After moving on from Derek Carr, the Raiders have their new quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo.
Comp update: Raiders are giving former 49ers’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo a three-year, $67.5 million deal, including $34 million guaranteed, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2023
With the QB market exploding, Garoppolo’s new contract in Las Vegas is a fairly inexpensive way for HC Josh McDaniels and the coaching staff to try and stay competitive while also looking to the future at the position.
The Raiders own the 7th pick in the NFL Draft and quietly have a good amount of draft capital overall, even after the Davante Adams trade last year. Vegas currently has four picks in the top-100 to go along with eight more Day 3 selections, providing tons of flexibility to add depth and move up and down the board via trade.
Garoppolo’s addition likely takes Las Vegas out of the running for one of the top incoming rookies QBs as well – allowing the team to focus on building up the offensive line or secondary at 7 overall.
Adams, Josh Jacobs, and Hunter Renfrow all have a new quarterback in town. Let’s take a deep dive into what this means for their 2023 fantasy football projection.
Garoppolo’s fantasy football impact on the Raiders in 2023
For as disappointing their season was overall last year, their offense did not struggle to put up points most weeks. In fact, Las Vegas scored a TD or FG on 42.4% of their possessions – ranking fifth-best in the NFL and ahead of playoff teams like the Bengals, Cowboys, and 49ers (T-6th, 41.5%).
While there is likely way more behind the scenes that we do not know about when it comes to Carr’s downfall and ultimate departure, one thing is for sure: the offense wasn’t bad last year.
It was the defense – yet again – that let them down. Maxx Crosby is only one man. Last year, the Raiders were bottom-6 in points allowed, time of possession allowed, and turnovers forced per possession, as their defense could seemingly never get off of the field.
While running the ball effectively doesn’t win you many games when your biggest rival has Patrick Mahomes, the main reason this offense was so effective last season was because of Josh Jacobs' ascension and McDaniels’ scheme.
Jacobs became just the 10th running back since 2010 to rush for over 1,600 yards last season as the Raiders built the core of their offense around the ground game. Vegas opened up the season pass-heavy, throwing the ball at a 5.5% clip over expectation in Weeks 1-5. However, after their bye in Week 6, the Raiders leaned slightly run-heavy (-0.7% pass rate below expectation) as Jacobs took over.
Given their time together in New England and the fact that Garoppolo is used to a run-heavy, play-action-based offense in San Francisco – this marriage makes a ton of sense.
When the Raiders do throw in 2023, Garoppolo will pepper Adams, Waller, and the newly added Jakobi Meyers with a ton of catchable, accurate passes.
After a sluggish start taking over for the injured Trey Lance, Garoppolo ended up 17th in catchable throws (82.3%) last season, which was well ahead of the 26th-ranked Carr (80.1%).
Garoppolo was more accurate than Carr in 2021 as well. Jimmy G was third in accurate throws two years ago – at 84.9% – while Carr was 11th (82.9%) per Fantasy Points Data.
Over the last two years, Garoppolo has supported two top-30 fantasy receivers and a top-6 tight end in Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle.
In fact, Deebo had drastic negative fantasy football splits when Garoppolo was not under center. Over the last two years, Samuel has averaged 17.8 fantasy points per game with Garoppolo at QB vs. 12.8 FPG when he did not start.
Aiyuk also has slight negative splits – 12.1 FPG with Garoppolo vs. 11.6 FPG without.
I’m going to bet that Davante Adams’ catch rate is going to be a lot higher in 2023 than it was last year. Adams caught only 55.6% of his passes from Carr last season as the duo spent their time together hitting some big plays, but also missing on quite a few open looks. Adams’ catch rate from 2016-21 in Green Bay was 68.2%.
Meanwhile, Jakobi Meyers’ addition throws a wrench into Hunter Renfrow’s outlook. Last year, Renfrow dealt with a concussion early in the season and then sustained a hip/oblique injury that ultimately landed him on injured reserve. Meyers will mesh well as the slot man in this offense that he already knows well.
Now that Darren Waller is a Giant and Mack Hollins and Foster Moreau are free agents, the Raiders have 225 total targets – 97 of which were to the tight ends – available for the taking. That’s a whopping 40.5% target share. There is a ton available for Meyers and Renfrow to be fantasy viable while Adams is a lock for his usual 150+ targets.
I’ll end up pretty high on Meyers in PPR formats, but probably a bit lower on Underdog’s 0.5 PPR system. 90 receptions is not out of the question if he remains in the slot full-time. Meyers ran 69% of his routes from the slot last season in New England.