Updated: Jul 26
The Las Vegas Raiders are one of the more interesting teams—albeit tougher—to forecast in 2022 because, frankly, the team looks entirely different than it did in 2021. Remember when Jon Gruden was an NFL Head Coach (again)? Good times.
The Raiders added football's best wide receiver, Davante Adams, selected RB Zamir White in the 4th round, and gave Josh McDaniels his first Head Coaching gig in over a decade.
It's a whole new ballclub.
That's exciting. But it also makes the Raiders tricky to project for fantasy purposes since we don't have much reliable—key word there—historical data to go off of. Here's what we do know...
What do we know about Josh McDaniels 👇
Josh McDaniels lasted just two seasons in his only stint as as NFL Head Coach back in 2009 and 2010 with the Denver Broncos. In those campaigns, his teams finished:
20th and 19th in scoring
15th and 13th in offensive yards
9th and 17th in plays run
9th and 7th in passing attempts
13th and 7th in passing yards
16th and 15th in passing TDs
14th and 27th in rushing attempts
18th and 26th in rushing yards
22nd and 12th in rushing TDs
TLDR: they were average-to-below-average across the board and would be considered more pass-heavy than run-friendly.
If nothing else, that's interesting since his QB was Kyle Orton (and a little bit of Tim Tebow) and, in the prior season as Offensive Coordinator of the Patriots with the 🐐 Tom Brady, New England finished 12th in pass attempts and 4th in rushing attempts.
Was that just a product of roster construction and game flow?
Does McDaniels have a different philosophy than the run-heavy Bill Belichick?
Does any of it really even matter since it was over a decade ago? Probably not. So let's look at more recent numbers.
The truth is, each of McDaniels last three seasons as an OC were vastly different, understandable since his last 3 QBs were rookie Mac Jones, washed Cam Newton, and the 🐐. Here's where NE landed statistically in the last 3 years:
7th (Brady), 27th (Newton) and 6th (Mac) in scoring
15th, 27th and 15th in yards
3rd, 29th and 21st in plays
5th, 31st and 26th in pass attempts
8th, 30th and 14th in passing yards
16th, 32nd and 15th in passing TDs
9th, 3rd and 8th in rushing attempts
18th, 4th and 8th in rushing yards
12th, 6th and 2nd in rushing TDs
So what, if anything, can we take from this?
Honestly, not much. BUT...it's at least worth noting that each of McDaniels' last three offenses were top 10 in rushing attempts, even when he had Tom Brady. In fact, even in 2018 and 2017—both with Brady—the Patriots landed at 3rd and 11th in rushing attempts.
So will McDaniels learn from his early head coaching mistakes and shed the pass-heavy approach? My guess is this offense is best approached as a middle ground between Mac Jones and Tom Brady. I'm expecting a balanced approach with a slightly pass-heavy lean.
Frankly, most of what's above is useless IMO, but hopefully it helps you understand where my brain is at as I'm evaluating the way the Raiders will conduct their business in 2022.
Derek Carr 📈
The Raiders went and acquired the best wide receiver in football, giving Derek Carr his best weapon since Amari Cooper left in 2018.
In three seasons without Cooper, Carr has averaged 14.4, 15.9 and 15.1 fantasy points per game (does not include rushing stats). That's an average of 15.1 fantasy points over those three years.
In three full seasons with Amari Cooper, Carr averaged 16.3, 17.2 and 13.5 fantasy points per game (15.7 on average).
Davante Adams > Amari Cooper.
Of course, fantasy football is not that simple—not even close. Still, there's reasons to be excited about Derek Carr in 2022.
Since we don't have much reliable data to work with, one of the best things we can do in this scenario is look at what Las Vegas—the gambling city, not the team—is expecting from Raiders players in 2022. With that in mind, here's a few notes...
Derek Carr is currently tied with Matthew Stafford for the 4th best odds of leading the NFL in passing yards behind just Justin Herbert, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes
He has the 10th best odds of leading the league in passing TDs
Most importantly/usefully, Vegas gave him an over/under of 29.5 TDs, 12.5 INTs and 4,550.5 passing yards. That would give him 274(ish) fantasy points across 17 games, or 16.1 fantasy points per game.
That would have slotted him at QB 12 last year and again, that does not include potential rushing statistics (granted, we know there's nothing there anyways).
