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2023 Player Outlooks: Las Vegas Raiders

By HC Green | 7/18/23 |

QB Jimmy Garoppolo
(2022 QB Rank: No.26, 18.3 FPts/G)

After nearly a decade with Derek Carr under center, the Raiders are set to turn the starting job over to Garoppolo, who went 38-17 as a starter during a six-year run with the 49ers. He also won four playoff games, though San Francisco ultimately fell short of a championship. The issue with Jimmy G, of course, is durability, as he played a full season just once during his time there. That includes 2022, when he suffered a foot injury in early December that kept him sidelined for the rest of the year.

Beyond the medical red flags, Garoppolo has another serious problem, at least for fantasy owners: he’s pretty much just a game manager. Outside of 2019, when he threw for 3,987 yards and 27 TDs, the veteran has never thrown for more than 20 TDs in a season and just once has he topped 2,500 yards. Garoppolo is a pure pocket passer as well, rushing for just 225 yards in 74 career games. While he’s never had anyone as singularly talented as Davante Adams, that’s not enough to elevate Jimmy G beyond borderline top-25 status at the position.

RB Josh Jacobs
(2022 RB Rank: No.3, 19.4 FPts/G)

A year ago, the Raiders were so unimpressed by Jacobs that they decided not to pick up his fifth-year option after he managed just 872 yards in 2021. That was a miscalculation. Under new head coach Josh McDaniels, Jacobs became the focal point of Las Vegas’ offense, and he responded by setting career highs in carries (340), rushing yards (1,653 -- that led the NFL), and receiving yards (400). He also caught 53 passes and matched a personal best with a dozen touchdowns.

It was a redemptive season for the Alabama product, and not surprisingly the Raiders wound up having to use the franchise tag to keep him off the market. That’s made things a bit dicey for 2023, as Jacobs and the team couldn’t agree on a long-term deal, and there are rumblings that he could hold out through training camp and possibly into the regular season as well. There’s also a possibility that his heavy workload last year, where he logged 393 combined touches, could cause durability problems, which is something we saw last year with Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor.

Assuming he decides to sign his franchise tender and not miss regular season action, Jacobs enters 2023 as a solid RB1. While the issue of last year’s heavy usage is real, he’s only 25 and has been mostly durable during his four seasons.

RB Zamir White
(2022 RB Rank: No.131, 0.6 FPts/G)

White was a popular sleeper in drafts leading up to the start of last season, but he ended up hitting the snooze button throughout his rookie year, posting just 17 carries in 14 games while never even being targeted as a receiver out of the backfield. He logged only 40 snaps, well below veterans Ameer Abdullah (175) and Brandon Bolden (82), but White was a fourth-round pick of the current regime, and if they look to scale back Jacobs’ touches, he offers the most potential to do something positive with them. If he can secure the No. 2 job, White could be a late-round handcuff target and perhaps more if Jacobs holds out.

Davante Adams

WR Davante Adams
(2022 WR Rank: No.3, 19.7 FPts/G)

Although no one truly doubted Adams could remain an elite talent without Aaron Rodgers, it was still nice to see him prove it a year ago, catching 100 passes for 1,516 yards and 14 touchdowns from the combination of Carr and Jarrett Stidham. It marked the fourth time in the last five years that Adams has reached triple digits in receptions, topped 1,350 yards, and scored double-digit TDs. While others may have surpassed the 30-year-old wideout physically, he remains arguably the best route runner in the business, and his red-zone exploits are elite with 83 touchdowns over the past seven seasons.

Durability is another strong suit. After playing all 17 games in 2022, Adams has now missed two games or fewer in all but two of his nine NFL campaigns, and he’s never appeared in less than 12. Partnering with Garoppolo probably represents the low-water mark in terms of talent at the position, not counting games started by backups, but Jimmy G can deliver the ball on time, and the veteran QB been around long enough to know he needs to feed the ball to a player of Adams’ caliber. Adams remains a solid WR1, though he should go after names like Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase.

WR Jakobi Meyers
(2022 WR Rank: No.29, 13.0 FPts/G)

Following four seasons with the New England Patriots, Myers signed in Las Vegas during the offseason, reuniting him with his former offensive coordinator. During his time with the Pats, Myers averaged 59 receptions, 690 yards, and 2 TDs -- his struggles in the red zone were well documented entering 2022 as he had only a pair of scores on 168 career grabs, but he posted a half-dozen touchdowns on 67 catches a season ago to wipe away some of the stigma.

In essence, Meyers replaces Mack Hollins, whose 57-690-4 line put him second on the club in all three major receiving categories. His skill-set as a possession receiver feels a bit redundant to Hunter Renfrow, though at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, the former undrafted free agent will line up on the outside opposite Adams and figures to serve as the No. 2 target in the passing game. It’ll be interesting to see if Meyers’ output improves with Adams drawing coverage, or if going from the primary to a secondary read will chip away at it instead. Meyers could be targeted as a quality WR4.

WR Hunter Renfrow
(2022 WR Rank: No.92, 8.1 FPts/G)

When Adams arrived from Green Bay, fantasy owners envisioned the triumvirate of Adams, Darren Waller, and Renfrow putting up big-time numbers. Only Adams delivered. In fairness, Waller and Renfrow dealt with injuries, but seeing the Clemson product go from 103 catches, 1,038 yards, and 9 touchdowns in 2021 to a 36-330-2 line across 10 games was a major disappointment.

Undersized at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Renfrow was always a player that maximized his talent, but as he enters his age-28 season you must wonder if the lack of athleticism will become an issue. There’s also issues about his fit in McDaniels’ offense -- his big year came under former OC Greg Olson -- and chemistry with Garoppolo, who might be more apt to feed the mouths ahead of him on the depth chart. A year ago, Renfrow was draftable as a WR3. This year, he’s no better than a late-round curiosity.

TE Michael Mayer

While Austin Hooper is the likely Week 1 starter, Mayer is the more interesting name to know for fantasy owners. The Notre Dame product was considered by many to be the safest tight end selection in a deep class, and Las Vegas may have gotten a nice value when they plucked him with the fourth pick of the second round. Mayer is a plus blocker and an advanced route runner, and one that should only get better working with a master like Adams.

Working against him, however, is the long history of tight ends struggling to make an immediate impact as they move from the college game to the pros, and the presence of a veteran like Hooper ensures the Raiders won’t need to push it. You can put Mayer on your watch list, but that’s it.

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