2023 Dynasty Fantasy Football Free Agency Preview: Las Vegas Raiders
Published: Mar 09, 2023
Updated: Mar 09, 2023
Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach Josh McDaniels gave Derek Carr an honest shot at it but inevitably decided he’s not the quarterback of the future. Carr recently signed on with the New Orleans Saints for four years, $150 million so he’ll get a fresh start over there. The Raiders recently franchise tagged running back Josh Jacobs to go along with their other weapons Davante Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow so their next quarterback is landing in a fortuitous situation. The big question, of course, is who that will be. An Aaron Rodgers reunion with Davante Adams would be fun but a few guys like Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett also have a history with McDaniels. Will be interesting to see how that shakes out but let’s take a look at all the relevant offensive positions for fantasy football and what they could do.
With this series, we are taking a look at each NFL team to gauge the direction of the offense from a dynasty fantasy football perspective. Is this team gearing up for a Super Bowl run? Are they in the midst of a rebuild? Are they considering blowing it up? We’ll take all of that into account as well as the current contracts, upcoming free agents, and 2023 NFL draft class to give you our best recommendations on how to handle these weapons in your dynasty fantasy football leagues.
BUY - Attempt to acquire this player at or slightly above market value
HOLD - The player is likely more valuable than the market indicates. Hold them if you have them or try to acquire them at a discount.
SELL - The perceived value for this player is higher than the projected remaining value in your average dynasty league. Cash out now.
SELL/DROP - Depending on the depth of the league, always try to sell guys before dropping. But this player is likely not worth the bench spot he’s occupying so you might need to just drop them.
*Contract information is proved courtesy of Spotrac.com*
Las Vegas Raiders Quarterback
The Raiders have one quarterback under contract for 2023.
FREE AGENTS: Derek Carr, Jarrett Stidham
RESERVES/FUTURES: Chase Garbers
Free Agency/Draft Outlook:
The Raiders don’t really have any quarterbacks signed but that just means there is more to discuss here, not less. Derek Carr is gone and has signed with the Saints. Chase Garbers is technically inked for $870K but can be cut with zero dead cap (and he’s highly unlikely to be the starter). Jarrett Stidham is a free agent but he’s the closest thing tied to the team in terms of a guy ready to potentially start right now given his history with Josh McDaniels. Raider’s GM Dave Ziegler even said they would like to have him back but that would ideally be in a backup capacity. He’s not really a candidate to sign elsewhere to compete for the starting job so it’s pretty reasonable for them to bring him back.
Like many teams, the Raiders options at quarterback run the full gambit. Obviously they could draft a rookie QB. The top prize right now is Aaron Rodgers - a reunion with Davante Adams certainly would be intriguing as we mentioned. They could also sign a wide range of veteran quarterbacks, two of which know the system that Josh McDaniels runs in Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. The Raiders have a lot of options and a combination of something like Brissett AND a rookie QB isn’t off the table either.
Las Vegas Raiders Running Backs
The Raiders have three running backs under contract and two signed to future/reserve contracts.
Josh Jacobs - age 25
Contract: The Raiders placed the franchise tag on Jacobs which would be a one year contract worth just over $10 million, fully guaranteed.
Outlook: I’ve seen some people say the Raiders messed up by not picking up his fifth year option but that would have been ~$8 million by itself. They got a chance to see if Jacobs could carry the load without committing to him for another year and it only cost them an extra $2 million - that’s not a bad deal. The franchise tag lets them keep him for 2023 and it also doesn’t prevent him from signing a long term extension.
Dynasty Recommendation: BUY - I’ll admit that I was wrong about this one - I was concerned that Josh McDaniels and his modified Erhardt Perkins system was going to mean a split backfield like they had in New England for many years. That wasn’t the case as they absolutely fed Jacobs in both the run and pass game. The fact that they leaned on him for such heavy usage then decided they liked that enough to give him $10 mil fully guaranteed to bring him back has me pumped that he could potentially see similar usage in 2023 as well. He was just RB3 in PPR and he’s still only 25 so he legit has a case as the top RB in fantasy yet we don’t view him like that in dynasty. If you can swing a deal for him, do it.
Zamir White - age 23
Contract: Zamir White is under contract through 2025.
Outlook: The Jacobs situation is a tough blow for White holders as his path to relevancy likely depended on Jacobs vacating. Now he’s waiting at least another year to carve out a bigger role as Jacobs is a three down workhorse.
Dynasty Recommendation: HOLD - There’s really no sense trading him right now while everyone is looking at him as stuck behind Jacobs. Trading right after negative news doesn’t usually work that well. That being said, in the modern NFL, the franchise tag doesn’t necessarily mean Jacobs is playing for the Raiders this year. We’ve seen guys hold out (like Le’Veon Bell) and we’ve also seen teams use the tag as a negotiating chip in trades. If Jacobs were to have walked in free agency this year, the Raiders would at best have gotten a third round compensatory pick back. If they think they can get a third or better back in a trade, it’s worth tagging him rather than letting him walk. Either way, you can’t really trade White for much right now so just hang tight and see what happens.
Brandon Bolden - age 33
Contract: Brandon Bolden is under contract for 2023.
Outlook: Bolden is a valuable real life player because he not only serves as a backup RB but he contributes on kick coverage, kick return, punt coverage, AND punt return. That’s how he is going to make the roster as a 33 year old running back, if he makes it again. He can be cut with $2.25 mil in savings, $625K in dead cap.
Dynasty Recommendation: SELL/DROP - Unless you play in some weird format that has points for tackles on special teams, he doesn’t need to be held.
