Davante Adams Traded to Las Vegas Raiders

by Emily Lefco
Davante Adams Traded to Las Vegas Raiders

In a shocking turn of events, arguably the NFL's best wide receiver, Davante Adams, has been traded to the Las Vegas Raiders!

Adams turned down the Green Bay Packers extension and is now the highest-paid wide receiver in the league.

Reports indicate that Adams wanted to reunite with his former college quarterback Derek Carr. Not only have they practiced together in the offseason, but Davante Adams recently purchased a house in Las Vegas next door to Derek Carr.

The Raiders receive Davante Adams while the Packers acquire a pair of 2022 draft picks (22nd and 53rd overall).

Despite the Packers franchise tagging Adams, Adams told the Packers that he would not play under the franchise tag.

We thought Adams was a lock with the recent contract extension for Aaron Rodgers.  This was a shocking blockbuster offseason trade that not many saw coming.

With any trade, there is a domino effect on the players involved.  The trade comes with many Fantasy Football implications for not only Davante Adams, but both the Packers and Raiders as well.

Davante Adams Traded to Las Vegas Raiders

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Fantasy Football Implications for Davante Adams

Wideout Davante Adams is coming off a career-high 1,553 receiving yards (Packers’ franchise record) with 123 receptions on 169 targets (2nd most in the NFL) for 11 touchdowns. He has led the NFL in catches (432), receiving yards (5,310), and TDs (47) since 2018. The 29-year-old has been one of the best receivers in the NFL, earning five straight Pro Bowl nods, including first-team All-Pro selections in each of the last two years.

However, with the Raiders, Adams’ fantasy value and ceiling may lower in 2022 in his age-30 season as his performance was primarily tied to the elite connection with Aaron Rodgers. With Green Bay, Adams saw a target share of 31.6% (2nd highest in the NFL).  Davante Adams saw 318 targets over his last 30 games as a Packer.  This kind of target share is rarely found in the NFL. But now he is going to a team with more talented pass catchers. Surely with preexisting offensive weapons on the Raiders in Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, Adams will not see as high of a target share as he did in 2021 with Rodgers, as their presence will assume targets. He may see a target share of 25% with the Raiders, but his ceiling lowers, as it's unlikely he will get 14 targets per game.

Derek Carr is a downgrade from Aaron Rodgers.  While they had an established rapport in college, it was a long time ago and they will likely have to rebuild their connection.  Adams may see 150 targets from Carr, but the targets may not be as catchable as they were with Rodgers under center.  With the decrease in targets, it is likely that Adams' yardage will also decline.  Carr also throws for more short-yard gains than long balls.  The Raiders can probably stretch the field with Adams though. Additionally, in a Josh McDaniels offense, you can expect that 20% will go to the running game, taking targets away from Adams.  There is now less room for Adams' dominance to go up.  He was perfectly used within the Packers' system, but somehow we cannot imagine him being as used as perfectly by the Raiders.

In 2021, Adams scored 343.1 fantasy points and finished as the WR2 behind only Cooper Kupp.  He averaged more than 21 fantasy ppg in three of the last four seasons, during which he found the endzone 47 times.  Adams has also scored more than 329 fantasy points three different times in single seasons from 2018 to 2021.

Notably, no Raiders receiver has scored more than 269.4 fantasy points in a single season since 2000.  While Adams is probably better than any WR the Raiders have had in that time, he is unlikely to be a top-5 WR, again.  Before the trade, we considered ranking him as WR1 ahead of Cooper Kupp. But, Adams now remains a safe bet to be one of the top-6/7/8/9 best wideouts in terms of fantasy production in 2022.  Adams is now a late second round or early third draft pick.  He is likely behind the likes of Ceedee Lamb, Stefon Diggs, AJ Brown, Ja'Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp, and Justin Jefferson.

