WR Corey Davis | Tennessee Titans | 2nd Year
2017 Stats: 34 rec., 375 yards, 0 TD
After a prolific career at Western Michigan, where he finished as the NCAA all-time leader in receiving yards, Corey Davis was the first wide receiver taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, fifth overall by the Tennessee Titans.
Davis started his NFL career with six catches (on 10 targets) for 69 yards against the Oakland Raiders. But a hamstring injury in Week 2 led to five missed games, and Davis’ rookie season was officially derailed on his way to finishing as WR87 in ESPN standard PPR scoring.
But Davis did leave a good last impression though, with five catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns in Tennessee’s Divisional Round playoff loss to the New England Patriots. In two playoff games he averaged 7.5 targets per game, with a total of nine catches for 98 yards. Going back into the end of the regular season, Davis had at least seven targets in three of his last four games.
The Titans gave up an “exotic smashmouth” offense by firing head coach Mike Mularkey, and former Rams’ quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur is taking over as offensive coordinator. That’s a promising development for the entire Tennessee offense, coming off a season where they were 29th in the league in snaps per game and had the fifth-fewest pass attempts in the league.
Somehow, Davis only had five red zone targets last year. That is begging for a positive correction, with better health, more passing volume for Marcus Mariota and a faster-paced offense this year.
Wide receiver Rishard Matthews and tight end Delanie Walker are the other two prominent passing game targets for the Titans. Walker has accounted for over 22 percent (346 of 1,275) of Tennessee’s passing game targets (not all Mariota) over the last three seasons, with Matthews accounting for a 19.5 percent (195 of 1,000) overall target share over his two seasons with the Titans. In 2016, Matthews had a 21.4 percent target share (108 out of 504) as the Titans’ No. 1 wide receiver.
It’s easy to see Davis surpassing that 21.4 percent share of the targets Matthews had in 2016 this year. Let’s assume a jump, even to mid-pack in the league in pass volume for the team. That’s somewhere in the 540-560 attempt range based on last year, which would be 50-70 more targets to go around for the Titans’ pass catchers. With a bigger pie, in concert with the virtual certainty of more plays being run with a faster pace, everyone eats more.
Via Fantasy Football Calculator, Davis is in WR3 range (WR32, pick 7.07) in standard 12-team mock drafts right now, with an upgrade of a few spots at the position and full round in 12-team PPR mocks (WR28, pick 6.06).
A view of Davis’ breakout potential this year depends on where expectations are set. The odds of a vault into WR1 territory are slim, but there’s potential to get a WR2 in any scoring format at a relative value here.
Corey Davis 2018 Projection: 75 receptions, 975 yards, 7 TD
Breakout Percentage: 75%
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