Why Fantasy Managers Should Be Thankful For Mike Davis

By Alex Kurpeski

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! As we sit back and enjoy the Lions and Cowboys on this day, I’ve been brainstorming some article ideas that fit well with the theme of this holiday. I’ve settled upon this idea, a tribute to one of the underrated heroes of the 2020 season: Mike Davis of the Carolina Panthers. 

When Christian McCaffrey first hit IR following an ankle injury he suffered in a Week 2 matchup with the Buccaneers, many expected the Panthers to turn to Reggie Bonnafon in his stead. After all, Bonnafon was an adept pass-catching back who had been McCaffrey’s understudy for all of 2019.

Instead, the Panthers turned the ball over to veteran Mike Davis, a castaway who had been most recently released by the Bears. Few could have expected Davis to adequately replace McCaffrey in their fantasy lineups given his track record as a low-volume plodder. Yet Davis managed to prove the doubters wrong, rewarding those fantasy managers who drafted CMC and chased his backup rather than quitting altogether. 

Davis’s numbers this season have been rather mind-blowing when we consider who he was before coming to Carolina. Here’s a look at some of the impressive metrics we’ve seen from Davis’s 2020 campaign. A big thank you to FantasyData for these numbers. 

  • 56 targets (third-most among running backs)
  • 49 receptions (second-most among running backs)
  • 305 receiving yards (third-most among running backs)
  • 35.6% juke rate (second-best mark among qualified running backs)
  • 57 evaded tackles (sixth-most among running backs) 
  • Top-10 in fantasy points among running backs

While he’s no McCaffrey, Davis has been one of the most explosive and efficient pass-catching backs in the NFL. He’s been a diamond in the rough for fantasy football, while also helping Carolina remain competitive. In the few leagues where I was lucky to land McCaffrey, I luckily managed to acquire Davis as well. And for that, I am thankful. If you’ve got a problem with Mike Davis, just imagine how much worse this situation would have been if it became an RBBC. 

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