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2023 Fantasy Forecast: Las Vegas Raiders

@coachstevenp takes on the @Raiders offense, their outlook for 2023, and how that could impact their future dynasty values too.

The Raiders, in 2023, provided two elite fantasy options in Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs. The offense will change with new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback now. Do the young players step up, or do some of the new faces make an impact on the offense? The Raiders are trending in the wrong direction in 2023, which could affect these players’ long-term dynasty outlooks.

Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo

Garroppolo finds himself in a new town after signing a three-year, $72-million contract with the Raiders. As we all know, there is a clause in the contract that if he doesn’t pass his physical or gets hurt, then the team comes to cut him for the minimal salary cap hit. Garoppolo is only valuable as a QB3 for a contending dynasty roster. He has only played one entire season in his career, and just three times in his nine-year career has he played over ten games. Garoppolo was solid when he was on the field, averaging 18.9 fantasy points per game over his tenure in San Fran.

Availability will be key for this fantasy season and for a dynasty owner to trust him in 2023. He comes in knowing how to run the offense and how to do what is needed to move the chains. Jimmy G has struggled to push the ball down fields being 33rd in deep ball attempts and air yards in 2022. The upside in his career gives QB18 vibes. He likely shouldn’t be trusted as a reliable QB2 for any Superflex league. He will have Adams to throw the ball to, which helps, but availability is essential to a fantasy team.

The Back-Up Plan

The worst-case situation is that Jimmy G doesn’t pass his physical and is cut from the Raiders. That would leave journeyman Brian Hoyer, and rookie pick Aidan O’Connell to start the season. The last time Hoyer saw a significant opportunity in a game was in 2020. And he threw for 130 yards and finished with 7.6 fantasy points. He isn’t the backup worth stashing on a dynasty roster.

O’Connell reminds me of a healthy Garoppolo with his abilities. He is a tough and intelligent quarterback that worked his way on as a walk-on at Purdue. O’Connell combined for almost 8,000 passing yards and 50 touchdowns in his final two seasons in college. I’m willing to stash him as a depth piece in 2023, hoping he starts or even gets a nod at the beginning of 2024.

Running Back – Josh Jacobs

Jacobs was a pleasant surprise to dynasty owners. He finished as the RB3. He was tagged in his offseason and is now unhappy with his situation. We could see a holdout coming for him in 2023. As a dynasty owner, the time to sell Jacobs was way back in January because you’ll be trading for not his full value right now.

Assuming he plays in 2023, he should be in line for another high-volume season. Whether he will be as efficient in 2023 that’s the question. After a career-high in YPC, he was barely breaking 4.0 YPC. The offense took a hit with the release of Carr and the signing of Garoppolo. The offense threw the ball 40 times less than the prior season. Now they have a quarterback who hasn’t thrown over 500 passing attempts in a season yet.

The concern is that Jacobs holds out and misses time for your dynasty season. We have no control over that, but we know Jacobs has been a touchdown machine in Vegas. His season average is ten rushing touchdowns over his four seasons. You must be thrilled with that opportunity with touchdown upside as an owner. If Jacobs plays 17 games, he’ll be in line for another RB1 season. He is in the prime of his career. I’d expect the offense to lean on Jacobs if he signs, especially if the team has to release Garoppolo before the season.

The Next RB Up

If Jacobs does hold out or gets hurt during the season, players that could step up are a mix of Ameer Abdullah, Brandon Bolden, and Zamir White. Abdullah had the biggest role last season among the three, with 32 offensive targets. Bolden has known the offense that Josh McDaniels wants to run but didn’t contribute much on the offense. Both players should be on your waiver wire until they have a real opportunity in the offense.

The hope for owners who have hung on to White is that he finds a way to get on the field with Jacobs and especially start if Jacobs misses games. White was a fourth-round pick out of Georgia that went in early round three of rookie drafts in 2022. White looked good in the preseason last year, but we’ve seen from a McDaniels offense that a rookie doesn’t get much playing time. Look for the young running back to get more opportunities in 2023, and you should be looking to buy on the low to your dynasty season now.

