Davante Adams
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NFL Player Profile

Will Davante Adams Lead The NFL In Targets?

Updated On: May 7, 2020, 1:47 am ET

We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2020 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.

Davante Adams doesn't boast overwhelming size (6-foot-1 and 212-pounds) or speed (4.56-second 40-yard dash), and he totaled a rather pedestrian 88-929-4 receiving line in his first 29 career games.

Regardless, the man has been next to unstoppable when healthy for the better part of the last four seasons.

  • 2016: WR10 in PPR per game
  • 2017: WR9
  • 2018: WR1
  • 2019: WR6

2020 has the potential to be Adams' best season yet considering the lack of competition he has for targets. Let's breakdown what exactly is in store for the Packers' No. 1 pass-game target.

Adams commands targets at an elite rate

Adams has never missed more than four games in a single season since entering the league in 2014, although he's only played 16 games twice. Because of this we've only seen him surpass 1,000 yards once, which some idiots point to as a reason why he shouldn't be named among the league's best WRs.

In reality, Adams has been operating at the highest of levels for nearly a half decade. He's one of just 10 players to string together at least three consecutive seasons with double-digit receiving touchdowns during the Moss-era (1998-2019). The list is littered with future Hall of Fame talents and GOATs alike: Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Harrison, Odell Beckham, Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski and Terrell Owens.

Playing with Aaron Rodgers has obviously helped, but make no mistake about it: Adams has posted too much amazing production to be considered anything other than one of the league's single-best players at the position.

Better players *should* get more targets than worse players in a perfect world, but QB preference, scheme and run/pass ratio obviously plays a large role in dictating who winds up atop the league leader board in pass-game opportunities. Either way, Adams has continuously found himself near the top of the mountain – particularly over the past two seasons:

  • 2016: 7.6 targets per game (No. 25 among all WRs)
  • 2017: 8.4 (No. 15)
  • 2018: 11.3 (No. 1)
  • 2019: 10.6 (No. 2)

Michael Thomas finished as 2019's target king with a gaudy 11.6 targets per game. One difference between Thomas and Adams is that the latter WR's team didn't do anything to potentially impact his monstrous target share.

The Packers, again, didn't add any noteworthy pass-catchers

There are at least 11 WRs on the Green Bay depth chart. Somehow, there truly isn't anybody that should garner a second look from Rodgers:

  • Adams: He's good.
  • Allen Lazard: Possesses solid size (6-foot-3 and 225-pounds) and enough speed (4.55-second 40-yard dash) to cause some problems for smaller corners downfield. He flashed in 2019 with 3-103-1, 4-69-1 and 4-65-1 performances ... but keep in mind those came against the Giants, Lions and Lions again. Otherwise Lazard didn't clear 50 yards or find the end zone.
  • Devin Funchess: The wild card of this equation, Funchess (25 years old) never even had a chance to put together a decent season in 2019 after breaking his clavicle in Week 1. He averaged a 4-50-0.5 receiving line in 15 career games without Greg Olsen once upon a time. Your Kelvin Benjamin/TE jokes are mean and incorrect.
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling: We've been waiting for MVS's field-stretching ability (4.37-second 40-yard dash) to truly manifest itself. He's ultimately surpassed 50 receiving yards in just 7-of-34 games. MVS played six total offensive snaps during the Packers' 2019 playoff run. Valdes-Scantling's catch rate slipped from 52% in 2018 to just 46% in 2019, making it hard to think a rebound in chemistry is on the horizon.
  • Jake Kumerow: Has averaged a more-than-solid 10.1 yards per target over the past two seasons. This earned him more playing time early in 2019, but the preseason stud would largely do nothing other than post a 2-54-1 line against the Raiders in Week 7.
  • Equanimeous St. Brown: Spent all of the 2019 season on the injured reserve list with a high ankle sprain. His 21-328-0 receiving line in 2018 sure didn't inspire much confidence in a potential future boom year.
  • Darrius Shepherd: 2019 undrafted free agent that was almost exclusively used as a returner.
  • Kabion Ento: 2019 undrafted free agent.
  • Malik Taylor: 2019 undrafted free agent.
  • Darrell Stewart: 2020 undrafted free agent.
  • Reggie Begelton: former-CFL player that was signed last January.

The TE room is expected to be led by Jace Sternberger, who displayed some NFL-ready receiving talent at Texas A&M in 2018 ... but keep in mind Jermichael Finley (767) is the only Packers TE to gain more than 700 yards in a season since Rodgers took over in 2008.

There's little doubt Adams is going to command an absolutely massive workload. I'd call him the frontrunner to lead the league in targets with full health in 2020. This should be fun to watch because ...

Adams is truly one of the league's top talents at the WR position

The Packers' No. 1 WR passes every test that you can think up when looking for great future fantasy production. Proven numbers? Check. Oodles of opportunity? No problem. Legit amazing skills? Absolutely.

Adams is still just 27 years old despite having racked up six years of NFL experience. For reference, noted-youngster Amari Cooper will be 26 in June.

This year's fantasy class of true overall WR1 contenders comes down to five players:

Adams should probably be the favorite to lead the group in targets. There are fair arguments to be made against pretty much everyone: Thomas (new presence of Emmanuel Sanders), Hill (offense's No. 2 target behind Travis Kelce), Hopkins (new offense and QB), and Jones (historically allergic to scoring and turned 31 last February).

Ultimately, I have Adams as my WR2 entering the 2020 season. A pissed-off version of Rodgers just might produce a total number of targets that starts with a two, and we have every reason to believe a player of Adams' caliber is capable of turning in a truly special season with that sort of workload.

Source URL: https://www.nbcsports.com/edge/article/nfl-player-profile/will-davante-adams-lead-nfl-targets