We noted earlier in the day the Raiders were one of the busiest teams in the league at the beginning of free agency. After all, they quickly added Jimmy Garoppolo and Jakobi Meyers to create “New England West” in the AFC. However, we had no idea they were preparing to drop a bombshell on the dynasty league landscape later in the day. They did just that by trading former All-Pro tight end Darren Waller to the New York Giants in exchange for pick #100 in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft (ironically, the pick New York got from Kansas City in the Kadarius Toney trade). The trade is a massive one in dynasty leagues and one that affects player values from Sin City to the Big Apple. Let’s reset the landscape yet again.
Darren Waller, TE NYG
Those who have been around dynasty leagues for any amount of time likely remember the Summer of 2019 when Waller was creating some buzz in Raiders camp and pegged as a potential dynasty league sleeper. What happened next was more than anyone could have possibly imagined as Waller posted a season line of 90/1,145/3 that year. Even better, he outdid himself in 2020 by recording a whopping 107 catches for 1,196 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, becoming one of the most dominant tight ends in dynasty circles.
All has not been wine and roses since, however. Waller has struggled with injuries over the past two years, limiting him to just 20 games the past two seasons. He was also woefully unproductive in Josh McDaniels’ system, recording just 28 catches for just 388 receiving yards and three touchdowns last year. He just simply hasn’t been the same since Jon Gruden hit the road.
Waller now gets a much needed change of scenery with the Giants. Make no mistake, this is a monster trade in the dynasty world. Waller immediately becomes New York’s best pass catcher (not just best tight end) and he’s now poised to have a true bounce back season. While we haven’t seen his best since 2020 and he’s now 30 years old, Daniel Jones should love what he brings to the table, especially after last year’s mess at the receiver position. Waller is our TE8 and while that likely won’t change much with this news, he again becomes a prime target for a contending dynasty team and his ADP is going to be back on the rise after cratering down past #100 over the past couple of months.
Daniel Bellinger, TE NYG
Bellinger showed some promise as a rookie posting a 30/268/2 season as the de facto replacement for the departed Evan Engram. However, the addition of Waller is going to throw some major cold water on his value. While he could still develop in time (and now at a more comfortable pace), he’s going to be tough to have on a dynasty roster if Waller is healthy. His ADP is surely going to nose dive now.
Daniel Jones, QB NYG
Danny Dimes has himself a legitimate toy. The Giants simply had to do something this off-season and with a weak wide receiver market in free agency, they went with the next best thing. Jones was signed to a four-year deal worth $160 million this off-season and now has himself the best receiving weapon he’s worked with thus far. There are clearly a lot of things that need to go right for Jones (Waller’s health is one), but his prospects are looking up after a very quiet, but solid 2022 season.
Saquon Barkley, RB NYG
Speaking of bounce back seasons, few had one like Barkley did last year. With Waller now in the fold, it’s conceivable we see Barkley have even more room to run. Regardless, this offense is going to run through him with or without Waller in the fold. Saquon will look to build on his 2022 campaign where he posted over 1,300 rushing yards, 57 catches, 338 receiving yards and scored ten touchdowns. He’s the engine of this offense and has himself all the way back into the top 20 in our ADP – this trade won’t change any of that.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB LV
Things change quickly! We’ve written about Garoppolo a ton this week and the narrative really doesn’t change – he’s going to be successful if he stays healthy. At this point, we just can’t count on that happening. The loss of Waller won’t help his cause much, though. The Raiders really need to address their offense and add to the group that includes Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Jakobi Meyers.
Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers, WRs LV
The trade of Waller likely helps Meyers more than it does Adams. Look, Adams had 180 targets with Waller in the fold for part of last season. It’s not like he can really command much more. As for Meyers, it looks like he’s the second option in the passing game now rather than the third and that could help his cause (as it could with Hunter Renfrow).
Foster Moreau, TE FA
Before you go crazy adding Moreau from the waiver wire, remember he’s a free agent and no lock to return to Las Vegas. If he does, he’s a solid sleeper. If he doesn’t we’ll need to stay tuned to see what the Raiders do. Dalton Schultz, anyone?