Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will be thinking about all aspects of the dynasty season. Those managers who are keen enough to look ahead will be the ones that can grab themselves an edge over the competition. A large portion of the dynasty off-season will be spent discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager that is in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage come April by building an entire picture of how the 2023 class will play out. Those that prepare ahead will not be often surprised at the outcomes.
Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to ProFootballFocus. Team needs are also generated from this site. Compensatory picks have not been assigned and are not included in this exercise.
2022 Season Recap
Like most teams picking inside the top ten, the 2022 campaign was disappointing for the Las Vegas Raiders. The AFC West had turned into an arms race during the 2022 off-season, with all four teams making significant moves to restructure their rosters for the 2022 season. For the Raiders, these moves included the trade for receiver Davante Adams and the signing of free-agent defensive end Chandler Jones. They also shored up some of their players by giving contract extensions to tight-end Darren Waller and receiver Hunter Renfrow.
The roster was bolstered, but unfortunately, the product on the field did not reflect the investment. First-year head coach Josh McDaniels struggled as the leader of this team. Derek Carr had one of his best years in 2021, and the addition of college teammate Davante Adams seemed like a no-brainer to unlock more production. However, Carr has regressed, and the team is currently shopping him around. Heading into 2023, there are more questions than answers in Las Vegas.
2023 Free Agent Departures
In proper Raider fashion, the team declined the fifth-year option on running back Josh Jacobs just to have him lead the league in rushing this season. Jacobs will be looking for a big payday this offseason, which might be a price the Raiders aren’t willing to pay. Running back Ameer Abdullah will also be hitting free agency this off-season.
Several pass-catching options will be entering free agency in the next few months. Wide receivers Mack Hollins and Keelan Cole will hit the open market. Both will also be 30 before the 2023 season kicks off. The tight end room will be losing Foster Moreau and Jesper Horsted. Any one of these players can be re-signed to the Raiders.
1.07 – C.J. Stroud, QB Ohio State
To kick off this mock draft, we will work under the assumption that the Las Vegas Raiders can find a home for Derek Carr while also not bringing in a veteran quarterback. This is not guaranteed to happen, but it is fun to come up with different scenarios this time of year. The way this mock played out, we were fortunate enough to have Stroud fall to us at the seventh pick.
Over the next few weeks, the Young versus Stroud, and maybe Levis, debate will be a fun one that we will all grow tired of hearing about. Stroud was a two-year starter after his redshirt freshman year, where he sat behind Justin Fields. Through his 25 games as a starter, Stroud compiled 85 touchdowns with just 12 interceptions. He led Ohio State to a Rose Bowl title in 2021 and the College Football Playoffs in 2022.
This is a great landing spot for Stroud. He gets two things preferred for young quarterbacks; a receiver who can gain separation immediately and a big-bodied pass-catching tight end. I expect Stroud to feed Adams and Darren Waller, making them easily top-twelve options at their respective positions for 2023. The ancillary pieces of this offense may suffer as a result, and I wouldn’t expect any of them to be fantasy viable. The only question that remains is how well head coach Josh McDaniels can work with a young quarterback. He hasn’t done so in the past, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable.
2.38 – Kelee Ringo, CB Georgia
The Las Vegas Raiders were one of the worst coverage units in the NFL last season. They ranked second to last behind only the Chicago Bears in EPA per play per dropback, a very effective metric when judging coverage units. In addition, Rock Ya-Sin will be a free agent in the 2023 off-season. This is the perfect time for the Raiders to invest in the secondary.
Ringo was a two-year starter on the nation’s best defense in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He projects as a day-one NFL starter but with plenty of room to improve. Ringo has elite size and athleticism and will be tested in a high-powered AFC West. He can improve his change of direction skills but will significantly contribute to this defense.
3.70 – Andrew Vorhees, G USC
The Raiders had a pronounced weakness on the interior of their offensive line. Just check out their Week 18 matchup against the Chiefs, where interior defender Chris Jones had two sacks. The Raiders aren’t losing an interior lineman to free agency, but I am sure their fanbase wishes they were! Vorhees can be a day-one starter along the offensive line. He is the top-ranked interior lineman on some industry big boards, and the Raiders were blessed to get him here in the third.
4.109 – Kendre Miller, HB TCU
As mentioned earlier in this article, the running back room in Las Vegas has the potential for a significant shake-up during the 2023 off-season. Both Jacobs and Ameer Abdullah are slated to hit free agency. However, after leading the league in rushing this year, there is a chance the Raiders will make re-signing Jacobs a priority. Regardless of who gets a new deal, 2022 fourth-rounder Zamir White will still be on the roster.
Kendre Miller is a true junior who started the entire season for the TCU Horned Frogs. During the 2022 season, he was able to put together 1,399 rushing yards at an impressive 6.3 yards per carry. He was also top ten in the nation with 16 rushing touchdowns. Kendre has a nose for the endzone and exhibits great patience when allowing his offensive line to develop in front of him. He has all the capabilities of being an effective piece of a running back rotation.
