While certainly not on the level of Kenny Golladay or JuJu Smith-Schuster,
signing Corey Davis is something worth paying attention to. Davis
immediately becomes the WR1 on the Jets and will have a chance to
build on his breakout 2020 campaign.
Corey Davis the Titan
Davis was an elite prospect back in 2017, but was just never able
to put it together. If not for two missed games last year, he would’ve
posted his first 1,000 yard season. Davis was a complete afterthought
in fantasy drafts and with good reason. The history of top wide
receiver prospects not panning out after three years is slim. He
finished as a mid WR3, which, on the surface, seems unimpressive,
but Davis was sneaky reliable last season. He hit double-digit fantasy
points in 10 of his 13 fantasy relevant games (he missed that number
in Week 17, which does not count anyway). Davis also mixed in two
elite WR1 finishes, including the overall WR1 finish in Week 13,
flashing the upside that made him the fifth overall pick in 2017.
Corey Davis the Jet
The question now is whether Davis can take another step forward
while joining a new team with a new quarterback and a new playbook?
The odds certainly aren’t in his favor as the downgrade from
Ryan Tannehill to Sam Darnold is stark. However, what he loses his
quality he could at least partially make up in quantity. The Titans
are a run-first offense that saw Tannehill attempt just 481 passes
last season. The Jets cannot control the ball on offense as well
as the Titans and will likely see more negative game script. Obviously,
we’d prefer the better quarterback play, but as long as Davis
stays healthy, he’s a near lock to lead the Jets in targets
and should push 120 on the season.
Unfortunately for Davis, he is unlikely to see the 4.58 yards
of average cushion he saw last season opposite A.J. Brown. He
is also unlikely to see an 80% catchable target rate from Darnold.
The most likely scenario if it isn’t Darnold this season
is the Jets draft Justin Fields or Zach Wilson with the second
overall pick. It would be quite surprising if whoever the Jets
draft did not provide an upgrade over Darnold.
Whomever the Jets start under center will be better off having
Davis to throw to, at least in comparison to what the Jets were
rolling out last season. In 2020, the Jets deployed some combination
of Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, Jeff Smith, Braxton Berrios,
and eventually, a returning from injury Denzel Mims. Davis is
a significant upgrade over all of them. Regardless, if it is Darnold
Week 1, he is not a fantasy option outside of Superflex leagues.
The Jets bringing in a wide receiver, given what they had last
year, was a foregone conclusion. Mims’ rookie year does
not bode well for his future success, but between the injuries,
Adam Gase, and Sam Darnold, it’s very fair to give him a
pass. The acquisition of Davis does not negatively impact the
potential for a Mims breakout in any meaningful way. It would
be an upset if Mims wasn’t starting opposite Davis in Week
1 with Jamison Crowder in the slot. Mims will remain a worthy
late-round flier on upside alone.
Crowder actually averaged just 0.1 points per game more than
last season. However, that was propped up by Crowder’s hot start
as he burst out the gate with two WR1 and a WR2 performance in
his first three games of the season. Counter to what you typically
think about Crowder, he was extremely boom or bust, recording
five games with 17 or more fantasy points (just two after Week
3 though) and six games with 12.6 fantasy points or fewer (excluding
a seventh in Week 17).
Even though Crowder was boom or bust, he was boom or bust based
on volume, only producing when he in games where he saw at least
nine targets. It certainly will not be the Jets’ plan to target
Crowder nearly 10 times a game in 2021. He will have his weeks
and will always be a guy you can pick up and stream with confidence
that he won’t get you zero, but I anticipate Crowder going undrafted
in standard-sized redraft leagues.
Davis was expected to leave so this comes as no surprise. The
Titans will certainly be replacing him with someone not currently
on the team, either through free agency, trade, or the draft.
The Titans have a ton of vacated targets between the departures
of Davis and Jonnu Smith so there will be plenty of opportunity
for whomever their WR2 ends up being.
For Davis himself, this move looks like a downgrade. He was a
WR3 last year and feels more like a WR4 this year. He deserves to
be drafted in redraft leagues and has a high weekly ceiling, but
the season-long ceiling doesn’t look like it will be there.
For A.J. Brown, this move has no impact on him. His role with
or without Davis as his WR2 remains unchanged.
For Mims, this also feels unimpactful. If a Mims breakout is in
the cards, it’s not going to be derailed by Corey Davis. He’s
an upside WR5.
For Crowder, this is technically a downgrade, but the Jets were
always going to bring in a wide receiver and no matter who it ended
up being, it would’ve been a hit to Crowder’s volume,
and thus, his value.
For the Jets’ 2021 starting quarterback, this move is beneficial
as Davis improves the pass-catching group as a whole. If the Jets’
quarterback ends up with any fantasy value, it will be because that
man is Justin Fields and because of his rushing ability more than