It’s like the universe is challenging Davante Adams to prove he is QB-proof for fantasy football. In 2021, he was playing with a future Hall-of-Famer and finished as the overall WR2 in fantasy. In 2022, the Packers wouldn’t pay him and instead traded him to the Raiders. While Derek Carr was a step back at QB, Adams only stepped back one spot in fantasy, finishing as the overall WR3.
As we head into 2023, Adams will be playing with Jimmy Garoppolo…or Brian Hoyer…or Aidan O’Connell? It’s clear there will be another step back at QB, but how will that affect Adams? The goal here is to look at Adams’ career games where he wasn’t playing with Aaron Rodgers or Derek Carr and answer the question, “Is he QB Proof? As I’m writing this intro, I’ve done none of the research, so we’ll go on this journey together.
Davante Adams 2023 Fantasy Football Outlook
In 133 games, Davante Adams has 769 catches, 9637 yards, and 87 TDs. Among active players, he ranks 5th in catches, 8th in yards, and 1st in TDs. For fantasy purposes, he has played nine seasons and finished as a top-10 fantasy WR in five of those seasons. Since 2016, his worst finish is WR22. In the last three years, he has finished as the WR1, WR2, and WR3 consecutively. Davante Adams is good at football. Over his career, he averages five catches for 72 yards per game and scores a TD in 65% of his games. That translates to 16 fantasy points per game over his entire nine-year career. Good. At. Football.
Thanks to the good folks at Stats Muse for the following. In his career, Adams played 25 games without Aaron Rodgers. These include his 2022 games with Derek Carr. Over those games, he finished with 147 catches, 2047 yards, and 18 TDs. That’s a rough average of 6/81/.7, or 18 fantasy points per game. That would put him ahead of CeeDee Lamb last year and keep him in the Top 5. So far, so good, but what happens when we remove Carr from the equation?
Last year, Carr was somewhat notoriously benched for the season’s last two games so the Raiders could see what they had in Jarrett Stidham. Stidham is no longer with the team. That removes 15 games from the 25 mentioned above and gives us 10 games without Rodgers or Carr. Adams had 59 receptions, 757 yards, and 6 TDs in those games. The average is 6/75/.6, or just two fewer fantasy points than mentioned above. Where would 16 fantasy points per game put Adams? Ahead of Jaylen Waddle and still firmly in the Top 10 last year.
There are a few things to note about these 10 games. First, eight of them took place in Green Bay, with seven happening in 2017 and one in 2021. However, two did happen last season. In those two games with Stidham, we saw great and mediocre. First, in Week 17, Adams scored 34 fantasy points. Then, in Week 18, it fell to 12. That’s 23 fantasy points on average, and he might still be the best WR in fantasy football.
The 2023 Raiders QB Room
A failed physical has changed the landscape of this QB room considerably. Two months ago, we were all convinced Jimmy Garoppolo would be the starter, and Adams would be fine. Over his career, Garoppolo has supported good seasons from Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and, most notably, George Kittle. He knows how to get his best receiver involved. Unfortunately, Garoppolo failed a physical and triggered a contract clause that would allow the Raiders to cut him without penalty.
Behind doors 2 and 3, we have Brian Hoyer and rookie Aidan O’Connell. Hoyer has 40 career starts with 53 touchdowns. The bulk of his work came in 2014 with Cleveland and in 2015 with Houston. The Browns’ top WR that season was Andrew Hawkins. He finished with 112 targets and 10.6 fantasy points per game. Not bad, considering he only scored two TDs, and I think we’re safe in assuming Adams is better than Andrew Hawkins. In Houston, Hoyer peppered DeAndre Hopkins. Hoyer only started 11 games, but Hopkins was the WR4 on the season and finished with 192 targets!
O’Connell finished his career at Purdue with a higher completion percentage and passer rating than Drew Brees. In 2022, he led the Big Ten in yards per game and completions per game. He was second in total yardage and touchdowns. The kid can play, but rookies are always a wild card. His career 66% completion rate bodes well when you have one of the best WRs in football.
Back in 2017, Adams played seven games with Brett Hundley. Hundley started nine games that year, seven with Adams, and those were the only starts of Hundley’s career. He threw just nine TD against 13 INTs and ended his career with a 67.6 QB Rating. It’s fair to say that neither Hoyer nor O’Connell will be much worse than Hundley.
After proving he can succeed without Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams prepares for new journey with Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders: “A quarterback doesn’t make me. … I make me”https://t.co/pGerXGZObs pic.twitter.com/YD1SEaIiMw
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) May 16, 2023
I think Adams’ own words sum this situation up pretty succinctly. Adams is not worried, and fantasy managers need not worry either. He is one of, if not the best, WR in the league, and he is likely to be a Top 10 fantasy asset yet again in 2023. If he’s not, it will not be because of his QB. Davante Adams is QB Proof.
A Look Inside the Las Vegas Raiders
Editor’s Note: We don’t want to leave you hanging on the rest of the team. While Ryan focused on Davante Adams in fantasy football, here is a quick look at the other fantasy-relevant Raiders.
Derek Carr was the QB16 in fantasy last year. If Jimmy G plays, that is likely his ceiling. This means he is not an option in 1-QB leagues, and I’m not sure the risk he carries keeps him in the conversation in SuperFlex. Probably best to just leave him for someone else.
Jacobs was a volume monster last year, and there is not much reason to think that will change in 2023. He carried the ball 340 times last year, almost 80% of the team’s total carries. Even if they finally get Zamir White involved this year, Jacobs seems a lock for 300 touches and another top-10 season.
Meyers may be more affected by the QB situation than Adams. If it’s Garoppolo, the pass/run ratio should be similar to last year, and there are plenty of vacated targets between Mack Hollins and Darren Waller. Meyers could feasibly match his 7-8 targets per game from last year and could be a solid WR2 in fantasy. If we’re looking at Hoyer or O’Connell, Meyers’ targets likely fall, and he’ll be lucky to hit 90 for the season. In that scenario, he’s a risky WR3 without much upside.
Meyers does what Renfrow does, but better. It was a fun 2021, but those days are over, and Renfrow is a fantasy afterthought.
For the roughly two weeks when Hooper was the only Raider TE, this was an interesting fantasy situation. Then the team drafted Michael Mayer in the 2nd Round of the draft, and now it’s a timeshare sapping the value of both. Hooper is no more than a streaming option, at best.
Mayer was regarded as one of, if not the best, TE in the draft. However, tight end is a challenging position to learn and master in the NFL, and now he’s stuck splitting time with Austin Hooper. For Year 1, Mayer can be easily ignored in fantasy football.
We will be covering every team this offseason. So check back here often for all of our A Look Inside articles.