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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Mike Davis No. 62

Mike Davis comes in at 62 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis with the ball in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Davis was called into heavy usage last season with Panthers starting running back Christian McCaffrey missing the bulk of the year due to injuries. He filled in admirably, starting 12 games and putting up 1,015 total yards and eight touchdowns. Smith has now moved on to Atlanta will he will serve as the starting back after Todd Gurley, Ito Smith and Brian Hill were let go. Opportunity is king and Smith will have all he can handle.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official and often updated fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 62, Mike Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Smith joins the Falcons as the team appears to have decided to go the cheap route at running back. Smith is an average back, but is also a complete back. In Carolina he saw 70 targets and caught 59 of those passes. He also averaged just 3.9 yards per carry.

Competition for touches

Here is why Davis is so high on the list. He has little competition for touches with Cordarrelle Patterson, Qadree Ollison and Tony Brooks-James behind him on the depth chart. He also is proficient on third downs as a blocker and receiver, which should keep him on the field. We can’t expect huge numbers, but we can expect plenty of touches for a cheap fantasy price.

Team offensive expectations

The Falcons traded away Julio Jones, but did draft tight end Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 pick. They haven’t completely tanked their offense and with Calvin Ridley as the No. 1 receiver, they will still be able to move the ball. And with

What’s his upside?

Davis’ upside all depends on health and work in the passing game. With a weak defense, the Falcons should need to score late in games and dump it off to Davis plenty in hurry up and with no true competition for touches, his floor should be solid. His upside isn’t going to be high, so don’t pay for it in drafts, but usage will keep him consistent.

What’s his downside?

Overall Davis’ downside isn’t awful since we aren’t expecting big upside. All signs point to him sticking as the starter as long as he’s healthy. His downside would likely be tied to a big dip in offensive productivity overall for Atlanta, which would limit Davis’ touches and scoring possibilities.

Projection

220 attempts, 950 yards, 6 touchdowns — 55 receptions, 315 yards, 2 touchdowns