The Case for Davante Adams

By Joe Pollock

In my article “What to do With Jarvis Landry?” I mentioned that if I could get value based on 2017 numbers I’d try to trade Jarvis Landry for Davante Adams straight up, but that was a conversation for another day. Well, today is that day. In a nutshell, I’d trade the world for Davante Adams. He’s a top-two dynasty asset for me right now. If the season started today, he’d be my number three wide receiver behind Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.

I know, crazy right? Here’s why:

Aaron Rodgers #1 Receiving Target is a Force to be Reckoned With

The top pass-catching asset in Green Bay has been a moving target over the course of the last decade, but when the stars have aligned in Titletown, the results have been incredible. Dating back to Aaron Rodgers first year as a full-time starter in 2008, his offenses have produced ten 1,000+ yard receiving seasons, seven 1,200+ yard seasons, and one 1,500+ yard season along with seven double-digit touchdown seasons from the wide receiver position. Receivers during the Aaron Rodgers era have had 1,000+ yards and 10 TDs five times. Only the Broncos and Giants have seen that many 1,000+ yard, 10 TD seasons from the wide receiver position during that span. No team has had more. For fantasy, that translates to eight top-15 finishes, six top-10 finishes, and five top-five finishes.

Rodgers is a monster. From yardage to touchdown efficiency, the dude doesn’t stop. Every year it seems, if he’s healthy, he’s racking up 4,000+ yards and 30+ (sometimes 40+) touchdowns. That’s the kind of production I want year-in and year-out from the guy throwing balls to my WR1 for fantasy.

Jordy Nelson is Gone

Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers have played in 16 games together in two of the last four seasons. In those two seasons, Nelson averaged 97.5 receptions on 151.5 targets for 1388 yards and 13.5 TDs. Those numbers are astronomical. With Nelson gone to the farm in Oakland where NFL teams send their aging players to die, there is a massive void in that Green Bay offense. Someone will fill that void, who better than Davante Adams? (Don’t you dare say Randall Cobb!)

Rodgers and Adams Already Have Amazing Chemistry

Even while playing second fiddle to Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams has put up incredible numbers. In 2016 Adams missed the 1,000-yard mark by just three yards. He’s the only player to score double-digit touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. He’s a red zone monster, and I’m willing to bet with Jordy Nelson out of his way Adams will see an expanded role inside the 20 in 2018.

Davante Adams is Still Getting Better

I know, it’s hard to believe that the only player to score at least ten touchdowns in each season since the start of 2016 is still improving, but there’s no question that Adams is. Pro Football Focus gave Adams a 76.4 grade in 2016. That was good enough for 49th among wide receivers. In 2017 Adams graded out at 83.5; 14th in the NFL at his position. This wasn’t some grading anomaly. Fire up your NFL Game Pass subscription and watch the tape. Oh, you don’t have one? That’s okay. I did it for you. Adams was a vastly improved route runner in 2017. He’s quickly becoming one of the best technicians in the league, and there’s nobody better when it comes to catching contested balls in tight coverage.

On a per-game basis, Davante Adams’ 2017 season was nearly identical to 2016. There’s nothing all that special about a wide receiver on a good offense maintaining his level of production from year three to year four. What made Adams’ 2017 numbers special? He did it with some of the worst quarterback play in all of the NFL. Aaron Rodgers’ 2016 performance was nothing short of elite. He ranked among the league leaders in nearly every performance metric available. Brett Hundley, who threw the bulk of the passes caught by Adams in 2017 was, by almost every measure, one of the worst quarterbacks in all of the NFL–26th in Total QBR, 34th in Football Outsiders DVOA and DYAR & 31st on Pro Football Focus (72.8 Overall Grade).

The Bad: Concussions

Nobody is perfect. There are knocks on Davante Adams too. I’m not here to try and pull the wool over your eyes and tell you he’s a shoe-in to be a top-three guy in 2018. He’s had problems with concussions; three suffered in the last two seasons to be exact. This is a concern, but it’s also important to note that both concussions in 2017 were flat out dirty plays. First with the Danny Trevathan hit in Week 4 vs. Chicago, then again with Thomas Davis in Week 15 @ Carolina. These hits were malicious. They’re not common to see on the football field, and I’d be surprised if Adams takes even one more hit like the ones that caused him to miss time in 2017. With the changes made to the rule book in 2018 and the level of attention head injuries have gotten since the emergence of CTE in football players, the consequences for those kinds of malicious hits are sure to increase over the coming years.

Where to Draft Davante Adams in 2018

Convinced? Good. Now it’s time to talk value. This is the best part when it comes to Adams. He’s still flying relatively under the radar so far this offseason. Fantasy Football Calculator has him being drafted at the 2.10 on average. That means reaching to make sure you get him doesn’t even require moving on him in the first round in most PPR 12-team standard format drafts. If you’re comfortable enough with your later-round running back evaluations, you could get Odell Beckham Jr. and Davante Adams in the late first and early second respectively. These are my number two and three wide receivers for 2018, and you could have them both! This kind of value at the position is unprecedented.

Not comfortable with your late round running back evaluations? Stay tuned to The Fantasy Takeaway all offseason. We gave you the skinny on Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara right around this time last year, and we’re doing everything we can to ensure a repeat performance in 2018.

 

Joe Pollock is a Host and Co-Founder of The Fantasy Takeaway Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @HumanStatSheet or contact him by email at Joe@TheFantasyTakewaway.com

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