Still, back end QB1/high end QB2 is about perfect for the 31-year-old signal caller and he should be approached as such in 2022 fantasy drafts.
Fantasy Drafts 🤷: Derek Carr is currently the QB 13 on Underdog, drafted around pick 106 (9th round). The cost is "fine" and he's best approached as a high-end QB2, but there's two QBs drafted after Carr that I'd rather have instead—Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins. Names drafted within 5 picks of Carr include Robert Woods, Dawson Knox, Chase Claypool, Aaron Rodgers, Ken Walker, Zach Ertz, Tyler Boyd, Rhamondre Stevenson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Melvin Gordon, Garrett Wilson and James Cook.
In redraft leagues, Carr is a better streamer option than a locked-in 17 game QB that I would spend a draft pick on.
In best ball leagues, I'd feel much better about him as a strong QB2 to go with a low-end QB1 than I would feel about him being my QB1.
Draft Kits: I have Carr in Tier 1D of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Kirk Cousins and Trey Lance.
Dynasty leagues: It could be argued that Carr's value right now—or after this season—is the best it will be from here on out. Davante Adams and Darren Waller will both be 30 before the season is over and Hunter Renfrew was JAG before last season.
Josh Jacobs 📉
2019 PPR points per game: 14.7 (RB 15)
2020 PPR points per game: 15.4 (RB 15)
2021 PPR points per game: 14.5 (RB 15)
Josh Jacobs is in the final year of his contract with the Raiders and likely to be wearing another uniform at this time next season. He's been fine—not spectacular—as a Raider, averaging 14.9 PPR points per game in 3 seasons and hovering on the low-end RB1/high-end RB 2 border.
Fine, not spectacular, is probably the perfect description for Jacobs' floor-ceiling combo, too. In 3 seasons, he's hit 15 or more PPR points in just 40.48% of his games—last year being easily his best at 50%.
The ceiling is not pretty. Jacobs has hit 20 or more PPR points in just 21.43% of his games (including just 7.14% last year) and he's hit 30 points just one time in his career (back in 2020).
He's usually good for at least 10 PPR points (he's hit double digits in 80.95% of his games) but you're not winning fantasy championships on that.
New Head Coach Josh McDaniels is unlikely to treat Jacobs as a workhorse, especially after handpicking Georgia's Zamir White in the 4th round of his first draft as the Raiders coach.
It's not likely but it's entirely possible that White is getting around 50% of the work before the season is over.
Vegas sportsbooks has Jacobs pegged for about 750 rushing yards and 7 rushing TDs. That would give him 117 fantasy points, not including receiving. If you tack on Jacobs' career receiving averages (35 catches for 247 yards and no TDs—he literally has zero TD receptions on 107 catches), he'd gain about 60 PPR points for a total of about 177 PPR points.
That would have landed him at the RB 22 overall last season.
(Sure, you could mention that Jacobs had his best receiving year last season—54 catches, 348 yards—but that he doesn't seem likely to match that with the new coach and added target competition of Davante Adams, a healthy Darren Waller and perhaps even Brandon Bolden)
Fantasy Drafts 🤷: Speaking of RB 22, that's exactly where Josh Jacobs is being drafted so far this season, around pick 63 (6th round). The cost itself is fine, but I'm usually drafting WRs in that range (or sometimes QBs). Within 5 picks in either direction of Jacobs are JK Dobbins, Kyler Murray, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Chris Godwin, Jalen Hurts, Elijah Mitchell, Dalton Schultz, Amari Cooper, Adam Thielen, and AJ Dillon. Murray, Godwin, Cooper and Thielen are usually the ones that have my attention in that range.
Draft Kits: I have Jacobs in Tier 2B of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Antonio Gibson, Breece Hall, Javonte Williams, Travis Etienne and Miles Sanders.
Dynasty Leagues: Josh Jacobs is fascinating in dynasty leagues. Still just 24 years old, he'll likely be on a new team next season. The question is whether or not the rest of the NFL views him as more of a committee back or if someone will pay him to be a workhorse in 2023. He's a gamble but, that said, his value is already pretty low. I'd hang onto him and see what happens.
Zamir White 📈
There's three key tidbits that the 22 year old 4th round pick out of Georgia has going for him right away...
1) Josh Jacobs is unlikely to be a Raider next year.
2) White was handpicked by Josh McDaniels in his first draft as the Raiders coach. They even traded up to get him. That's certainly not a bad sign.