However, in 2017, Adams played at a 16 game pace in eight games with Brett Hundley; Adams had 92 catches on 142 targets for 1,086 yards and ten touchdowns.  His performance was very good. It is hard to take Adams out of his game as he can scheme himself open. He could have a similar experience now with Carr.  While Adams' value goes down slightly, he is still a high-end WR1. Though targets and yardage will likely go down, he may be a big scorer since Renfrow and Waller are not.  Going into his age-30 season, it cannot be denied that Adams may not have that many years left of elite play.  We could charitably say that he will age gracefully in the game, but there are not a lot of wideouts who have played at a top-5 level for years unending.
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Fantasy Football Implications for the Green Bay Packers

With the void of Davante Adams, the Packers have been gutted at WR. This hurts the Packers' offense as a whole.  This is a huge WR downgrade for the Packers, even as the best team in the NFC North.  The Packers need a true WR1 and WR2.  As a result, the Packers will definitely do more to upgrade at WR.  It is possible they acquire new wide receivers through free agency and/or the rookie draft.  They may pursue Kenny Golladay, Robby Anderson, Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, Tyler Lockett, Robert Woods, Will Fuller, or Odell Beckham, Jr through free agency.  Or they may trade for DK Metcalf.

They may also re-sign deep-threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling, though he is not a consistent source of WR3 numbers. Through the rookie draft with their pair of 2022 draft picks, including a first-rounder, the Packers may choose to draft Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Drake London, or Treylon Burks who profiles similar to Davante Adams. Whoever they bring in could be a fantasy sleeper or breakout player, rookie or veteran.

Other than Playoff football, Rodgers excels under a challenge.  Between 2019 and 2020, Aaron Rodgers played six games without Davante Adams.  Rodgers scored 31 or more fantasy points in four out of the six games.  He was fantastic without Davante Adams, but it is unlikely that he replicates that level of performance long-term. The loss of Davante Adams hurts Rodgers' upside. The excitement to draft Aaron Rodgers is gone as he is in a bad situation. If the Packers do not adequately fill the void that Adams leaves, gunslinger, Aaron Rodgers may see a decline in his fantasy value. He now projects in the middle or bottom half of QB1's with the loss of Adams. Rodgers is now QB11 or QB13 for now until we know who he is throwing to.

Without Adams, Green Bay running backs, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, will likely see more catches.  Though this could also adversely hurt Jones and Dillon. However, I do not have their ranking moving as of yet.  Robert Tonyan should also see more looks, too, like MVS, if they keep him.
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Fantasy Football Implications for the Las Vegas Raiders

This trade definitely helps the Raiders as much as it hurts the Packers.  The Raiders have upgraded their offense by acquiring Davante Adams. Adams is a welcome addition to a team hurting for talent at wideout.  His presence in the AFC West is going to have big implications for the fantasy football landscape for the Raiders in 2022.

It will be impossible to replicate what Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams did in Green Bay.  Still, there is excitement for the Raiders and for Derek Carr, who is better than people think. In 2021, Derek Carr had the fourth most completions, ahead of Josh Allen.  He had the fifth-best completion rate, better than Tom Brady.  He also had the sixth-most yards per game, more than Aaron Rodgers.  But Carr cannot throw over-the-shoulder the way Rodgers does.  He is still a downgrade from Rodgers. Carr is likely the only player to benefit from this trade, as we will see an increase in his fantasy value.  Carr is now a borderline top-10 QB in 2022.  The AFC West division alone opens up a lot for Carr.

Carr already has established trust with his pass-catchers.  They will get targets, too. The good and bad news is that the Las Vegas offense also has Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow to absorb targets in the pass attack.  These two players combined to average 16 targets per game last season.  That total is very likely to decline with Adams in the mix.  Renfrow had an 18% target share with Carr in 2021.  There is no chance that Waller and Renfrow will see the same amount of volume or targets. Adams will get all the defensive coverage.  Waller may shine in the red zone with approximately 6.5 targets per game, 111 targets on the year, and seven to eight touchdowns in 2022.

The Raiders' West Coast offense throws to the runners often. The addition of Davante Adams could benefit Josh Jacobs, but we do not have his ranking moving yet.

Check out our other NFL trade breakdowns - Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz, Amari Cooper and the Chiefs signing JuJu Smith-Schuster!

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