. Davis has only seen 112 targets once in his career. Over that same span, the 49ers’ WR1 (actual WR, not Kittle) averaged just about five TDs scored-per-season. Davis has only hit five TDs one time, and that was last season. Davis will be competing with Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder for looks, but it’s hard to argue that, even though he has been disappointing, Davis is a better WR than both.

Dynasty Outlook: 2021 & Beyond

From a redraft perspective, this move should be solid for Davis in 2021. He should easily win the WR1 job and 100+ targets and five TDs are well within his reach. Dynasty will make things a little more interesting. For starters, who will the starting QB be in New York? Sam Darnold is there now and while normally being tied to a young QB is great in dynasty, his career has been as rocky as Davis’ and there is a new trade rumor surrounding him almost daily. The Jets also have the 2nd pick in the upcoming draft and could use that on a highly-touted QB, like Ohio State’s Justin Fields, which would help solidify things for the WRs in the long run.

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Another dynasty question would be the growth of Denzel Mims, Mims was taken in the 2nd-Round of the NFL Draft last year but is only two years younger than Davis. He could beat out Davis out for looks this season and then you’re stuck with the Jets’ WR2…not good. The last issue is how many pass attempts will there be when this team adds a few running backs in the future? The 49ers notoriously had a stacked RB room and used them as much as they could. Right now, the Jets have Lamical Perine.

All in all, Davis’ value might spike in 2021 making him an excellent one-year investment in dynasty. You can probably land him now for not too much, ride out what should be an excellent 2021, and then move him after this season, which could end up being his best in New York. Don’t forget, The Fantasy Footballers added a new Dynasty Pass to this year’s UDK, and you can order it now to get their take on the dynasty rankings of the new New York Jets, plus all the rookie info you could possibly want.

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