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Davante Adams Traded To Raiders: Fantasy Football Takeaways & Implications (2022)

Davante Adams Traded To Raiders: Fantasy Football Takeaways & Implications (2022)

The AFC West arms race is showing no signs of slowing down. The Denver Broncos went out and traded for Russell Wilson. The Los Angeles Chargers re-signed Mike Williams to a long-term extension. The Kansas City Chiefs are the Kansas City Chiefs and still have Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. And now the Las Vegas Raiders have traded for superstar wideout Davante Adams.

What does Davante Adams’s trade to the Raiders mean for the wide receiver, his new quarterback Derek Carr, and his former quarterback Aaron Rodgers? Derek Brown, Pat Fitzmaurice, and Andrew Erickson are here to break down the fantasy football implications of the deal.

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That deafening sound you just heard was a news bomb hitting the AFC West as the Raiders have acquired the services of one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Davante Adams arrives in Las Vegas with a gargantuan contract that fits his overwhelming talent as a truly game-changing alpha pass-catching talent. At age 29, Adams finished as the WR2 in fantasy points per game while ranking third in yards per route run (minimum 50 targets, per PFF) and seventh in yards per route run against man coverage (minimum 20 man coverage targets).

The Raiders now have the type of talent to lead their offense that they believed they were acquiring when they made a move for Antonio Brown. Unlike Brown and his formerly frostbitten feet, Adams hasn’t been a distraction on or off the field as a player the team will now build around. Adams remains an elite fantasy WR1 on a team that, with the talent of Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow leading the way, will look to improve upon their 60% neutral passing rate (tenth-highest) last year. 

With Adams’ arrival, Darren Waller will likely take a small step back, but he’s still locked in a top-five fantasy tight end. In the last three seasons, Waller has finished as the TE6, TE2, and TE5. He’s ranked inside the top four in target share at the position in each of those seasons, seeing 23.8-28.7% of the passing game looks. With a target hog of Adams’ level now inserted into the depth chart, Waller will likely see the lower end of that range, but he’s an efficient enough player to compensate for the lost raw volume. Waller has ranked 17th, third, and sixth in fantasy points per route run over the last three years (per 

Hunter Renfrow is in line to take the biggest hit from the Adams move. Renfrow is coming off a career year with 128 targets, 103 receptions, 1,038 receiving yards as the WR17. Even looking at his splits (per Rotoviz) with Waller in and out of the lineup last year, Renfrow’s volume and production dip would have dropped him from the WR12 to the WR21 in per-game fantasy production. Now with two game plan-altering talents at the top of the target tree, Renfrow is best viewed as a high-end WR4 with spike week potential when advantageous slot matchups arise.

Now that we’ve discussed the offensive boom in the AFC West, let’s move over to the Packers’ who could be strapped to put points on the board through the air. Yes, they have Aaron Rodgers returning, which is great, but the question remains: who will he throw the ball to? The team has tendered Allen Lazard at a second-round level, so he’ll be back, but the cupboard is barren after him. The remaining receiving threats for the Cheeseheads are Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, Rico Gafford, Juwann Winfree, Malik Turner, Chris Blair, Marcedes Lewis, and Josiah Deguara, with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon also factoring in from the backfield. 

The team could look to the free agent market, but it’s looking more barren by the day. The best picks of the remaining receiver litter are aging (Jarvis Landry, Julio Jones, A.J. Green), injured (Odell Beckham), or coming off down (and injured) seasons (JuJu Smith-Schuster). The team could sign one of these players to fill out the depth chart or bring back Marquez Valdes-Scantling if the money makes sense, but the NFL Draft is likely their best bet to add talent. The Packers already had their own picks (28th, 59th) in the top two rounds, but with the deal, they also have the Raiders’ top two selections (22nd, 53rd). It’s been an expectation and running joke on social media for various reasons, but the Packers could (and should) look to add multiple wide receivers in the top two rounds of the draft.

Last and certainly not least, we need to discuss both signal-callers. Before the wind was taken out of Derek Carr’s sails last year with the Henry Ruggs situation, Carr was the QB11 in fantasy through the season’s first seven weeks. With this massive influx of talent at his disposal, he sits at the fringe of low-end QB1 or high-end QB2. Rodgers, meanwhile, is left floundering in the doldrums of QB2 land. While that might seem like an overreaction for a player of his talent, he still requires talented players to throw to in order to rack up fantasy points. Matt LaFleur’s slow as molasses offense won’t do him any favors in terms of volume. The team could lean on their run game this season more, even after adding talent to the wide receiver room.
-Derek Brown

My first reaction to the momentous Davante Adams trade is unrelated to fantasy. I’m a lifelong Packers fan. I’ll miss seeing Aaron Rodgers and Adams play together. Their chemistry was special, and they’ve been one of the better pitch-and-catch combos of the last 20 years.

