The Oakland Raiders are clearly not messing around this off-season in an effort to truly give Derek Carr the best possible chance to succeed moving forward while positioning themselves for a more exciting move to Las Vegas very soon. After trading for Antonio Brown, they’ve now also added former Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams and former Cardinal pass catcher JJ Nelson. After trading Amari Cooper to the Cowboys last season, Oakland clearly had a need at the position with only Marcell Ateman at the top of the depth chart just a couple of weeks ago. The additions of Williams and Nelson do create some subtle value changes in dynasty leagues. Let’s take a look at the players whose values have been affected by the additions.
Antonio Brown, WR OAK
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves in looking at players whose value are in flux, let’s just get Brown out of the way. The Raiders are going to throw to him a ton. Over the past eight years, Brown has been targeted an average of 157 times per season and has at least 155 targets in six straight seasons. It’s not going to change in Oakland. If anything, the additions in the receiving corps will help keep defenses from blanketing him exclusively. While it’s not like he’s going to be lining up across Mike Evans or Odell Beckham, Jr., Williams, Nelson and the rest of the Raiders wideouts are good enough to give Brown the room he needs to operate. In short, these additions really change nothing in terms of Brown’s value – he’s the clear alpha dog in this crew and the passing offense is going to be designed around him.
Tyrell Williams, WR OAK
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Williams was signed to a four year, $44 million contract. On the surface, that looks like a sizable investment. However, when you look closer, the Raiders can actually pay Williams $10.1 million this year and get out from underneath the contract after one year without a dead cap hit. So, in essence, he’s on a year-to-year, team friendly deal.
Side note: Mike Mayock may actually know what he’s doing.
The contract itself is pretty surprising as Williams was reportedly looking for a big money deal from a team willing to make him their primary recieving option. Over his four year career with the Chargers, Williams has posted 155 catches, 2,530 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging a healthy 16.3 yards per catch in his 55 total games played. Many believed this off-season would be the one where Williams emerged out of the shadow of Keenan Allen, but he’s simply moved right under Brown’s instead. In Oakland, Williams will be the clear WR2 and have some big games here and there. However, expecting a ton of consistency from him may be asking a lot. He looks a lot like a WR3 or flex player at the moment. He’s not nearly as talented as Juju Smith-Schuster and Derek Carr has yet to seem like Ben Roethlisberger. Williams’ ADP is likely going to stay around the same and could even drop a smidge based on the move. Those who acquired him with an eye towards this off-season may be a little disappointed. Things could change quickly for him if Carr really plays well, but that can’t just be expected.
JJ Nelson, WR OAK
Nelson has never been extraordinarily productive in his time in the NFL. In fact, he has just 81 catches for 1,439 yards and ten touchdowns over a four year career that spans 56 games. However, much like Williams, he has speed to burn, as indicated by his 17.8 yards per catch career average. It’s going to be fun to see just what Jon Gruden can dial up, but it might be hard to find another set of receivers who are faster than this group. The Raiders want to run a vertical offense and they should have the group to do it. As for Nelson, his value is likely going to go up a touch. However, he’s likely going to be a special package player and occasional deep threat, making his week-to-week production pretty hard to guess and likely keeps him on the dynasty waiver wire.
Seth Roberts, WR OAK
At this point, Roberts still looks like the favorite for slot receiver duties in Oakland. However, he’s been pretty average throughout his career and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the Raiders continue to add receivers or even try Nelson in the slot on occasion. In short, Roberts just doesn’t look very exciting and likely would have capitalized on opportunities in previous years before the Raiders had this much talent around him. A breakout at this point seems a little unlikely.
Marcell Ateman, WR OAK
A pretty good sleeper just a couple of weeks ago, Ateman is now buried on the depth chart again. He’s still an intriguing player on dynasty watch lists, but his path to dynasty relevance is a tough one to see at this point.
Derek Carr, QB OAK
Well, you’re on notice, Derek. After a year where the Raiders couldn’t figure out how to use Cooper, then inexplicably traded him away, they’ve completely re-tooled their pass catchers and while the likely loss of Jared Cook will sting, Carr has playmakers again and this is clearly going to be a make or break season for him in Oakland. If he fails to impress this year, expect the Raiders to have a new starter when they open up their next era in Las Vegas.
Jordy Nelson, WR FA
After re-tooling their receiving corps, the Raiders have released Nelson. Once a feared player in fantasy and reality, Nelson is on the wrong side of 30 and has seen his production decline recently. He should latch on somewhere but has the looks of a dynasty roster clogger at this point.