There are a lot of reasons why a dynasty general manager will hold on to a specific player. Most believe in their hearts that these players will someday become a stud. In reality, the hype train was all it ever was, just hype. I polled several fantasy general managers from MyFantasyLeague Superflex dynasty leagues and compiled a list of players that they just will not give up on. Some of the general managers say they have held onto players in the past because they thought eventually the player would turn into a stud. Others said they were too stubborn to cut them because they had constantly defended their player’s talent. It is one thing to have room on your bench to stash those players, but it’s another thing to let them sit there and waste away. During this article series, we will dive deeper into these players and let you know if they are worthy of their roster spot or if they should have a first-class ticket to the waiver wire.
Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Titans
In 2013, Corey Davis was a two-star recruit out of Wheaton, IL. The only offers he received were from Illinois State and Western Michigan. At 6’3”, 195 pounds, he chose Western Michigan and started as a true freshman. His freshman year was decent with 67 catches for 941 yards and six touchdowns, though his next three years would define him as one of the best receivers in Mid-American Conference history. As the stats below show, Davis averaged 1,445 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns his next three years. He turned himself from a two-star recruit to a first round talent in the NFL. In the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans selected him with the fifth overall pick.
(Stats provided by Sports-Reference.com)
In DLF’s dynasty ADP for 2017, Davis was the overall number one rookie wide receiver. He started 11 games for the Titans and had just 34 catches for 375 yards and zero touchdowns. Statistically, most wide receivers don’t produce in their first year, so many dynasty general managers assumed his second year would be the breakout they were hoping for. In 2018, Davis had doubled his numbers from his rookie season and added four touchdowns, so it wasn’t necessarily a sophomore slump. Things were definitely trending in the right direction, so maybe a third-year breakout candidate? Not really. Last season, Davis had just 69 catches, 601 yards, and two touchdowns.
(Stats provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com)
A major factor for this also would be the play that Davis got from his quarterbacks. From 2017 to 2019, Marcus Mariota’s ADP went from four (‘17), fourteen (‘18), and twenty-five (‘19). If Davis had a more stable passer then I think his numbers would be much higher. Take into account also Davis’s quarterback now is Ryan Tannehill, who is very similar to Mariota, in which he is an inconsistent, scrambling quarterback. With the Titans giving Tannehill a big extension, the writing is on the wall for Davis to have the same type of numbers he has had thus far. Consider a similar player to Davis in DeVante Parker, who was with Tannehill and the Dolphins for four years but did not have a breakout season until after Tannehill left.
Another factor hurting Davis’ value is the addition of A.J. Brown last season. Brown, a 2019 second round pick out of Ole Miss, had a great rookie season. He clearly outperformed Davis with 52 catches for 1,052 yards and eight touchdowns and seems to be the wide receiver to own for fantasy purposes on the team. Something which may help Davis’s value, however, is the fact that the Titans have not addressed the wide receiver position through free agency or the 2020 NFL draft. They seem content with rolling out Brown, Davis, and Adam Humphries as their starting wide receivers.
Davis has the athletic ability to excel in the NFL, but without a change of scenery I don’t see him ever becoming a fantasy producer. Davis is still on his rookie deal of four years with a fifth-year team option. If he plays that out and enters free agency with similar numbers the next two years then I don’t know how much value he will hold, especially as an average receiver who will be 28 years old at the end of that contract. The consensus of dynasty general managers that I have spoken to is to hold him. I don’t necessarily disagree with that because I’m not sure what sort of value you could currently get for him. A third round rookie draft pick might be the best you can do. Personally, I’m selling. He needs a new uniform sooner rather than later and a better quarterback before he becomes fantasy relevant. The fact of the matter is, Davis is a number two wide receiver on a run-heavy offense. Even though the talent is there, the production more than likely won’t be.