This is the first edition in a fantasy football series for the Las Vegas Raiders’ 2022 season. To start the year, we will take a look at some of the top Raiders fantasy football position players, as well as the defense. Scoring projections will be based on PPR formats with four-point passing touchdowns. Stay tuned for our fantasy tracker once the season gets underway following Sunday’s matchup.
Previewing Raiders Fantasy Football
Derek Carr, Quarterback
Fantasy Projection: 296 points
This might finally be the year that Derek Carr breaks into the top 10 quarterbacks in fantasy. If not, he should still be sniffing around the 300-point mark. This could have put him in the QB1 conversation.
The two biggest reasons for optimism are Davante Adams and Josh McDaniels. Adams will give him a true number one option, and McDaniels should help with the red zone woes. Those additions should help Carr get closer to averaging two touchdown passes a game. This would be a huge improvement on last year’s numbers, assuming he keeps the yardage up.
However, there is one thing that will likely keep Carr out of the top 10 once again: his rushing numbers. It is just not really a part of his game. He is only going to rush for about a hundred yards a season and he will be lucky if he has a rushing touchdown or two. This means he has to get his fantasy points almost exclusively from passing stats, which score significantly fewer points than rushing stats. Essentially, Carr has to throw for about 300 yards and three touchdowns a game to be a good starting quarterback in fantasy. While he is certainly capable, there are a lot safer bets out there elsewhere in the fantasy quarterback market.
Josh Jacobs, Running Back
Fantasy Projection:Â 242 points
There are plenty of reasons for pessimism surrounding Jacobs’ fantasy prospects for this year. The Raiders did not pick up his fifth-year option. They drafted Zamir White in the third round. McDaniels takes a committee approach. The offensive line remains a big concern. Still, if (big if) he stays healthy, this could be somewhat of a bounce-back year for the 24-year-old.
Do not forget, Jacobs is still by far the most proven player on this team. While the new Raiders head coach does give everyone the rock, that was mostly out of necessity in New England. Another thing that will help Jacobs is McDaniels’ use of screens. This should inflate his receiving numbers a bit. I think the general improvement of the offense, especially in the red zone, should increase those touchdowns a bit as well.
Jacobs might see his rushing yards per game dip a bit from last year. The committee system, plus McDaniels’ penchant for screens, will likely lower his carries. Still, the extra catches should keep Jacobs as a strong RB. Plus, depending on how things go, he still has some RB1 upside.
Davante Adams, Wide Receiver
Fantasy Projection:Â 270 points
Davante Adams is tough to project. He’s on a new team with a different quarterback and a vastly different supporting cast. It just feels irresponsible to project him to put up 344 points and be the number two wideout in fantasy again. This is not to say Adams is incapable of repeating that, there are just a lot of unknowns.
Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow will eat into Adams’ target share far more than Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Robert Tonyan did. However, they will also attract a lot more attention from defenders to Adams’ benefit. Figuring out the impact of the McDaniels offense is tricky too. Will he establish the run? Or will he let Carr air it out like he’s Tom Brady in 2007? Speaking of Carr, I don’t think that he is that much less capable of getting the ball to Adams than Aaron Rodgers to have any real effect.
Despite all of these questions, one thing is certain: Adams is damn good. He should still be a top five fantasy receiver, or top 10 at the absolute worst. His ceiling is still sky high.
Hunter Renfrow, Wide Receiver
Fantasy Projection:Â 208 points
Sneakily, Renfrow was a top 10 fantasy wideout last season. Repeating that feat might be tricky with Adams in the fold. Nevertheless, it is time everyone stopped sleeping on Renfrow.
Like most of the top receivers in Vegas, Renfrow will not see the same volume of targets as last year. It is simply not mathematically possible. However, the addition of Adams could increase the space Renfrow has to run after the catch. Also, assuming the offense generally finds the endzone more this year, his touchdown total should not take a huge hit either. All in all, expect Renfrow to slot in (no pun intended) as a low-end WR2.
Darren Waller, Tight End
Fantasy Projection:Â 240 points
Last year was rough for Waller. While he flashed at times, it was far from what we had become accustomed to seeing from him on a weekly basis. An injury caused him to miss significant time. When he was healthy, he drew an absurd amount of attention as the team’s de facto number one receiver.
Look for Waller to bounce back in a big way. The arrival of Adams is going to give him matchups that he has not seen in quite some time. Plus, the McDaniels offense is perfectly designed for big, athletic tight ends. He may not be able to get 100 catches like he once did, but I don’t think it is out of the question for him to snag 10 touchdowns. As long as he is healthy, Waller should have a banner year and will be in contention to be the top tight end in fantasy.
Daniel Carlson, Kicker
Fantasy Projection:Â 149 points
Fantasy football’s reigning kicking champ is back again, looking to defend his crown. Ironically, the Raiders’ improved offense might make that tricky. Expect Carlson to get fewer field goal opportunities but more extra points. His points will almost certainly drop from last year’s crazy numbers. Regardless, as long as he remains infallible from beyond 50 yards, Carlson will be tough to dethrone.
Fantasy Projection:Â 80 points
This defense should be better under Patrick Graham. The additions of Chandler Jones and Rock Ya-Sin should lead to more sacks and turnovers. Regardless, the Raiders’ defense is still more or less an afterthought again this season. They just do not have the talent to be a weekly start in fantasy. There aren’t many defenses that can be trusted to do this. This is why you should stream defenses based on matchups. In terms of Raiders fantasy football, the defense could be worth a pickup in Week 7 when they face the Houston Texans.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images