Raiders News: Antonio Pierce, Aidan O'Connell

Fantasy Ramble: Where Does Aidan O’Connell Rank Among Fantasy QBs?

The Raiders’ rookie quarterback seems to have grabbed ahold of the reins as the team’s starter going forward. While the previous QB1, Jimmy Garoppolo, did not have much fantasy value, Aidan O’Connell offers another chance to see if Las Vegas now has a quarterback worth rostering.

Aidan O’Connell’s Numbers Thus Far

Keep in mind, we only have a small sample size to work with here. O’Connell has started just two games, after all.

In his first start against the Chargers, the Raiders’ fourth-rounder had a rough go of it; especially in terms of fantasy, scoring just under 10 points. It’s worth noting that this game came under the watch of Josh McDaniels, who is no longer with the team. Last week, O’Connell made his second start, this time with Bo Hardegree in charge of the offense. The rookie’s play on the field looked much better this time around.

However, his fantasy numbers did not reflect that, as he put up just over eight points.

The biggest thing that is hindering O’Connell’s fantasy production is a lack of touchdowns. He has only thrown for one score this year, and that occurred when he came off the bench during garbage time in a blowout loss against the Bears. The former Purdue quarterback isn’t throwing for enough yards to make up for the lack of touchdowns, either. He is averaging just 6.8 yards per completion.

Some quarterbacks can supplement low passing numbers with being productive as a runner. O’Connell isn’t doing that either. While he has one rushing touchdown this year, he has just three yards on three carries. That isn’t a big part of his game, so the rookie will have to be more productive in the passing game to warrant fantasy consideration.

Outlook

O’Connell’s play will likely continue to improve as the season goes on. However, that doesn’t mean that his fantasy production will increase all that much. At some point, he will start throwing for more yards, and his passes will start finding the end zone. Nevertheless, even if he started averaging an extra yard or two per completion and throwing for one or two touchdowns a game, we are only looking at a five to ten point increase from his current average of about nine fantasy points per start.

Such an improvement would still only see O’Connell scoring between 14 and 19 points per week. That would have him somewhere between being a high-end QB2 and a middle-of-the-pack QB1.

Again, this is assuming that he improves significantly. That won’t happen overnight.

Leave The Raiders Rook Off Your Roster… For Now

We have to take a wait-and-see approach with the rookie right now. The next few weeks will be crucial for figuring out what his potential is for the rest of the year. Once we get to the Raiders’ bye in week 13, we should have enough data to reassess.

Unfortunately, that is pretty late into the fantasy season. That being said, he could emerge into a decent stop-gap by then if you get into a pinch. O’Connell could become a solid high-floor, low-ceiling, QB2 that you can use when you just need someone steady for a week. He could provide similar fantasy value to the last Raiders quarterback to wear number four.

*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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