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Packers & Davante Adams face tough schedule against top receivers in 2018

Davante Adams has the hardest schedule in the NFL

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Davante Adams has never posted a 1000 yard season. That’s stupid, and mostly due to bad luck as Aaron Rodgers was lost for a good chunk of last season, when he probably would have gone over the mark. Furthermore, in 2016 Adams came up just 3 yards short, though he was still great that season. Adams is a bit of an odd receiver in that he’s not really a true downfield burner, but he is one of the shiftiest and most powerful runners in the sport. He is great at producing yards after the catch and he runs great routes, consistently breaking opposing ankles on his release, but he also drops a ball here and there, and all of that contact leads to nagging injuries now and then.

Adams is currently on pace for 1360 yards and about 13 touchdowns in 2018, which would constitute an excellent season, but Adams has only gone over 100 yards in a game once, and much of that was garbage time against Detroit. He remains a touchdown machine, but I think many anticipated a big leap this season, and while he’s been fine, many expected better. Adams ranks just 21st in DYAR and only 35th in DVOA, making him only slightly above average in terms of efficiency. As it turns out, there is a good reason for that, and if Davante is going to put up numbers this season, he’s really going to have to earn it. Earlier this season when I was doing my diligent fantasy research I noticed that Adams would be facing quite the gauntlet early in Kyle Fuller of the Bears, Xavier Rhodes of the Vikings, Josh Norman of Washington, Tre’Davious White of Buffalo, and Darius Slay of Detroit. I figured that after this start, he would make for a nice trade target as the schedule would undoubtedly get easier, but that is simply not the case.

Adams’ Gauntlet

Opp Rank v. #1 DVOA
Opp Rank v. #1 DVOA
Chicago Bears 3 -19.0
Minnesota Vikings 10 -10.6
Washington Redskins 11 -10.5
Buffalo Bills 7 -9.8
Detroit Lions 30 39.1
San Francisco 49ers 8 -10.9
Los Angeles Rams 12 -10.2
New England Patriots 29 24.3
Miami Dolphins 1 -32.6
Seattle Seahawks 6 -14.4
Minnesota Vikings 10 -10.6
Arizona Cardinals 2 -25.4
Atlanta Falcons 23 6.4
Chicago Bears 3 -19.0
New York Jets 21 4.6
Detroit Lions 30 39.1
AVERAGE 12.9 -3.7

The Packers play 16 games, and according to current DVOA rankings, he will face eleven top-12 defenses against #1 receivers in those 16 games. That is simply ridiculous, and it’s worth noting that Darius Slay, who I believe to be very good, and in my opinion, did a nice job on Adams until garbage time, is not ranked in that top 12. The only breaks Adams will see are against New England (29th), Atlanta (23rd) and the Jets (21st), but every other opponent (except Detroit if you believe the stats) is well above average against him.

On average, Adams will face the 13th-best defense in football with a -3.7 DVOA. (Negative numbers are better for defenses). Contrast that with Geronimo Allison (if healthy), who faces, on average, an 18th-ranked defense (against #2 outside WRs) at positive 4 DVOA. Allison will face 10 defenses ranked 18th or worse, while facing only three top 10 units. Randall Cobb, if he plays, faces a similarly easy slate, ranked 18th on average against slot receivers, with 7 defenses ranked 20th or worse and 3 ranked 30th or worse.

The Packer passing game has struggled this season, with almost everyone looking out of sorts, and one of the big reasons why may simply be the top-heavy nature of the Packer passing game facing some top-heavy secondaries. With Cobb and Allison hobbled, the Packers are relying on rookies to punch opponents where it really hurt, and that is largely playing into their hands. If they are going to turn on the afterburners, they need those two back in a big way, and Adams is going to have to show just how dominant he really can be. It’s not going to get easier.