So far in this outlook series, we’ve examined Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones’ outlooks for the 2021 fantasy season. Today, we break down the last of Packers’ “big three.” Here is Davante Adams’ 2021 fantasy outlook:
We’ve already covered that whether Aaron Rodgers is under centre is what will make or break the value of the rest of the Packers’ offense.
Being the number one receiver on this team, Davante Adams’ season might be impacted the most by Rodgers’ looming decision.
Adams was the best receiver in football last year and it wasn’t up for debate.
Long gone are the days of analysts overlooking the Fresno State product because he plays in Green Bay.
In fact, ESPN recently ranked Adams as the best receiver in football – if that holds any weight for you.
Adams led the NFL with 18 touchdowns in 2020. It was the fourth time in his career he found paydirt 10 or more times.
The eight-year veteran also finished tied-second in receptions (115), tied-fifth in receiving yards (1,374), fourth in targets (149), tied-second in 40+ yard plays (5), and tied-third in receptions yielding first downs (73).
If those numbers aren’t convincing enough, he also finished fifth in catch percentage (77.18%), was responsible for 33.47% of the Packers’ total air yards and commanded a 28.32% target share, according to Next Gen Stats.
The mind-blowing stat being that he managed to attain those numbers in just 14 games played.
That’s all to say, Adams had a pretty good year. A career year at that.
The 28-year-old also grabbed best fantasy wide receiver honours last season, finishing with 243.4 points in standard leagues. It was the third time since 2016 Adams finished as a top-seven fantasy receiver.
Now entering a contract year in 2021, Adams finds himself among fantasy royalty and it doesn’t look like he’s going to let go of his crown any time soon.
He currently holds an average draft pick of 13.91 in fantasy leagues. That number could be reflective of the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position in Green Bay right now.
If Aaron Rodgers attends camp, Iook for Adams’ stock to climb, making him a first-round lock this year.
And why wouldn’t you draft him in the first round, right?
Even with his struggles to stay healthy for a full season, Adams has averaged double-digit targets per game over the past three seasons.
He’s yielded 445 targets since 2018, efficiently catching 309 balls, and converting 36 of those into touchdowns.
Besides Rodgers’ MVP campaign, Adams benefited from the emergence of Marquez Valdes-Scantling as one of the best deep threats in football last year.
MVS’ breakout forced defenses to account for another receiver besides Adams for the first time in what seems like a long time.
Now with another season under his belt, MVS could take yet another step, allowing Adams to avoid double coverages.
The Packers’ efficiency running the ball has also helped the receiver by allowing Matt LaFleur to run his offense with unpredictability.
And being the premier threat in this offense, Adams often found game plans revolving around ways to get the ball in his hands.
As a fantasy manager, it’s always good to see the team scheming ways to get the ball to your guy. That’s what makes Adams one of the best options in fantasy football.
Looking at his opponents this season, Adams’ schedule is quite appealing.
His opponents allowed 23.75 points per game to wide receivers in 2020.
Prorating 23.75 points per game last season would’ve blown Adams out of the water as the top receiver.
To put the appeal of this schedule in perspective, Adams will face a top 10 defense vs. WRs from 2020 just six times in 2021.
One area of concern could be that Adams will see the three best defenses vs. WRs from 2020 this season (Chiefs, Rams, Ravens). All three matchups come in the second half of the season when fantasy players will be vying for playoff spots.
Managers need not worry too much though because Adams’ target share should allow him to put up respectable numbers, even in off weeks.
The interesting thing to note will be if anyone will travel with him each week. Adams will see names like Lattimore, Okudah, Jackson III, Peterson, Ramsey and Ward this season.
How much of each player he will see is yet to be seen, but they will be entertaining matchups when they do.
Adams opens the season against the Saints, who’s secondary took a hit while creating cap space this offseason, the Lions, who were the 30th ranked defense vs. WRs last season and haven’t appeared to get much better, and the Niners, who’s biggest weakness is likely their secondary.
Even in matchups against the Cardinals and Chiefs, which don’t look inviting on paper, fantasy managers have to be excited about the potential for Adams in games that could produce shootouts.
Davante Adams will be a coveted player once again this year, and his value will only rise if his quarterback returns.
Arguments will be made for players like DeAndre Hopkins or Stefon Diggs to be the first receiver taken, but in my experience, you want the best quarterback throwing your receiver the ball.
Adams is poised to have another monster season, and a dynamic rushing attack paired with some stability among other pass catchers on the roster will allow him to flourish even more.——————
Joshua Frey-Sam is a journalism student and aspiring sportscaster hailing from Winnipeg, Canada. A Packers fan since 2005, Josh has worked to master the financial and scouting aspect of the NFL over the past few years. Josh remains a firm believer that Dez did not, in fact, catch the ball. You can follow him on twitter at @jfreysam.