Every summer, we take a deep dive into the fantasy football average draft position (ADP) of players on each real-life NFL team. We do this so that we can determine which guys are undervalued, overvalued, or valued just right. As we Goldilocks this ADP, our draft board forms based on our opinions of players and where they go in fantasy football drafts. Since drafters draft (mostly) by site algorithms, site algorithms drive ADP on that site. So, we use FantasyPros’ aggregate average draft position data in order to smooth out those edges. To really smooth out the edges, I will use half-PPR average draft position, which you can find here.
The Las Vegas Raiders spent the offseason making moves. Well, one major move, really. They added Davante Adams to Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow in the receiving room. In another, smaller move, they added Zamir White to their running back stable and declined the fifth-year option on running back Josh Jacobs. With all these changes swirling around the Las Vegas Raiders, what can we glean about their fantasy football prospects? Who are their sleeper, breakout, and bust players for 2022 fantasy football?
Sleeper: Kenyan Drake, Running Back (RB60, 194 OVR)
Some people want to tag Zamir White as the sleeper here, but I don’t know how he makes it on the field without a Josh Jacobs injury. A lot of Zamir White’s traits top out as “good,” much like incumbent running back Jacobs. He’s good at a lot of stuff without being outstanding at any particular thing. But, I still think that they utilize Zamir White enough for him to matter in fantasy football. Given that the Raiders declined their option on Josh Jacobs, it’s likely that he’s there to supplant Jacobs in 2022 (more on him in a second).
But, Kenyan Drake does something that neither Jacobs nor White do with any sustained frequency: he catches the dang football. Before playing just 23 snaps across weeks 12 and 13 (and subsequently suffering a broken leg that ended his season), Kenyan Drake was a nice little football player for your fantasy football teams. He averaged 3 catches per game in that span and kicked in 50.7 total yards per contest. The Raiders also restructured his contract this offseason, ensuring he sticks around. Let’s not forget that Drake was the next hot running back not too far in the past, with his time in 1.5 years in Arizona where he averaged 83 yards per game on 16 carries and 2.3 catches per contest. I’m not saying that Drake is going to end up as a top-20 running back, but he fits nicely into the pass-catching running back mold that helps round out PPR rosters.
Breakout: Josh Jacobs, Running Back (RB20, 39 OVR)
Every year, dynasty fantasy football players get an itchy feeling about what will happen to a player after the current season, and they blast out propaganda to that effect. Then, for some unknown reason, it has a trickle-down effect on redraft ADP. Let’s be clear, here: we shouldn’t take 2023 into account in our evaluations, literally not at all. So, I don’t understand why Josh Jacobs is all the way down here at RB20. He doesn’t belong down here, for one simple reason: only eight running backs have over 3,800 yards over the last three seasons: Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones, Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb, Austin Ekeler, Ezekiel Elliott and… Josh Jacobs.
Granted, the other guys have over 4,000 total yards over the last three years, and this can’t include guys who broke out last year like Jonathan Taylor. But still, the stat, it’s neat! People also want to talk like Josh McDaniels is duty-bound to continue Belichicanery with his running backs, because he brought in Brandon Bolden (?) and Ameer Abdullah (?!). It makes no real sense since Bolden knows his system and Abdullah is a special teamer at this point. Even if McDaniels shifts around the touch volume, Jacobs still has a long way to go before he misses enough touches to not be RB20, at worst: he finished with the eleventh-most carries and ninth-most targets among running backs last year, which is why he finished as RB13 despite having just 9 touchdowns.
Bust: Davante Adams, Wide Receiver (WR4, 11 OVR)
If you read my Jonathan Taylor take, you kind of already know where this is going. But here’s the thing, we don’t know how good Davante Adams will be with Derek Carr, but we know there’s no way he can be as good as he was with Aaron Rodgers. First and foremost, so much of Davante Adams’ fantasy football value came because (while being one of the league’s best wide receivers) Aaron Rodgers didn’t really have anywhere else to go with the football in Green Bay. The Raiders don’t have that issue, with Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow, and heck, even Josh Jacobs as high-value targets in the offense. The years of Davante Adams getting about 150 targets are over, and likely replaced with 120-130 targets. Still, a ton of targets, just a slightly lower volume of them.
And… that’s it, really. I still think Adams is going to be a beast, but I fear what his transition to the Raiders will do for his target volume and, in turn, his fantasy football upside. I could be wrong, but I am not willing to bet my first-round pick on it.