Brock Bowers Drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders: Fantasy Impact on Aidan O’Connell and Michael Mayer

The drafting of Brock Bowers by the Las Vegas Raiders was a bit of a surprise given their needs elsewhere . What is his fantasy football value in 2024?

The 2024 NFL Draft followed the projected order early, but as the action progressed, there was no shortage of surprise selections. Among them was the Las Vegas Raiders selecting All-World tight end Brock Bowers, the pass-catching phenom out of Georgia.

There is no denying the talent of Bowers, but this is a team that spent the 35th overall pick on Michael Mayer just a year ago.

How should fantasy football managers evaluate the pass catchers in Vegas for 2024?

What Is the Fantasy Impact of The Las Vegas Raiders Drafting Brock Bowers?

Last season, the Raiders’ offense was bottom-10 in both points and yards per game. Their running game regressed in a major way with Josh Jacobs missing four games, and the passing game lacked depth in a significant way as only two players on the roster reached 350 receiving yards.

Jacobs is now a Green Bay Packer. And while this team liked what they saw from Zamir White in his time as the featured back down the stretch, it’s clear that they want to truly explore what they have in Aidan O’Connell (2023 fourth-round pick).

As a rookie, the Purdue product had his moments (eight touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his final four games), and the Raiders are looking to accelerate his development with this selection.

Could Vegas be looking to spread out opposing defenses with two-receiver and two-tight-end formats? Davante Adams is an alpha target earner until proven otherwise, and Jakobi Meyers scored a career-high eight times in 2023.

Mayer is the moving piece. We’ve seen teams double down on skill positions lately, and the results for the incumbent have varied in a major way.

The Falcons doubled down on running back last season and went with their rookie (Bijan Robinson) over their second-year asset (Tyler Allgeier) without much question.

On the other side of that coin is another running back example. The Seattle Seahawks drafted Zach Charbonnet in 2023 after spending up on Kenneth Walker III — the rookie, in this instance, took a backseat, barely reaching half of Walker’s yardage total last season.

The tight end position is obviously different, but it’s important to acknowledge the wide range of outcomes.

That said, this situation looks much more like the one in Atlanta than it does in Seattle. Bowers entered the draft viewed as not only the class of the position this year, but one of the better TE prospects in recent memory.

Given the success of young tight ends in recent seasons — Kyle Pitts topped 1,000 yards as a rookie, while Trey McBride and Sam LaPorta rewarded those who invested in a major way last season — it stands to reason that the Raiders will give their shiny new toy every chance to impress.

Mayer averaged under two catches per game in his rookie campaign, offering positional average production on a consistent basis. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just doesn’t profile as nearly enough to hold off a potentially generational prospect.

In Buffalo last season, rookie first-round pick Dalton Kincaid averaged more than twice the number of targets of the secondary option at the position (Dawson Knox), a difference I think is symbolic of the minimum advantage that Bowers holds over Mayer in 2024.

This is far from the ideal landing spot for Bowers, but he still deserves to be considered a redraft fantasy starter, while Mayer isn’t worthy of a draft pick.

As we look ahead to the 2024 fantasy football season, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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