The Atlanta Falcons enter a new era with first-year head coach Arthur Smith, but QB Matt Ryan remains at the helm of what hopes to be a productive offense. The running back position underwent a complete overhaul with Todd Gurley and Brian Hill gone. Mike Davis and Qadree Ollison were competing for the starting job throughout the offseason.
UPDATE: The Falcons have released Ollison and signed Wayne Gallman, per Michael Rothstein. Gallman is a solid pass blocker, which could get him some work once he gets up to speed. For now though, Davis is the guy.
Davis was always expected to be the starter when he joined the Falcons and the team’s official depth chart lists him as the top running back. Davis was saved during the preseason so he wouldn’t get injured while Ollison ran as the lead back, i.e. the backup. He would likely get the bulk of the work if Davis goes down, so is worthwhile to roster in deep leagues, but he’d mostly be a waiver wire add if Davis missed time.
Fantasy football implications
When Christian McCaffrey was injured, Davis took over the lead back for the Carolina Panthers last season. He put up 642 yards and averaged 3.89 yards per carry while adding 373 receiving yards. Davis averaged 13.6 carries per game in his starts, so the volume will be there even if the efficiency isn’t great. That means fantasy owners can expect steady production from the running back, but Davis isn’t someone worth using an early pick on.