What’s on Tape: Davante Adams (Fantasy Football)
Before we get into this edition of What’s on Tape, I need to make a disclosure: for the better part of the last two seasons, I’ve been a card-carrying member of the ‘Davante Adams Stinks’ Club. It’s a not-so-secret organization that lurks around in the dark alleys of the twitter-verse, seizing every opportunity to heap hyperbolic insults on Davante Adams and how he’s not #GoodAtFootball. I make this disclosure for two reasons, the first is transparency, the second is to give weight to the next thing I’m about to say under my breath.
Davante Adams doesn’t actually stink.
There I said it. But if you tell anyone I uttered such an unspeakable phrase I will deny it and claim that my writer account had been hacked.
With the housekeeping disposed of, let’s take a look at the situation in Title Town and then we will, as Tracy Morgan would say, “look at the game tape!”
See where Andy, Mike, and Jason have Davante Adams and other WRs ranked for 2017.
Green Bay’s Offense
Davante Adams finds himself in the enviable position of playing with one of the NFL’s high powered passing attacks, led by QB Aaron Rodgers. In 2016, the Packers offense posted an impressive 262.4 passing yards per game and scored 27 points per game, good for 4th most in the NFL. A feat even more impressive when you consider the running back duties fell to a hodgepodge of Eddie Lacy, James Starks, Knile Davis, Don Jackson, Aaron Ripkowski and converted WR Ty Montgomery. This high-flying group of WRs did most of the heavy lifting. Along with the aforementioned Ty Montgomery, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Adams put on a show. The latter two each posted double-digit TD seasons. In fact, Adams’ 12 TDs tied him for 2nd in the league behind only Nelson’s 14.
His touchdowns vaulted Adams to the 7th best WR in fantasy football. Adams was immensely efficient in the scoring department, which is not surprising considering Rodgers is perhaps the most efficient QB in the league. Adams scored a TD once per every 83.08 receiving yards. To put that in perspective, 45 WRs have scored double digit TDs in the last 5 years. Their average efficiency was 1 TD per 106.86 yards. The most efficient was James Jones from his magical 14 TD season with the Packers in 2012, where he scored once every 56 yards. The least efficient was Antonio Brown from 2015, with a rate of 183.4 yards/TD. Needless to say, TD efficiency is probably more indicative of circumstance rather than actual ability.
Going forward, the Packers are sure to lean on the passing game again, as Ty Montgomery is the only legitimate threat in the Green Bay rushing attack, though reinforcements are surely on their way, this team knows it is at its best when Aaron Rodgers is slinging the rock. With a healthy WR corps and the addition of Martellus Bennett, there might not be a ceiling on what this team can accomplish.
What’s on Tape
Let’s start with the Adams’ measurables. The Fresno State product is 6’1, 215 lbs. and will be entering his 4th season in the NFL at the age of 24 years old. He posted a 4.56 40-yard dash at the combine and boasts elite leaping ability (39.5” vertical jump).
The tape on Adams is perplexing. On one hand, you have a decent sized WR capable of playing bigger than he is with a large catch radius. He uses his quickness off the line and body control to beat defenders on short to intermediate routes. He can also win 50-50 balls in the redzone as is evidenced by his 12 TDs.
-A good example of this comes from Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. Adams made a contested catch over De’Vante Bausby, the taller 6 foot 2 inch Bears DB, for the touchdown. He has also shown an ability to be versatile in his play style.
-Coming off his Week 7 dismantling of the Bears, Adams was just about the last man standing on the Packers offense, and he answered the bell. Against the Falcons, Adams caught 12 passes from all over the field, including out of the backfield. He was also frequently motioned around the formation as the Packers made him the focal point of their game plan. For those of you interested in dialing up the tape yourselves, Adams made a great hands catch going over the middle in the 3rd quarter of that contest.
On the other hand, Adams’ tape is littered with plays that leave you scratching your head.
-In Week 2, against the strong Vikings defense, Adams put on a clinic of how not to play football. In the first quarter Adams fumbled deep in Packers territory. In the 2nd quarter he committed a flagrant offensive pass interference on the overmatched CB Trae Waynes. But perhaps the worst offense committed by Adams came in the 4th quarter on a slant route in the end zone. He faded and the point of attack and allowed Terence Newman to step in front of him and make the interception. I’d also like to see Adams catch the ball out front and away from defenders more often as he tends to lend the ball get into his pads.
Adams is a perfect combination of physical ability and opportunity. Tall enough, with good enough hands to take advantage of defenses that are unlikely to game plan for him as they have to worry about the rest of the weapons in this Green Bay offense. To take the next step, Adams needs to be more aggressive at the point of attack and show some of that “my ball” mentality that many of the great WRs have. I think another offseason working with Aaron Rodgers will help him develop the chemistry needed for him to truly succeed in an offense that can become a little like backyard football when the play breaks down and a scramble drill ensues.
What I’ve learned from this tape session is that Adams is a solid, though inconsistent, 2nd or 3rd WR for an NFL team, and he will likely fill that role nicely on your fantasy team as well. Unfortunately, he will have to perform as a high end WR2 at his current ADP of 3.08 in standard leagues as the 15th WR off the board. For me there’s just too much risk in the 3rd round, considering it has yet to be seen if Adams will grow into an elite option or if he’s just the second coming of James Jones.