If Miller were the pick here, we would have to imagine that Jacobs will be on the move, and this backfield would consist solely of Miller and second-year White. This would be very similar to what head coach Josh McDaniels employed in New England with a multi-back rotation. In years past, we have seen fantasy producers out of the New England backfield, although choosing which is more effective has always been an issue.
5.142 – Jarrett Patterson, G Notre Dame
Patterson was a four-year starter at Notre Dame. He spent three seasons as the starting center before switching to left guard in 2022. Throughout his over 1,400 snaps as a starter, he allowed exactly zero sacks. That is a very impressive feat. Patterson would come in as a day-one starter along the Raiders’ offensive line and has the versatility to play either center or guard. With Voorhees playing right guard, the Raiders would have the flexibility to pursue either a center or left guard in free agency and allow Patterson to fill in the last spot. With one draft class, the Raiders have the potential to turn this line around.
5.174 – Josh Whyle, TE Cincinnati
With Foster Moreau hitting free agency and Waller hitting the age of 31, the Raiders must begin backfilling the tight end position. They have an out on Waller’s contract in the 2024 offseason, and with a down 2023 season, cutting a 32-year-old declining tight end might be an option for them. The search for Waller’s replacement should begin now.
Whyle profiles better as a pass-catcher than he does as a blocker, which is perfect for the Las Vegas Raiders. In 2022, Waller was asked to block on just 85 of his 345 snaps. That is about a quarter of his snaps, which is a role Whyle is perfectly designed for. Whyle may make a great late-round tight end in your rookie drafts. Your leaguemates may be unaware that he is primarily a pass-catching and not a blocking tight end.
6.182 – Chamarri Conner, S Virginia Tech
Conner is a fourth-year senior from Virginia Tech. During his college career, he played every position in the defensive secondary and displayed the versatility to be deployed everywhere. In addition, he has over 800 career special team snaps. Conner will provide some nice depth on a cheap rookie deal and be a key special teams contributor. It may not be the most exciting pick, but for a cash-strapped team it is a vital one.
6.216 – Jerrod Clark, DI Coastal Carolina
Clark has one of the more interesting careers in this draft class. He initially committed to Coastal Carolina as a tight end before undergoing a body transformation and switching to a nose tackle in 2019. He added 85 pounds to his body and made a difference along the defensive line as a three-year starter. Clark is a very raw prospect having only three years of experience at the position. However, in the sixth round, the investment is worth it if Clark becomes a starting-level defensive lineman.
7.223 – Derius Davis, WR TCU
Davis is an electric and dynamic player from TCU. In his time as a Horned Frog, Davis split time between slot receiver and return specialist. He was extremely powerful on special teams, returning five punts and one kickoff for touchdowns. Working primarily out of the slot, Davis can serve as a replacement for free agent Foster Moreau. If he is able to develop as a successful slot receiver, he can eventually provide leverage off of the Hunter Renfrow contract. I would not expect much fantasy production from Davis unless you play in a league that provides points for return yardage.
7.253 – Anthony Bradford, G LSU
Bradford was a four-star recruit coming out of high school with offers from Georgia, Bowling Green, Alabama, and Tennessee. Bradford eventually committed to LSU. Measuring 6’5” and 355 pounds, Bradford was a starter during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. When starting at right guard, he allowed only three sacks. He may never start for Las Vegas, but offensive line depth is something that often goes overlooked.
2023 Fantasy Impact
This 2023 draft class will have an immense impact on the fantasy relevancy of the Las Vegas Raiders. Starting at the top, Stroud will be the main difference maker when valuing players on this roster. In this scenario, Carr is on the move, and the only decision left at quarterback is whether or not the Raiders want to bring in a veteran to start Week One. Stroud will eventually take over this offense and will be a QB2 option at worst with such powerful pass-catching weapons.
Adams and Waller will continue to be top twelve fantasy options at wide receiver and tight end. If anything, this is an upgrade for these two, as Stroud will target them at an above-average clip. The additions of Whyle and Davis won’t impact these two but will provide some much-needed depth and the possibility of development into starters long-term.
One of the most underlooked but pivotal upgrades from this draft will be along the offensive line. Adding two starters along the interior plus some depth will be key to any success the Raiders’ offense might see in 2023. If they can acquire either a center or guard in free agency, they should have the makings of an effective offensive line. Obviously a plus for fantasy options on the Las Vegas Raiders.
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I hope you enjoyed this piece in our Draft Nerds series. Be sure to check back often, as we will cover all 32 NFL franchises. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!
How many teams are you guys going to send cj stroud to?
We are approaching each draft individually so there will likely be several players that are drafted on multiple teams. When we run the simulation the only team we are drafting for is the subject team. The rest are autodrafted based on the systems generated needs. Hope this helps explain it.
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