As for the fantasy implications …

Will there be a better landing spot for rookie receivers than Green Bay? The Packers’ WR room is virtually empty. It’s Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers and tumbleweeds. There’s a good chance Green Bay spends two of its four first- and second-round picks on wide receivers. Aaron Rodgers is ornery with young wide receivers who don’t run precise routes, so expect an emphasis on route running when Packers GM Brian Gutekunst takes receivers. There’s an excellent chance we’ll see Chris Olave, a young route craftsman, wearing green and gold. But no matter which receivers the Packers select, they will be coveted in dynasty rookie drafts, and they’ll be intriguing redraft assets as well.

Green Bay also has to sign a veteran receiver or two. Jarvis Landry? JuJu Smith-Schuster? I’m not sure what the Packers can afford. They might have to go thrifting at the Demarcus Robinson resale shop instead. The aforementioned Amari Rodgers may get a chance to contribute as a pass catcher after a quiet rookie year.

I had Aaron Rodgers ranked QB8 before the trade, just ahead of Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford. After the Adams trade and the Rams’ signing of Allen Robinson, I’ll probably reorder it Stafford, Wilson, Rodgers.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Derek Carr has to move up in the rankings. I had him at QB18. He’ll probably climb to QB16, maybe QB15. He and Adams made beautiful music together at Fresno State. In two seasons there, Adams had 233 catches for 3,031 yards and 38 touchdowns. Yowza.

And yet, I’m going to drop Adams a few spots in my rankings. Before the Adams trade and the Rams’ Robinson signing, my top four was, in order, Cooper Kupp, Ja’Marr Chase, Adams and Justin Jefferson. Now, I think it’s going to be Chase, Kupp, Jefferson, Adams. (Kupp and Adams both took value hits on St. Patrick’s Day.) Team-changing receivers usually take a hit in their first season in a new uniform. Maybe Adams’ familiarity with Carr mitigates the team-change thing, but it’s still a QB drop-off for Davante.

And the Adams trade bodes ill for some of the Raiders’ other pass catchers. I had Hunter Renfrow pegged as a likely draft value in 2022. Not anymore. He’s in for a target haircut with Adams around. Darren Waller’s value is going to take a big hit, too. He’ll probably still be viewed as a top-five tight end, but I won’t touch him this year.
– Pat Fitzmaurice

The Packers traded Davante Adams to the Raiders for a 1st and 2nd-round pick in this year’s upcoming draft, to keep up in the arms race that is the AFC West. It reunites Adams with his old college quarterback Derek Carr, as the two played together from 2012 to 2013.

This move creates massive fantasy repercussions for both the Raiders and Packers, as Adams has been one of fantasy football’s greatest wide receivers over the last four seasons. A healthy Adams has finished no worse than WR5 attached to Aaron Rodgers since 2018, and he ended 2021 second in fantasy points per game at age 29.

His high level of play won’t stop in Sin City, but his fantasy stock does get slightly dented going from Rodgers to Carr. It’s unlikely that Carr hyper-targets Adams to the length of a 28% target share as Rodgers has done for so many seasons. Incumbent Raiders pass-catchers Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow represent more target competition than Adams has ever played with since becoming the alpha in Green Bay.

Adams falls to WR6 in my best ball and early redraft 2022 wide receiver rankings as the newest member of the Black Hole
Waller’s probably the biggest loser from this trade because he’s no longer in the running for commanding an ungodly target share. However, he’s still a top-5 tight end because he could easily supplement his decrease in opportunities with improved efficiency due to the offense being better as a whole with Adams. Waller scored only two touchdowns last season — despite catching 62 balls for 741 receiving yards.

Renfrow also might see his high-end target share from last season dip slightly (19%) to that of a mid-range fantasy WR3 as opposed to a top-20 option. Renfrow was WR30 in half-point scoring per game before the Waller injury — and the fantasy WR13 after.

The Adams signing may also mark the end of wide receiver Bryan Edwards and the hope that he breaks out in Year 3.

The biggest winner of course is Derek Carr because he has the luxury of throwing to a surplus of offensive weapons. Let’s not forget that when Carr had everybody available last season, the Raiders quarterback ranked second in the NFL in passing yards and 15th in fantasy points per game.

As for Green Bay, losing Adams takes a hit on Rodgers’ fantasy stock. The one game the Packers signal-caller played without his No. 1 receiver in 2021 was his third-worst fantasy finish of the season.

Green Bay is still primed to add to their wide receiver room through free agency and the draft, but there’s no guarantee they can make up for Adams’ production. Returning receivers like Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Amari Rodgers all get small bumps in the WR rankings because they will be tasked with replacing the vacated hole left by Adams.

The Packers may also go hard to re-sign Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The field-stretcher has been a hot name among the 2022 wide receiver free agency class, drawing interest from the Chicago Bears. It’s a bit off that MVS is generating so much buzz considering he is coming off an injury-plagued down season.

But even so, NFL teams salivate over the big-play ability that Valdes-Scantling can offer – top-5 in yards per catch the last two seasons – so he will generate interest.

Catching passes from Aaron Rodgers will almost certainly be his best-case scenario.
– Andrew Erickson

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