Fantasy Reaction: Fred Davis Re-signs With Washington
Fred Davis is coming off of an Achilles’ rupture sustained last season during a Week 7 game, and by all reports will be good to go once training camp begins. The fact that he re-signed with the Washington Redskins on a one-year deal will serve to help him get re-acclimated that much faster due to his familiarity with their offense.
A former second-round draft pick, Davis has seemingly existed on the periphery of the fantasy tight end radar for much of his five-year career. Chris Cooley received more attention early on in Davis’ tenure, before age and injury eventually took their toll on Cooley’s performance. The 2011 season was a coming-out party of sorts for Davis, seeing him post 796 yards and three touchdowns on 59 receptions in the first 12 games. However, it has been nothing but frustration for both him and his fantasy owners since then.
Glimpses of what Davis had to offer appeared as far back as 2009, when his 0.28 Fantasy Points Per Opportunity (PPO) mark ranked eighth-best among tight ends. He bettered that effort the next season when he tied Vernon Davis for fourth in PPO, with a 0.32. His breakout 2011 came crashing to Earth when he wound up missing the final four weeks of the season due to a drug suspension. Up until that point he had accumulated the fifth-most fantasy points of any tight end in the NFL.
Davis’ big-play abilities were on full display that season, when he ranked third at his position in Yards Per Route Run with a 1.93 mark. Nearly 12 percent of all his targets were aimed at least 20 yards downfield (11.9 percent), and he ranked sixth in yards per reception (13.5). Davis placed fifth at his position in total Yards After Catch, and sixth in Yards After Catch per reception. Along with Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten, he was very much on the next tier of receiving tight ends below Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. That same season Davis’ 4.84 percent drop rate and 70.2 percent catch rate ranked fifth and 11th, respectively, out of all tight ends.
After a slow start to 2012, as he was still getting acquainted with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, things began to turn around in the four weeks before he was injured. He posted a 0.23 PPO (12th-best tight end) from Week 3 through Week 6 and most likely would have continued that momentum as Griffin became more comfortable. The fact that he did not get that chance, coupled with RGIII’s knee injury, has clouded Davis’ value enough that he will likely fall into an affordable range this coming season.
Given all the other quality tight ends available, there will be little need to reach for Davis during drafts. In early 2013 drafting, he has an ADP of 20th at his position, and around 150th overall. Considering that heading into the 2012 season those numbers were 10th and 93rd, respectively, and the Redskins are not exactly flush with other quality receiving options, he could make for quite the relative discount.