Las Vegas Raiders 2023 Fantasy Football Sleepers, Breakouts & Busts

It’s almost August, so it’s high time we turn our attention to fantasy football sleepers, breakouts, and busts for every NFL team. The ADP is per 4for4’s ADP data. We round out the AFC with a look at the AFC West’s four teams. Will Jimmy Garoppolo play a game for the Raiders or quit to be a professional Las Vegas playboy? Will Josh Jacobs? Does Mark Davis get uncomfortable with how handsome Jimmy Garoppolo is?  We answer none of those questions, and more, with the Las Vegas Raiders’ sleeper, breakout and bust!

Sleeper: Brandon Bolden, Running Back (No ADP Data)

Now, hear me out. Josh Jacobs is on a franchise tag, a tag that he doesn’t want to play on, not even in the slightest. The latest reports are that the Raiders & Jacobs are too far apart to strike a deal before the franchise tag multi-year deal deadline. He could sign his franchise tag at any point, but if he doesn’t, then the Raiders really only have one running back on the roster who has done anything in the NFL: 2022 free agent acquisition Brandon Bolden. White was supposed to be the guy that kept Josh Jacobs on the sidelines if you believed the Chicken Littles that were suppressing Jacobs’ value for no real reason last year. In the end, he finished with 17 carries for 66 yards. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but if Jacobs really holds out in 2023, then he and Zamir White tied with the most carries from returning players in 2023.

The reason I like Bolden over White is his 2021 campaign, where he flashed usefulness in the Bill Belichick system that Josh McDaniels runs, but not through carries. Brandon Bolden ended 2021 with as many targets as Dalvin Cook, and more than Joe Mixon. Should he get run with the Raiders in 2023 as a part of a Jacobs-replacement-by-committee, he is an extremely cheap PPR option.

Breakout: Michael Mayer, Tight End (TE28, Pick 197 Overall)

Now, this is an incredibly deep sleeper, and that’s mostly because of my own biases. I just don’t trust rookie tight ends, and if you haven’t heard of Michael Mayer, I don’t blame you: he’s a rookie tight end. Rookie tight ends haven’t really fared well, and I have been one of the most vocal opponents to taking them in your fantasy football drafts. I want to be clear here, with Mayer: you do not need to take him in your standard 12-team, 15-round draft.

But, Mayer is a great talent. He’s a great blocker, as well as an impeccable pass catcher and yards-after-catch force. The easy current NFL comparison for him is George Kittle, but he isn’t as sudden or fluid as Kittle, who is special in both those areas and the reason why he’s so good. He is just slightly more lumbering, which isn’t a slight on Mayer at all, it just makes him less of a George Kittle than a lot of people want to say.  The Raiders (and Jimmy Garoppolo) love to use the tight end, with Darren Waller garnering 7.6 targets per game with the Raiders since his breakout campaign.

And yes, Mayer absolutely belongs in the George Kittle & Darren Waller discussion with regard to his overall talent level.

Bust: Jakobi Meyers, Wide Receiver (WR46, Pick 114 Overall)

Sorry, but there isn’t really a path forward to Jakobi Meyers as a viable fantasy football asset in the 2023 season. So much of Meyers’ value came through his high target volume (6.7 targets per game the last three seasons) and not through what he did with the ball. He finished last year as WR29 in fantasy points per game, but nothing about his per-target stats indicates that he will translate that to Las Vegas, where he will likely be the #3 target, at best, on most plays. He had exactly one advanced stat inside the top 20 last season: his 2.19 yards per route run ranked 19th. Everything else in the top-20 was a QB stat (target quality) or a usage stat (top-20 in slot snaps). There’s zero reason to draft Meyers in 2023. The upside is a poor man’s version of his 2023 campaign, so WR45 or so.

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

View all posts by Jeff Krisko →

Leave a Reply