The NFL offseason had already started off with major trades and Thursday night delivered another major move as the Las Vegas Raiders acquired star wide receiver Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers.
🏈Raiders get Davante Adams.
🏈Packers get two 2022 picks, including the Raiders’ first-round pick, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2022
After expressing that it would “be a dream: to play with former collegiate teammate Derek Carr a year ago, it became a reality for the 2022 season and beyond, as the Raiders also rolled out a five-year contract extension for Adams.
Adams will turn 30 years old this December, coming off another stellar campaign that saw him catch 123 passes for 1,553 yards and 11 touchdowns. Adams was third among all wide receivers in yards per route run (3.12), was third at the position in targets per route run (30.1%), and second in points added per route (.086) per Sports Info Solutions.
For fantasy, Adams has ranked in the top-10 in points per game in six straight seasons, closing as the WR10, WR9, WR1, WR6, WR1, and WR2 since 2016 through last season. We have a small sample of Adams playing without Aaron Rodgers, receiving 90 career targets from non-Rodgers passers out of his 1,012 career looks. Although Adams has caught just 60% of those targets for 6.7 yards per target, Derek Carr also is not Brett Hundley or Jordan Love.
Adams is still an alpha wide receiver that is a top fantasy pick, even if his quarterback overall is downgraded to a degree from what he had in Green Bay.
Carr has thrown for 4,000 yards in each of the past four seasons while coming off a career-high 4,804 passing yards and 282.6 yards per game. He has thrown 30 touchdown passes just once while finishing higher than QB19 in points per game once through eight seasons, but this is the best outlook he has had entering a season for his career. With Adams paired with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, Carr has the best surrounding cast of his career.
Is it enough to make Carr a QB1 in fantasy? With no rushing production (5.8% of his career points have come via rushing), there is a fine line to thread in getting there, but in a loaded division in which the Raiders will be pressed to score points, and they were already fourth in the NFL in passing rate (62.9%) in 2021. At worst, Carr will be a coveted QB2 if he cannot press a loaded position for QB1 status.
The one Raiders this potentially hurts for fantasy is Hunter Renfrow.
After finishing outside of the top-50 scorers in each of his first two seasons in the league, Renfrow shot up to WR10 overall last season (WR17 in points per game), catching 103 passes for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns.
Renfrow’s opportunity was maximized by Darren Waller missing six games, the midseason loss of Henry Ruggs, and the failure of Bryan Edwards to make a second-year leap.
In the seven games that Waller missed or exited early, Renfrow averaged 7.1 catches for 79.9 yards per game as opposed to 5.5 catches for 48.8 yards per game otherwise. In the 11 games that Waller played in full, Renfrow reached 60 yards just twice.
The addition of Josh McDaniels will surely draw a number of plusses for many gamers given the success of slot receivers in his system but playing alongside two significantly better talents in Adams and Waller paired with being an archetype of receiver that needs volume based on the types of targets he receives, Renfrow is damaged by Adams coming in and commanding the offense run through him.
Waller was targeted on 23.5% of his routes last season (fifth among tight ends) while Adams was targeted on 23.7% of his routes during that strong fantasy run since 2016, including massive rates of 31.5% and 29.0% the past two seasons. Renfrow was targeted on 20.1% of his routes a year ago, a mark that will be challenged with the Raiders at full strength.
On the Green Bay side, Aaron Rodgers has lost a number of productive wideouts over his career, but Adams is the most decorated.
Aaron Rodgers with and without Davante Adams on the field since 2016
|EPA Per DB||0.17||0.19|
Rodgers does have over 500 dropbacks without Adams on the field over the past six seasons, and his rate stats do not really look any different with or without him. The Packers themselves have won seven straight games with Adams inactive, scoring 24, 30, 37, 31, 42, 23, and 34 points in those games. It is very different playing a full season without a star player versus sporadic missed games, but these are not the splits I anticipated.
Rodgers has played 10 full games (excluding season finales) without Adams available in the sample above. In those 10 games, Rodgers has posted six QB1 scoring weeks with just one week lower than QB15, averaging 21.9 fantasy points per game.
While the floor has been strong, Rodgers has found it harder to access his week-winning ceiling, posting three weeks higher than the QB7 with three top-three scoring weeks in that 10-game sample.
The Packers are surely not going to roll into next season with their receiving room as depleted as it currently stands, so it would be premature to punish Rodgers too greatly without knowing the complete roster, but as another quarterback that offers next to zero rushing production for fantasy, things become a lot tougher for Rodgers to sustain front-end QB1 status without Adams.
It will be interesting to see who the Packers add this offseason to fill the void Adams leaves behind, but one player that has really gotten a bump with Adams off the field is Aaron Jones, who enters 2021 losing fantasy steam off a season stymied by injuries and the ascendence of A.J. Dillon.
In the seven games that Adams has missed over the past three seasons, Jones has received 6.7 targets per game (19.7% of the team share), with 5.1 catches for 55.4 yards per game and four receiving scores. We will have to see where things end up for this roster, but Jones receiving a bump out of the backfield can mitigate some of what he loses out on with Dillon earning more work out of the backfield.
Jones has always relied on efficiency over volume, and his 14.9 touches per game checked in 21st among backs as we progressively seen more Dillon as the season wore on. Jones picked up a knee injury in Week 10, but even prior to that, had posted just three RB1 scoring weeks.
After returning to the lineup in Week 12, A.J. Dillon received 17 red zone opportunities to just five for Jones in the red zone when the two played together with Dillon having a 9-ot-3 edge inside of the 10-yard line over those games.
I would not push back on anyone taking a flyer on Allen Lazard as far as March 17th goes, but with so much to be done, there is still a long way to go on Lazard entering 2022 with a massive role. Lazard has never caught more than 3.3 passes per game in his career.
That said, he is coming off a career-high eight touchdowns. Lazard has played four games without Adams active the past three seasons, posting games of 4-65-1 (five targets), 3-42-0 (four), 5-42-0 (five), and 6-146-1 (eight).
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