Mike Davis Signs With Falcons: 2021 Betting & Fantasy Football Outlook

Mike Davis signs with Falcons: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting the Atlanta Falcons have signed RB Mike Davis to a two-year contract worth $5.5 million. The deal includes $3 million in fully guaranteed money in the first year of the deal.



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Mike Davis Signs with Falcons

Perhaps I am in the minority, but I believe the Falcons’ backfield was one that flew under the radar this offseason in terms of hot running back landing spots. Not only has the Falcons invested in their offensive line in recent years, but they also have a new head coach, Arthur Smith.

Smith was a tremendous offensive coordinator for the Tennesse Titans, rejuvenating the career of QB Ryan Tannehill and WR Corey Davis while upstarting the career of RB Derrick Henry. For an Atlanta team that has perennially underwhelmed compared to their talent pool under former head coach now Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Smith could be just what the doctor ordered for the Falcons.

Mike Davis signed a two-year deal worth $5.5 million. Essentially, he signed for backup’s money. However, with Todd Gurley and Brian Hill unlikely to return, Davis is the best back in Atlanta. Aside from Davis, the Falcons have Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison under contract.

If both Gurley and Hill are not brought back, the expectation, there are 345 vacated running back touches to be had. Unless the Falcons add another running back via free agency or the upcoming NFL Draft, the bulk of those touches should belong to Davis.

Sure, Davis, signed for No. 2 money, but he will out-perform his contract if he is indeed deemed Atlanta’s starter. Last season with the Panthers, Davis was the team’s No. 2 running back. However, an injury to stud Christian McCaffrey forced Davis to be the starter for the majority of the season.

In 15 appearances, Davis managed career highs across the board. He finished 2020 with 642 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 165 carries while hauling in 59-of-70 targets for 373 yards with another two scores. Davis averaged a meager 3.9 yards per carry and 4.5 yards per touch.

While Davis may not have the skillset to break a game open, he is a reliable in-between-the-tackles back who rushes with power, has just enough speed to the outside, and can serve as a weapon in the passing game. In other words, Davis is an upgrade over what they have been putting on the field at running back since Devonta Freeman’s heyday.

Unless the Falcons add a notable back in the NFL Draft, Davis should be penciled in as the starter in an offense that could lean on him early and often to open up the passing attack for Matt Ryan and company.


Falcons 2021 NFL Betting Outlook

Falcons NFC South Winner (+1000)

(Odds courtesy of PointsBet)

  • Buccaneers (-140)
  • Saints (+225)
  • Panthers (+750)
  • Falcons (+1000)

Contrary to a division like that the NFC West, which is as wide open as they come, the NFC South is Tampa Bay’s to lose. While the Buccaneers retained the vast majority of their free agents, something we don’t see very often as players coming off a Super Bowl win command a higher salary, which usually leads to them departing in free agency, Tampa Bay managed to keep key player-personnel intact.

Although the Falcons employ the second-best quarterback in the NFC South (Ryan), as well as explosive offensive personnel, they do have questions on the defensive side of the ball. The Falcons also need to adjust to new head coach Smith’s system. The Falcons are a .500 team at best in 2021.

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Mike Davis 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook

Although I do believe the Falcons are poised to add running back help in the 2021 NFL Draft, Mike Davis is in line to be the Week 1 starter barring a notable addition. While he is 28, Davis has been a career backup who has played with four other teams prior to signing with the Falcons. Davis has had his times when he started games, but he was never really “the guy” until last season with the Panthers following the Christian McCaffrey injury. In theory, despite his age, Davis has some gas left in the proverbial tank.

With new Falcons HC Arthur Smith making it known that he will deploy a more-balanced offense in Atlanta, we could assume that Davis will be busy if he is, in fact, the RB1.

Davis could ultimately emerge as one of the biggest values in fantasy football drafts. Not only is he one of those unsexy names and talents, but his situation could be overlooked. Moreover, Davis was extremely productive in his role with the Panthers last season. In 15 games, Davis finished as the RB12 in PPR scoring formats. Yes, you read that right. Davis was an RB1 in 2020. He also finished as the RB14 in fantasy points per game at a 14.8 FPPG rate.

Currently, at Fantasy Football Calculator, Davis is being selected as the RB40 (ninth round) ADP in 12-team PPR leagues. Are you kidding me? While the Falcons could ultimately add a marquee rusher, they have enough offensive firepower at their skill positions to do some damage. They need additional offensive line help and most importantly, their defense needs a makeover. I am not ruling it out, but I don’t see the Falcons drafting a running back before the fourth round, making Davis a must-have on your fantasy team assuming he’s Smith’s new workhorse if not only for one season.


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