3) He's athletic as hell and was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school before ACL issues derailed his collegiate career.
White is worthy of late round consideration with the hope that he works his way into the rotation sooner than later.
Fantasy Drafts 👍: White is currently the RB 63 on Underdog, drafted around pick 207 (18th round). I'm a huge fan at that cost considering Jacobs has missed at least 1 game in all three of his NFL seasons and the Raiders might want to get White on the field to see what he's got as they prepare to let Jacobs walk next offseason. Drafted within 5 spots of White in either direction are: Chris Evans, Logan Thomas, Terrace Marshall, John Metchie, Taysom Hill, Davis Mills, Odell Beckham, Mo Alie-Cox, Brevin Jordan, James Washington, Sony Michel, Zay Jones, Bryan Edwards, Donovan Peopls-Jones, D'Ernest Johnson and Hassan Haskins. My sights are usually set on Marshall, Michel, Johnson and White around this spot.
Draft Kits: I have White in Tier 3C of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Alexander Mattison, D'Ernest Johnson, Isaiah Spiller, Rachaad White, Trey Sermon, Khalil Herbert, D'Onta Foreman and more.
Dynasty Leagues: I have White around 23rd overall on rookie draft boards (so late 2nd round pick) at RB 6.
Kenyan Drake 📉
Kenyan Drake's first campaign in Vegas was one to mostly forget, registering under 10 PPR points in 58.3% of his games and averaging just 8.5 PPR points per game on the season (RB 49). He did crack 15 points twice and even 20 points once but honestly, like the rest of the Raiders, looking at last year probably doesn't matter that much.
Looking forward, the Raiders drafted Zamir White and signed special teamer/pass catcher Brandon Bolden who followed Josh McDaniels from New England. All of that is bad news for Kenyan Drake who, oh yeah by the way, is also coming off an ankle injury that'll leave him less than full speed when training camp starts (he said so himself).
After hammering Drake in 100+ best ball leagues before the NFL draft, I'm completely out on him now.
Fantasy Drafts 👎: Drake is the RB 68 on Underdog, drafted around pick 214 (18th round). Obviously that's pennies but I'm usually ignoring him and instead option for Sony Michel, D'Ernest Johnson, Jalen Guyton, Laviska Shenault, N'Keal Harry (lol sometimes), Sterling Shepard, Jauan Jennings, Trey Sermon, Tyler Conklin, Marquez Callaway, Tyler Badie and more who are also free.
Draft Kits: I have Drake in Tier 4A of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Jeff Wilson, Pierre Strong, James White, Jerick McKinnon, Damien Williams, Chris Evans and more.
Dynasty Leagues: Nothing to see here. Drake's dynasty value is hanging by a thread.
Davante Adams 📉
To take a quick stroll down narrative street, many—except us Packers fans—find it heartwarming that the best WR in football, Davante Adams, has been reunited with his college sweetheart, Derek Carr.
While Carr is instantly the worst QB Adams has ever had, Adams is instantly the best WR Carr has ever had. The next closest is Amari Cooper who hasn't played with since 2018.
Here are Cooper's stat lines in his three full seasons with Carr at QB:
- 130 targets, 72 catches, 1070 yards, 6 TDs (215 PPR points, woulda been WR 22 last year)
- 132 targets, 83 catches, 1153 yards, 5 TDs (228.3 PPR points, WR 16 last year)
- 96 targets, 48 catches, 680 yards, 7 TDs (158 PPR points, WR 37 last year)
Of course, Adams >>>> Cooper so we should expect even better, right?
Vegas—the sportsbook—certainly does, setting Adams' over/unders at 99.5 catches, 1200.5 yards and 10.5 TDs. That would put Adams at about 279 PPR points, which would have been the WR 7 last year ahead of Stefon Diggs.
That'll do. We should certainly not expect Raiders Davante Adams to produce like Packers Davante Adams—or even close to it—but he's still a top 12 option at the position.
Fantasy Drafts 🤷: Davante Adams is currently the WR 5 on Underdog, drafted around pick 11 overall. That's "fine" but I most often opt for options around Adams like Stefon Diggs, Dalvin Cook, Najee Harris, Travis Kelce and even D'Andre Swift.
Draft Kits: I have Adams in Tier 1B of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb and Mike Evans.
Dynasty Leagues: Adams will be 30 before the season ends. If you're not competing come the trade deadline, he's definitely someone to sell while you still can.
