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Is Davante Adams Wide Receiver 1?

History is a Mirror

Davante Adams is still your #1 Fantasy Dynasty Wide Receiver

Is Davante Adams WR1 in Dynasty Fantasy Football?  

If not, who is?  

So, is Davante Adams WR1 in Dynasty fantasy football?  The Wide Receiver position is so fun.  There are so many talented dudes that all do things a little differently.  I had the privilege of watching tape of the best wide receivers in 2020 and I have to say, Davante Adams still stands out.  I looked at Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson, DK Metcalf, Tyreek Hill, AJ Brown, Justin Jefferson, and Calvin Ridley tape and all these guys are so fun for different reasons.  

Adams, however, is tied to the 2020 MVP in Aaron Rodgers and for me, that is the separator.  In order to dive into Adam’s position moving forward, I think it’s important to look back.  If we are living in a world where everyone is great what are your deciding factors for ranking all these talented dudes?  I will lay out a case for why I believe Davante Adams is still dynasty’s number one receiver even with many young dudes nipping at his heels. 

Trends

Dynasty is so much fun for a variety of reasons but my favorite is how people view players.  There is an ongoing debate about what a dynasty stud looks like.  Folks love dynasty QB’s because if you land Patrick Mahomes you are set at the position for 15 years.  No joke.  When I think of dynasty for everyone other than elite QB’s, I look at 3-5 year window  

I make my decisions based on three-year windows for all RB’s, WR’s, and TEs.  The reason, everything changes in 3 years.  What were you doing three years ago?  Are you the same person? Do you even talk to some of the dynasty friends you have from the startup draft three years ago?  Well think of that, then think of this; the NFL is like dog years, every year is like seven years.  So many changes happen from year to year that is virtually impossible to see what your team, a player, a player’s team will look like past 3 years from now. 

So, when I am looking at Davante Adams I am looking at a 3-year window and then will adjust accordingly.  The exercise really should be, given all the variables how many points will this player  TOTAL over three years.  You can’t expect a run like Antonio Brown had from 2014-2016 where he was WR1 three years in a row.  Elite WR’s, barring injury, should get you a top 5 finish for three straight years.  This is how I analyze my picks and the window from which I view their value.  I believe you should do the same.  

Over the last 3 years (2018-2020), Davante Adams was WR2, WR22 (12 games played), and WR1.  Adams was beaten up in 2019 and only played in 12 games.  Using his points per game, he was WR6.  Those are numbers I am looking for in my WR1 for the next three years.  

So the question becomes are Adams best years in front of him or behind him?  

Age

Davante Adams is 28 years old.  In Dynasty everyone loves age.  I am actually surprised how much people choose age over talent.  I understand it on its face.  It makes sense.  Justin Jefferson was a rookie and at only 22 years old he was WR6.  His future is bright.  However, Justin Jefferson is an outlier.  Most receivers don’t hit their top 5 status until year 3, and from year 3 on, the dominant receivers stay dominant for 6-8 years.  

The average age of the top wide receiver (WR1) over the past 7 years was 26.85, so figure 27 years old.  Davante is right in the mix.  Over the next three years, Davante will be 28 (2021), 29 (2022), 30 (2023).  Tied up with one of the best QB’s in the game through 2023, I believe DA’s age will matter very little and he will continue to dominate in your league.  

Age is a tiebreaker for me.  If I view a player on a similar level but player B is 2 years younger than player A. I will choose player B.  But all too often I will see rookies or 2nd-year guys go a round or two earlier than they should only because fantasy players value age over the player.  Age matters but so does dominance.  Give me the dominant 28-year-old receiver that put up 358 points last year and almost 26 points per game.  DA, in this offense, with Rodgers at quarterback will age like fine wine and get better with time.

Quarterback

Talent will always win but having an elite quarterback helps.  Davante Adams just so happens to have the most elite quarterback over the last 10 years and that’s not slowing down anytime soon.  Aaron Rodgers was the NFL MVP last year and he was fantasy QB2 after throwing for nearly 4300 yards and 48 touchdowns.  

In the last five years, receivers that have finished in the top five have come from teams that have top-tier QB’s. Names like Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, DeShaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, and of course Aaron Rodgers are tied to the top 5 receivers seemingly every year.  Look at 2020, the top five receivers were Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Calvin Ridley, and DK Metcalf.  Their quarterbacks were Rodgers, Mahomes, Allen, Ryan, and Wilson. 

Rodgers, Mahomes, and Wilson are virtual locks for the hall of fame.  Allen is starting his ascension and could certainly enter that conversation and Matt Ryan is a borderline HOFer in my opinion.  This isn’t just a 2020 thing either.  Time and time again the top receivers are tied to the top Quarterbacks.  Talent overtakes the landing spot, generally, but when we are talking elite wide receivers they are almost always tethered to elite quarterbacks.  

