NFL free agency started on March 18th, but technically does not end until the end of the season. However, after a firehose of news the first week, and another run the second week, things quiet down to a trickle. There are still big names out there, but it’s going to take some time to get them signed, sealed and delivered.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at where teams stand after the early rush of free agency and what it means for fantasy football. We’re going to take a look at the skill positions, breaking down what the starting lineup and reserves will look like to assess fantasy value heading into August drafts.
Today, we’re taking a look at the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders haven’t managed to bring in any big-name free agents, but they added an element of competition to their quarterback room by signing Marcus Mariota. Other offensive signings include Nelson Agholor and Jason Witten. Cornerback Eli Apple was also signed to shore up the secondary. Las Vegas is expected to be very active in the draft.
Starter: Derek Carr
Backups: Marcus Mariota, DeShone Kizer, Nathan Peterman
This will be one of the 2020 season’s more interesting quarterback situations. It’s no secret that Jon Gruden wants Carr to be challenged, and Mariota can offer something the Raiders recent backups couldn’t. The former Tennessee Titans quarterback had his job plucked by Ryan Tannehill in 2019 and is looking to become a starter again.
Carr was a middle-of-the-pack signal caller throughout all fantasy football formats last season and ranked 16th in fantasy leagues. Mariota probably wouldn’t do much better given the team’s current offensive personnel though. The Raiders’ offensive upside could rise with a successful draft haul, but right now both their signal callers are appear poised to put up average numbers.
Starter: Josh Jacobs
Backups: Jalen Richard, Rod Smith
Jacobs totaled 1,150 rushing yards and seven scores in 2019. He was RB14 in standard leagues but outside of the top 15 in PPR leagues and on DraftKings. However, he could be in for a jump.
General manager Mike Mayock has made it clear that he feels Jacobs could become more of an asset as a pass catcher in year two, and that could help him climb into the top 10 conversation. Seven of the top ten fantasy running backs from 2019 hauled in at least 400 receiving yards, and Jacobs notched 166 yards through the air as a rookie. If his hands prove to be solid, he could unlock a world of potential in 2020.
Starters: Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Nelson Agholor
Backups: Zay Jones, Keelan Doss, Rico Gafford
Williams and Renfrow had almost identical numbers last season, but both hovered around the fifty mark at their position in standard fantasy formats. It’s very unlikely that either will be the Raiders’ WR1 in 2020 though, as Las Vegas is expected to take one of the top wideouts in the draft class. Both could become third options behind tight end Darren Waller.
Starter: Darren Waller
Backups: Jason Witten, Nick O’Leary, Foster Moreau
Waller had a team-high 117 targets last season and led the team in receiving yards (1,145). He was the fourth best tight end in standard leagues, third best in PPR leagues, and second on DraftKings. It’ll be hard for him to reach those marks again, but it’s clear that Carr has a lot of trust in him.
Regardless of who Las Vegas brings in, Waller should be a big part of the passing game. While he might not be a top 5 tight end with a real WR1 in the fold, he has a good shot at cracking the top 10 for a second straight year.