Hunter Renfrow 📉
Renfrow exploded onto the scene last year, finishing with 242.2 PPR points (WR 11) and averaging 15.1 per game (WR 18). He was 16th in the NFL in WR targets (123), 7th in catches (99), 16th in yards (1025) and 14th in TDs with a surprising 7.
He was able to hit 15 PPR points (or more) in 50% of his games while staying above 10 PPR points in 81.25% of his contests. The ceiling was low, hitting 20 points in just 18.75% of games and never hitting 30, but you're not expecting the 5'10" receiver to hit the ceiling anyways (get it?).
It was a fun story, but Renfrow doesn't seem likely to come close to that production again with Adams in the picture and Waller healthy (Waller missed 6 games last season which certainly helps explain Renfrow's target totals).
Vegas—the sportsbook—has Renfrow hovering around 77.5 catches for 800.5 yards and 5.5 TDs. That's about 187 PPR points which would have been the WR 29 last season. While I've been out on Renfrow all summer—personally I'd bet the unders on each of those—WR 29 is an intriguing thought when you see where Renfrow is drafted...
Fantasy Drafts 👎: Renfrow is currently the WR 38 on Underdog, drafted around pick 80 (7th round). He's a wholly unexciting selection at that spot, especially with so much talent and upside surrounding him at this point of the draft. Players drafted within 5 picks of Renfrow on either side include Antonio Gibson, Drake London, Russell Wilson, Miles Sanders, Trey Lance, Allen Lazard, Michael Thomas, Tony Pollard, Tom Brady, Kadarius Toney and Christian Kirk (honorable mention to Joe Burrow, DeAndre Hopkins, Dak Prescott and Brandon Aiyuk who are all in the vicinity as well).
Draft Kits: I have Renfrow in Tier 3B of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Elijah Moore, Darnell Mooney, Russell Gage and Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Dynasty Leagues: I personally think Renfrow's value is arguably the highest it will ever be and I'd look to sell him if I have him in dynasty leagues.
Darren Waller 📉
Waller had a season to forget in 2021, missing 6 games and totaling 129.3 PPR points (TE 16).
That said, he was still terrific when he did play, averaging 12.9 PPR points per game (TE 5).
He was predictably one of the safest options in the game when he did play, hitting 10 or more PPR points in 70% of his games (only Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce hit 10 more frequently at 75% and 73.3% respectively).
Of course, the ceiling was limited, hitting 20 PPR points just once all season.
Unfortunately, the downward trend seems likely to continue for the soon-to-be-30-year-old after the Raiders brought in some serious target competition in the best WR in football (Waller has essentially been the WR1 and feasted on targets in Vegas for the past 3 years).
To be clear, that simply means it's likely his league-best days are behind him. That doesn't mean he's not a more-than-viable TE option. It's exactly the same as Adams.
As it stands, Vegas—the sportsbook—currently has Waller slotted for about 71.5 catches, 850.5 yards and 5.5 TDs.
That would net him 186 PPR points, which would have been good enough for a TE 5 finish last year. I too am treating him as a top 5 option at the position, even if his top 2 days are behind him.
Fantasy Drafts 👍: Waller is currently the TE 4 on Underdog, drafted around pick 44 (4th round). I've selected him there more than a handful of times but I'm also targeting a lot of the names around him. Guys drafted within 5 picks of Waller on either side include Jaylen Waddle, Terry McLaurin, Ezekiel Elliott, Gabriel Davis, Diontae Johnson, Breece Hall, Justin Herbert, Cam Akers, Jerry Jeudy, Allen Robinson and Patrick Mahomes (note that George Kittle is TE 5 around pick 51). I've taken Waller a few times in this spot but would prefer McLaurin, Johnson, Akers, Jeudy and Robinson (and, in best ball, the occasional Gabe Davis).
Draft Kits: I have Waller in Tier 1B of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Kyle Pitts and George Kittle.
Dynasty Leagues: Unfortunately, the end is near for the inspiring former 6th round WR. Consider selling him this season if you're not in position to compete.
That's a wrap on the Las Vegas Raiders (for now)! If you prefer your content via YouTube, be sure to subscribe to the BBFF channel so you don't miss anything! Likewise, if Podcast is more your jam, don't forget to subscribe to the BBFF podcast!
Next up: the Kansas City Chiefs!