FREE AGENTS: Ameer Abdullah
RESERVE/FUTURES: Sincere McCormick, Austin Walters
Free Agency/Draft Outlook:
With Josh Jacobs back and Zamir White on the roster, they really just need to worry about depth for the short term. One more back that is capable in some facet on offense if need be while contributing on special teams would do it for 2023. For the long term, if they can’t figure out an extension for Jacobs, maybe they do think about taking a stab in the draft. What they do with free agency and the draft will tell us a lot about the possibility of a long term extension for Jacobs.
Las Vegas Raiders Wide Receivers
The Raiders have two wide receivers under contract for 2023 with three signed to reserve/future deals.
Davante Adams - age 30
Contract: Davante Adams is under contract through 2026 on a gigantic five year, $140 million dollar deal. There aren’t really any reasonable outs from the contract until 2025.
Outlook: Davante Adams was Davante Adams once again in 2022 - he was WR3 in PPR and his 180 targets was second only to Justin Jefferson. The concern for him is QB related but this player is going to be in your lineup no matter what regardless of who is throwing the ball.
Dynasty Recommendation: BUY - We always talk about “age apex” and the window for guys, especially with running back since they can fall off the cliff early. For WR, it’s technically in the 26-29 range and Adams is 30 but we’ve seen elite players transcend that. Guys like Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Wes Welker etc. had their best statistical seasons at 30. Brandon Marshall had his at 31. The second best WR season all time in full PPR was Jerry Rice at age 33. And, when I watch this video of Davante Adams talking about why he left the Packers, I don’t see a guy who thinks he’s at the tail end of his career. I see a guy who cares deeply about his legacy and actually left because he was concerned that Aaron Rodgers only had a couple more years left. Does that sound like something you would say if you believed YOU only had a couple more years? Adams is a guy I’m buying in dynasty and throwing in my lineup until the wheels fall off.
Hunter Renfrow - age 27
Contract: Hunter Renfrow is under contract through 2025
Outlook: A lot of us recognized Hunter Renfrow’s talent but I don’t think many anticipated that top 10 WR season he had in 2021. That’s been propping up his overall dynasty value.
Dynasty Recommendation: SELL - The reality of that 2021 season for Renfrow is that he wasn’t a top 10 WR all year. He was WR24 in the 10 games when Darren Waller was healthy and he was the WR4 in the games when Waller was hurt. Now he’s competing with Davante Adams and Darren Waller which is not good for a slower, low aDot guy who needs a lot of targets. In the Waller section below, we discuss why we don’t think Waller is getting moved so the best bet for Renfrow to have upside is either a trade or an injury to Adams or Waller. I’d rather just cash out on Renfrow now in dynasty. That honestly should have happened right after his 2021 outlier season.
RESERVE/FUTURE: Tyler Johnson, Chris Lacy, DJ Turner
FREE AGENTS: Mack Hollins, Keelan Cole
Free Agency/Draft Outlook:
The Raiders need wide receivers - there is no question. Davante Adams is a full time guy on the outside. Hunter Renfrow is best used as a slot guy who comes out for two WR sets. They can line Waller up at WR at times with an inline tight end but they at least need a third wide receiver, especially someone who can stretch the field as Adams and Renfrow aren’t particularly fast. They could bring back Mack Hollins. As far as free agents, guys like Nelson Agholor or Chosen Anderson (formerly Robbie/Robby Anderson) can probably be had for cheap. Or they can look to the draft. On top of a speedy flanker, they still need additional depth as you can’t just ride with two or three guys - they realistically need at least five or six on the roster. So bringing in a veteran that plays on offense, a veteran that plays special teams and serves as a backup, then also drafting one or two guys isn’t out of the question. And, with Adams, Waller, Renfrow, and Jacobs all on the team, whoever they add is going to have an uphill battle for fantasy relevancy in the short term.
Las Vegas Raiders Tight Ends
The Raiders have one tight end under contract and one signed to a reserve/future contract.
Darren Waller - age 30
Contract: Darren Waller is under contract through 2026.
Outlook: When Waller broke out, he wasn’t a “new” player but more of a “new to us” player as he had a now widely reported absence from the league before breaking out at age 27. Since then he’s been an absolute stud but that’s why he somehow seems younger to us than he actually is. He popped on the scene and had his first 1,000 yard season at 27 vs. someone like Kyle Pitts who had his at age 21.
Dynasty Recommendation: HOLD - I’m holding Waller as I firmly believe he’s the second best pass catching option on the team after Davante Adams and, unlike Hunter Renfrow, you can start him at tight end in fantasy. At the combine, Josh McDaniels recently talked about Waller’s struggle with injuries and how he believes Waller looked great at the end of last year and will be a big part of what they do moving forward. It’s that last bit that is most interesting to me as it pours a bit of cold water on all the trade rumors that have been floating around regarding Waller. And it’s why we are buying Davante Adams, holding Waller, and selling Renfrow.
FREE AGENTS: Jesper Horsted, Foster Moreau
RESERVE/FUTURES: Cole Fotheringham
Free Agency/Draft Outlook:
They obviously need depth behind Waller, especially given his injury history. I know that there are some folks holding onto Foster Moreau with high hopes but he really has been good in that role and would be a great candidate to bring back. The other options are to draft a young backup or use multiple guys with complementary skill sets to fill out the roster. A combination of someone like Drew Sample as a blocking tight end with Anthony Firkser as a pass catching tight end could do it too.
Follow Andrew Cooper on Twitter @CoopAFiasco for more NFL and fantasy football insights and stay tuned as we hit on all 32 NFL teams in this series leading into NFL free agency!
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