Wide Receivers – Davante Adams

Big bad Adams continues to see downgrades at quarterback and is sitting at 31 years old. Adams will have to change his game in 2023 since he’ll likely be working with Garoppolo as his quarterback. He was top three in deep targets and air yards in 2022, and Jimmy G has been at the bottom of the rankings in deep attempts and air yards for most of his career. Adams will have to become more of a YAC receiver in 2023 to keep up with his offensive success. He was already top three in YAC in 2022, so he must do more to help his quarterback.

I’ve been fading Adams all offseason due to his age, as not many receivers can produce elite numbers past 30. He has more competition targets with receivers who fit the current quarterback skill set more. There was disagreement between McDaniels and Carr on how the targets should flow through the offense. Adams should still command over 100 targets, but the concern is that he doesn’t have another WR1 season with his to the situation. Adams is a decent WR1 for a contending team but should be looking to sell off before the season for anyone else.

Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Renfrow

The following two players will be possible flex or bench spots for your dynasty teams. Meyers signed a decent deal to come to the Raiders this off-season. Meyers played the slot a bunch for the Patriots, as he ranked top 25 in slot snaps the last three years. He put up solid WR3 numbers over that time as the team’s WR1. He won’t be the focal point with Adams on the roster, but he knows the McDaniels offense well. He’ll likely line up outside more with Renfrow, a strict slot receiver.

Meyers isn’t someone I’m overly active to have on the team since we aren’t sure how the target share will work with this team. He could be as high as second or as low as fourth in targets. If you want to acquire him, his value will likely drop over the next few months since he could be the team’s WR1 in 2024. 2023 doesn’t show enough promise for many dynasty owners unless he gets more slot opportunities.

Renfrow is a nice sleeper for dynasty owners to obtain before the season starts. He is just a year removed from a 1,000 yards and nine-touchdown season. While he may not possess that upside with Adams on the team, he fits the skills set for Garoppolo. Renfrow is the short area underneath receiver that should be a solid safety net for his quarterback. Due to his frame, he should play in the slot, but his target share is likely capped with Adams on the field. Both Meyers and Renfrow’s upside is WR3 at best, but decent bench pieces but preferably for a contending team rather than a rebuild due to their age.

Best of the Rest

If the top three receivers were to miss any time, I don’t expect anyone else to be fantasy relevant for the season. Keelan Cole and DeAndre Carter would be the next receivers up, but they are just two journeyman players I’m not holding on a dynasty team. Owners who selected Tre Tucker, the rookie receiver drafted in the third round, don’t have much outlook for 2023. He is likely on a dynasty owner’s taxi squad for the upcoming season to see if his role can expand in 2024.

Tight Ends – Michael Mayer, Austin Hooper

The tight ends for the Raiders will be an interesting offseason battle. Mayer was an early second-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft. He has a similar do-everything approach to George Kittle, and he’ll sometimes make an impact more as an NFL player than a fantasy player. We’ve seen rookies take time to see opportunity under McDaniels, so we’ll see if he gets used to his full potential. I’m not expecting too much as a rookie, and he should not be used as a TE 1 in 2023. We’ve seen young tight ends in the past under McDaniels, like Devin Asiai and Dalton Keene, be non-existent as a rookie or even in their careers. We will expect more from Mayer eventually, but it could be a quiet rookie season.

Hooper will likely get early work as the receiving tight end since he is only on a one-year deal. Hooper played decent with the Titans last year but only managed to average 3.3 fantasy points per game. Last season in Las Vegas, the tight position combined for 700 yards and five touchdowns. I’d expect the same for Hooper and Mayer to split the work and be inconsistent tight-end options for dynasty owners. Mayer is an excellent target for rebuilding teams since McDaniels is likely gone after the 2023 season.

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