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2023 Fantasy Football Preview: Las Vegas Raiders

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Player Outlooks (2023)


QB Jimmy Garoppolo: Derek Carr wasn’t a fit for Josh McDaniels last year, but Garoppolo is well-versed in “The Patriot Way” having started his career in New England, so there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve while playing under McDaniels once again. A projected weakness on the backend for the Raiders should result in them needing to win shootouts (especially in the AFC West), and Garoppolo has elite career marks in both yards per attempt (8.3) and yards per completion (12.2) if the eye test isn’t enough for you to believe in his talent. The expectation is that Jimmy G will be healthy and can provide QB2 value as an overlooked option.


RB Josh Jacobs: Jacobs was the classic case of betting on talent last year, as he became the offensive engine of Las Vegas to earn first-team All-Pro honors with the team running almost exclusively through him and Davante Adams. However, Jacobs has made it known that he’s taking a stand for the running back position while seeking a long-term deal, and it sounds very possible that he holds out into the regular season rather than playing on the franchise tag. Ideally, you’ll hold your draft around Labor Day to get a better idea of the situation and Jacobs’ appeal as a first-round candidate.


RB Zamir White: There seemed to be a chance of White being the lead back for the Raiders last season after he was taken in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft and Jacobs played in the Hall of Fame Game, but the then-rookie only played 40 snaps across 14 games—rushing 17 times for 70 scoreless yards. The door is open for White if Jacobs does indeed holdout, and he’d provide RB2 potential as the starter.


RB Ameer Abdullah: Abdullah was brought back this offseason after catching 25-of-32 targets for 211 yards and a touchdown last year, and he could see an expanded role if the Raiders have a Zamir White-led backfield. Still, the veteran would likely be limited to deep FLEX value in larger PPR formats, and he’d carry little standalone value if Jacobs is in uniform.


RB Brandon Bolden: There was a time when Bolden looked like the No. 2 running back in 2022, and he was efficient by catching nine-of-nine targets for 57 yards and a touchdown. Special teams proved to be where he provided the most value, though, and Bolden will probably have a similar role for the team this year.


RB Brittain Brown: Brown didn’t see any offensive action as a rookie, but the Raiders drafted him in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft, and he’s someone we really liked coming out of UCLA. It’s entirely possible that Brown would carve out a significant role if Jacobs doesn’t report, so dynasty owners should at least monitor him this summer.


WR Davante Adams: Being traded from Green Bay to Las Vegas didn’t lead to a drop-off for Adams, as he paced the league in touchdown receptions for the second time in three seasons while seeing a career-high 180 targets in Josh McDaniels’ offense. For those concerned about the fit with Jimmy Garoppolo, the quarterback helped Deebo Samuel go for 1,405 receiving yards in 2021, and Adams can do a ton of damage on shorter passes. With no signs of losing a step entering his age-30/31 season, Adams should at least be a midrange WR1 option.


WR Jakobi Meyers: The Raiders signed Meyers to a three-year, $33-million deal this offseason, and he’s a wideout that Josh McDaniels helped develop as a former undrafted free agent for the Patriots. Rumors of a trade/release for Hunter Renfrow seem to have been misguided, but Meyers has proven effective both in the slot and on the outside—and Las Vegas is going to need to put up points to win games. Consider him more of a high-floor option to consider in the double-digit rounds.


WR Hunter Renfrow: He missed seven games due to injury, but Renfrow not becoming an “X-factor” in Josh McDaniels’ offense was one of the biggest shocks of 2022. But if Renfrow stays healthy, we’ll fall back on the logic from a year ago with him having the skillset out of the slot and moving the chains to make him the kind of player that has historically had success in the Raiders’ current system. That paired with Jimmy Garoppolo’s pinpoint accuracy between the numbers makes Renfrow a prime bounce-back candidate.


WR Tre Tucker: Tucker was projected to be selected in the middle of Day 3, so the Raiders taking him at the end of the third round was a bit of a surprise. The movement skills and scheme made it a good landing spot, but Tucker could primarily be used in the return game in 2023 if Adams, Meyers, and Renfrow remain healthy.


WRs Phillip Dorsett, Keelan Cole, and DeAndre Carter: The depth at wide receiver will be settled in training camp, and there might only be room for two of the veterans to make it as things currently stand. Dorsett spent three seasons in New England and seemed to be a priority signing in the spring, so he could have the edge as a situational deep threat. For Cole, he’s a extremely hard worker, and Carter flashed with the Chargers on offense last year after being an above-average returner for most of his career.


TE Michael Mayer: An impressive NFL prospect that maybe should have gone in the first round of April’s draft, Mayer is an all-around tight end with size, ball skills, strength, and feel for the game. Las Vegas also added Austin Hooper and O.J. Howard this offseason to complicate his path to targets, but Mayer having experience with traditional in-line duties might make him the clear No. 1 on the depth chart sooner rather than later. Jimmy Garoppolo’s health and the number of touchdowns he’s able to bring in will determine Mayer’s value as a rookie.


TE Austin Hooper: Hooper has been unable to emerge over the past three seasons with Cleveland and Tennessee after ending his Falcons tenure with a 75/787/6 line, and now he lands on a depth chart with three solid options at the position. The former Stanford standout will be an unpredictable play that should have some solid weeks when he finds the end zone.


TE O.J. Howard: Howard began his career with 11 touchdowns in his first 24 games and averaging 11.5 yards per target over that span, but injuries have seemed to impact his upside with limited explosiveness in recent years. The best-case scenario would be vertical upside being re-unlocked under McDaniels, but the usage isn’t expected to be consistent enough to count on as a fantasy option.


Other Notes


Best IDP value: CB David Long Jr.

Defense is again expected to be a weakness for the Silver and Black in 2023, but they’ll be counting on “value” signings to step up. While we really like safety Jaquan Johnson, the path to snaps is clearer for Long at cornerback, and he should get plenty of opportunities to make plays in the high-powered AFC West. The 25-year-old is a former third-round pick that spent his first four seasons with the Rams.


Stat to know (via draft guide)

Hunter Renfrow led the NFL in catch percentage on third down (86.2%) in 2020 and 2021.