Davante Adams is no different.  Aaron Rodgers is signed through 2023 and he obviously isn’t slowing down.  That means Adams and ARod are joined at the hip for three more seasons at least.  Which for me, separates any fear I have of Adams falling off a cliff because Jordan Love has all of sudden become his quarterback.  Quarterbacks matter for elite wide receiver play.  Do not discount that partnership.  

History is a mirror

Generally, the same guys continue to show up in the top 5, especially when talking wide receivers.  Unlike running backs, elite wide receivers have a 6-8 year run of greatness.  Of course, elite wide receivers don’t usually hit their stride until year 3 or 4, so figure about 6 dominant years.  Keep this in mind, in the years 2014-2016, Antonio Brown was the WR1.  He was WR2 in 2017. He had four years of fantasy dominance so if you drafted him in his age 27 years, you more than likely dominated your competition for 4 years.  

This isn’t just an AB thing either.  In years 2017 and 2018 it was Deandre Hopkins who was WR1 back-to-back years.  Hopkins finished as WR10 in 2019 and WR9 in 2020 even after switching teams.  I would be willing to guess Hopkins finishes in the top ten again in 2021, so if you chose Hopkins in his age 24 seasons you would see a WR1, WR1, WR10, and WR9.  Once the run starts it rarely drops off.  Injuries are the great equalizer in fantasy football, they are also the greatest unknown.  There is no way of knowing who is going to get hurt and what kind of injury they will suffer.  It is hard to project “injury-prone” and at this point, I think there is enough science to skew the whole idea of injury-prone. So never draft with injury concerns.  

History tells the same story over and over.  Past success can often predict future results because it’s been done before.  Davante Adams has dominated within his offensive infrastructure.  He will likely continue to dominate within a stable environment that has produced consistent results for years.  It’s good to look back to see your way forward.  There are many talented receivers that will all make their case for fantasy wide receivers number 1 but none of them has the track record and the predictive future results as Davante Adams.  History is a mirror.  Look closely.   

Competition

Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, DK Metcalf, Calvin Ridley, and Justin Jefferson are all nipping on the heels of Davante Adams but they aren’t there yet.  Those are the receivers that finished 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 respectively in 2020.  There is certainly a case for all five of the “others” as I call them.  Lost shout-out! But for now, I am still naming Davante Adams as my WR1 over the next 3 years.  

The question really becomes how do you perceive your roster.  My strong belief is you must be truthful about your dynasty squad.  Are you a contender or a pretender?  If you believe with a few pieces you can compete for a championship right now then Adams, Hill, and Diggs could be your first choice.  If you think you will be contending in a year or two then Metcalf or Ridley may be your guy.  If you want a guy that should finish in the top ten annually for the next 6 years, that would be Justin Jefferson.  

Davante Adams has a shot to be WR1 over the next three years based on past production, hall of fame quarterback play, system design, DA’s ability to beat teams at all three levels of the field, and his RedZone dominance.  I can not say that about all other receivers.  

Tyreek Hill is my dynasty WR2.  He has been WR3, WR32 (he only played 12 games), and WR2 over the past three years.  He is right behind Adams.  However, as close as he is there is still a big gap between DA and Hill.  Consider this, Hill was WR2 in 2020 and scored 30 fewer points than DA on the year.  His points per game average were 3.7 points less than DA.  He had 13 fewer targets and had 28 fewer receptions.  His catch percentage was 13% lower than DA (77% to 64%) Hill had 15 touchdowns (which is insane) and he still had 3 less than Adams.  Now, both receivers had dominant seasons but if you are comparing the two, I prefer Adams’s dominance slightly, over Hill’s dominance.  

In The End

It’s really important to separate elite players at the top.  Why do you choose CMC over Jonathan Taylor?  Why do you choose Patrick Mahomes over Josh Allen?  Travis Kelce over Darren Waller?  In dynasty you own these players for a long time, you don’t get a second chance and for all the talk about sleepers, late-round finds, and elite rookies, what is going to make or break your squad is your first 4 or 5 picks in your startup draft.  You have to get it right.  that is why it is so important you analyze the whole picture between the top 7 guys.  In a startup everyone believes they will win the chip that year, so immediately you are in a win-now mode.  

With that known, I want to ensure I am not gambling too often.  I want a sure thing in the first few rounds and for me, that means Davante Adams.  Given his entire picture, his whole portfolio I have a hard time arguing he will not continue his dominance for at least 3 more years.  If he is a central figure for your team over the next 3 years, I imagine you are going to be competitive in your league.  This can give you plenty of opportunities to plan for his inevitable downfall in 4 to 5 years.  He is not a guy that will fall off the cliff next year and leave you stranded.  You will be able to see the cliff coming and get out because his production will be so elite for another 3 years that DA will build you a nice runway toward trading him for future capital.

In all startups, I am getting as many DA shares as possible and I am as gleeful as a little kid at Christmas time when my peers take younger guys because they have hesitancy about DA’s age.  He is going to be a top 3-5 receiver (barring injury) for the next three years and he is my clear WR1 in all dynasty formats.  

Written by Keith James

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