Talk about two teams with very different Week 1 experiences. The Raiders pulled off an upset win, while the Bills were upset they didn’t hang onto a lead against the Zach Wilson-led Jets. The fantasy football analysis of the Las Vegas Raiders’ fantasy value is reasonably straightforward. But it takes more effort to break down the Buffalo Bills’ fantasy outlook for Week 2.
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Las Vegas Raiders at Buffalo Bills
- Spread: Bills -8.5
- Total: 47 points
- Raiders implied points: 19.3
- Bills implied points: 27.8
Jimmy Garoppolo: Garoppolo wins ball games and plays well in the Week 1 victory over the Broncos. Yet, he’s still a ways away from mattering in standard leagues.
That said, there were some good signs that savvy fantasy football managers will store in their pocket for when the Raiders run up against potent offenses in Weeks 10-16:
- Week 1 aDOT: Up 54.1% from last season
- Week 1 Targets: Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers combined for 73.1%
You know I believe in Meyers as a legitimate threat, and Adams is an all-world talent. If Garoppolo is going to be stretching the field consistently and locking into his primary playmakers, he could well emerge as an asset when bye weeks begin to wreak havoc.
Josh Allen: Man, was that Monday nighter ugly? Allen looked all out of sorts, as his 41 pass attempts netted just 236 yards (not to mention three picks) against a solid Jets defense that has given him problems in the past.
Allen’s going to be fine (my top QB on the main DFS slate) and in rather short order. The Raiders allowed Russell Wilson to complete 79.4% of his passes last week and own one of the worst red-zone defenses in recent memory. Allen has seen the Silver and Black once in his life — 115.8 passer rating with three scores.
If you need another reason to trust Allen through the air, look no further than some goofy splits last season:
- 7.6% pass TD rate
- 2.0% rush TD rate
- 4.9% pass TD rate
- 8.1% rush TD rate
Josh Jacobs: The Broncos held Jacobs in check last week, and we have a mini-trend to keep tabs on: Jacobs hasn’t had a run gain of more than 12 yards in four straight games, nor has he broken a run of over 20 yards since that memorable 86-yard walk-off in Seattle last November.
Like I said, I have my eyebrow raised. Jacobs still received 19 of 20 RB touches for Vegas last week with three targets. The usage is nothing short of elite, and I generally trust this offense, so he’s still a top-10 play for me, but I wouldn’t mind seeing an explosive run sooner than later.
James Cook: With 18 opportunities in the season opener, Cook looked the part of a featured back in an offense that we expect to be among the best in the game, and that has him as a top-20 play for me in this juicy matchup.
Here are the top-20 RBs for Week 1 by route share% (pass plays where the RB ran a route) via @FantasyPtsData
– Massive spike for Travis Etienne (68.6%). His route share last season was 41.9%
– Kyren Williams ran 26 routes (Akers 1)
– Positive for Rachaad White / James Cook pic.twitter.com/ERf5Ud27aL
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) September 12, 2023
We know Cook is a viable option on the ground (5.5 yards per carry across his 101 career carries), and he’s seeing 3.6 targets per game over his past seven regular-season contests. There were some concerns this summer that Damien Harris would eat into Cook’s role, but a 26-7 first-half snap edge in Cook’s favor put that thought to bed in short order.
Damien Harris: His one carry was a valuable one from the 8-yard line, but if Damien Harris is simply a touchdown vulture on an offense where the quarterback is a bulldozer, he’s not worth a roster spot. Not even close.
Davante Adams: This isn’t an ideal matchup, and that’s a fine reason to downgrade Adams, but only to the point where you’re avoiding him in DFS. The talented Bills could shade his way, and we saw a concerningly low floor last season from Adams (under 40 receiving yards in five of eight games when failing to catch more than six passes), but the reliable target share combined with the scoring equity keeps Adams as a fringe WR1.
Jakobi Meyers: Last week was awesome! That is, until Meyers took an unnecessary shot to the head, abruptly ending his strong debut as a Raider (9-81-2). One of those scores came on Vegas’ first drive, a play in which Garoppolo brought him across the formation and threw him a fade of sorts to the outside. Meyers is a name to keep track of, but not this week as he failed to pass concussion protocol in time.
Hunter Renfrow: Naturally, not every game is going to look like Week 1 for the Raiders. Pat Surtain II was draped all over Adams for most of the afternoon, leading to Meyers pacing the team in targets. Could Tre’Davious White do something similar and leave the slot on an island? Could that make Renfrow the spot start option of the week?
I think plugging and playing the slot machine could be getting a little cute in season long leagues where you have deep benches and no bye weeks to work around, but as a DFS punt play? Sign me up. I trust the process in terms of valuing the slot in this offense and don’t forget, it was only back in 2021 when Renfrow caught 103 balls and put on a route running exhibition.
Stefon Diggs: Nothing to see here. On a day in which Allen was terrible, Diggs saw 33.3% of the targets and 43.2% of the receiving yards. The whispers of discontent are going to be there until this team gets on track, but the man is as safe as they come in the game.
Start Diggs with confidence in all season-long formats and always look his way if you’re paying up in the DFS streets.
Gabe Davis: Davis was a little late on a route that resulted in an interception last week, and his 2 for 32 stat line was underwhelming, but expectations were in check against the strong Jets secondary that doesn’t move Sauce Garnder around. I’m not worried. At all.
Allen’s aDOT last week was down 36% from his 2022 rate, something I believe was matchup-driven and puts Davis in a spot to fail. That’s not going to be the case this week against a Raiders team that allowed a conference-high 7.0 yards per pass attempt in 2022.
Could this game be a shootout? It’s certainly possible with a projected total in the upper 40s, so it’s worth noting that Davis has seven touchdowns in his 11 career games with at least four receptions.
Building on that thought, last season, the Seahawks and Raiders got into a back-and-forth game. In that contest, DK Metcalf dominated the targets in a Diggs-like way (40.5%), while Tyler Lockett was used as the field stretcher and paid off with a 35-yard TD.
If you want to buy low on Davis, your window is closing. He’s a WR3 for me in all formats and very much a DFS target.
Dalton Kincaid: The Bills came out of the gates with both Kincaid and Dawson Knox on the field with regularity, potentially a sign that they don’t trust their WR3 situation and prefer the added beef by way of two TE sets. Assuming that remains the case, neither Bills tight end is worthy of a roster spot in most formats.
Having said that, Kincaid caught all four of his targets in his debut (26 yards) and is worth keeping an eye on. I think you can do better at the position for Week 2 and have the rookie ranked outside of my top 15.
Should You Start James Cook or Isiah Pacheco?
Our PFN Consensus Rankings will tell you that both are worth playing, but in a vacuum, give me Pacheco. The Chiefs have had a long work week to cure what ailed them in the season opener and, while he didn’t start the game, Pacheco was used like a featured back as the game progressed. I’ll use scoring equity to break this tie, so give me the option whose quarterback is not a goal-line vulture.
Should You Start Gabe Davis or Michael Thomas?
The stability of Thomas is enticing, but I’ll side with the upside of Davis this week. This is a golden bounce-back spot for the Bills as long as we get an efficient version of Josh Allen. I like the odds of that being the case this weekend against a Raiders defense that allowed Russell Wilson to compete 79.4% of his passes last week. Thomas isn’t a bad play on Monday night, his ceiling just isn’t the same as that of Davis.
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