Offseason quarterback acquisitions have arguably the largest fantasy football impact of all transactions, as they are the ones who can make or break entire offenses. How do the biggest quarterback acquisitions of 2023 potentially affect the respective fantasy football outlooks of their new teams?
- Aaron Rodgers’ arrival to the Jets has the arrow pointing up on Garrett Wilson, but it comes with a high price – Rodgers’ has become much less efficient recently and Wilson’s ADP is approaching the first round.
- Derek Carr going to the Saints is excellent news for Chris Olave, as the Saints have a lot of room for passing volume growth.
- Jimmy Garoppolo is likely bad news to the efficiency and explosiveness of the Raiders’ offense, including the aging Davante Adams.
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Aaron Rodgers To The New York Jets*
*Pending trade with Green Bay
2023’s most prized quarterback acquisition domino has apparently fallen. After spending most of the early 2010s dominating both the NFL and fantasy teams, it appeared Aaron Rodgers was out of gas following the 2019 season. He had his two lowest full-season passing TD totals in 2018 and 2019 (he had never gone under 28 in any season which he started 15+ games) before winning back-to-back MVPs in 2020 and 2021.
However, his 2022 looked a lot like his 2018-19 run: his adjusted yards/attempt (AY/A) fell to 6.8 – a full yard less than his career average through 2021. He passed for his fewest yards per game (217.4, a full 50 yards fewer than his career average through 2021) while posting ZERO 300-yard performances (and only one 3-TD performance).
His rushing prowess – something that used to be a strength – has cratered in addition to his passing yardage:
Aaron Rodgers On The Decline
His TD and INT percentages have remained relatively stable over his career, but the above data shows he is losing nearly two fantasy points per game from his lost passing yardage and rushing output. That is the same as the difference between 2022’s QB6 (Justin Fields) and QB13 (Daniel Jones).
The Jets are now in talks to acquire Rodgers after a mutual parting of ways between the latter and the Green Bay Packers. In anticipation, the Jets have acquired Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman while trading away Elijah Moore and likely releasing Corey Davis. But the big projected winner of Rodgers’ arrival is 2022’s Offensive Rookie of the Year: wide receiver Garrett Wilson.
Rodgers’ fantasy football ADP has actually stayed relatively stable this offseason (10th round as QB15 per our friends at 4for4), but Wilson’s has jumped as high or higher than any other top player. Here is a list of the highest ADP risers (Rounds 1-3 only) since February 2nd:
Biggest Underdog ADP Risers
|Player||Current ADP||2/2/23 ADP||ADP Change||Pos Rank|
Already going in the late 2nd round before the Jets’ rumored quarterback acquisition, Wilson’s ADP has been nearly cut in half – you’ll now have to spend a late 1st/early 2nd round selection on him to acquire his services. The days of Wilson being selected in the late 2nd along with DeVonta Smith, Tee Higgins, Chris Olave, or DK Metcalf appear to be over. You’ll now have to take him over the likes of Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jaylen Waddle, and Saquon Barkley.
We absolutely love second-year wide receivers, as they are the most reliable breakout cohort in fantasy football. But given the steady decline of Rodgers referenced above, a lot will need to go right in order for Wilson to live up to that price. Although his quarterback play was below average, it took the 6th most targets in the NFL for Wilson to garner his WR21 finish.
The Jets also passed 627 times (6th in the NFL) last year versus the Packers’ 563 (18th). Certainly, Wilson will become far more efficient with Rodgers at the helm – but will the volume decrease? Wilson is going to need absolutely staggering efficiency or a significantly more aggressive offense to make the leap to WR1.
Considering that Rodgers’ hasn’t supported multiple top-40 wide receivers since 2017, it’s safe to say that (barring an injury to Wilson) Lazard, Hardman, and Tyler Conklin (87 targets a year ago) will be more of a thorn in the side of Wilson than actual fantasy contributors. The real question remains: can Wilson gain Davante Adams-like trust from Rodgers?
It’s difficult to project how this affects the Jets’ running backs as Breece Hall’s prognosis is still unclear,. Coming off an ACL tear, he is very unlikely to live up to his current 2nd/3rd round ADP:
RB finishes the year after a torn ACL over the last decade:
* AP 20.5 PPG (RB1 lol)
* Gurley 15.2 PPG (RB6, rookie)
* Jamaal Charles 4.1 PPG (RB75)
* Gio Bernard 8.1 PPG (RB38)
* Dalvin Cook 12 PPG (RB20)
* Saquon 9.9 PPG (RB33)
* Dobbins 9.7 PPG (RB31)
* Gus Bus 6.6 PPG (RB52)
— John Daigle (@notJDaigle) March 22, 2023
This could make Michael Carter a very intriguing PPR selection – especially as an early-season play for Zero RB teams – if his ADP stays in control.
All in all, Rodgers certainly seems vengeful enough to come out firing aggressively in 2023 to spite the Packers. But his arrival likely means only one fantasy-relevant receiver, whose ADP has soared potentially out of range. Couple in the team’s stout defense (Rodgers may not have to throw a ton to win) and Hall’s ACL injury, and we may be looking at a team to avoid come drafting season if prices do not improve.
Derek Carr To The New Orleans Saints
Perennially a “better in real life than fantasy” football player, Carr’s steadiness has never translated into elite fantasy football production:
Derek Carr career fantasy points per game finishes (minimum 8 starts):
QB20 (in 2022)
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) March 6, 2023
This, along with being on a Saints team with a fantastic defense and in a division where the other starting quarterbacks are Desmond Ridder, Baker Mayfield, and Carolina’s rookie-to-be-named-later, Carr is unlikely to be anything more than a middling QB2/streaming option for fantasy purposes.
But he has shown the ability to support very fantasy-relevant pass catchers such as Michael Crabtree (2015’s WR17, 2016’s WR12), Amari Cooper (2015’s WR21, 2016’s WR16, 2018’s WR18), Darren Waller (2020’s TE2), Hunter Renfrow (2021’s WR10), Davante Adams (2022’s WR3) and even Nelson Agholor (WR33 in 2020).
He’s now the prize quarterback acquisition on a team that just re-signed Michael Thomas and has up-and-coming superstar Chris Olave on the outside to go along with Juwan Johnson, speedster Rashid Shaheed, and Alvin Kamara.
Thomas’ is somehow not yet completely over his toe injury and turns 29 in June – his best days are likely behind him. With a nearly triple-digit ADP, the price is not prohibitive but clearly, the market does not expect him to be a difference-making fantasy option.
We should, however, be very excited about 2022 rookie star Chris Olave. He is another classic sophomore breakout candidate like college teammate Garrett Wilson but is a full round cheaper and had only 17 fewer PPR points on 28 fewer targets. Unlike the Jets, the Saints have room to grow when it comes to pass attempts. New Orleans finished T-27th (with San Francisco) in pass attempts, and a boost to league-average (very likely with their competent quarterback acquisition in Carr) would raise Olave’s ceiling.
Carr’s underrated efficiency is also a huge plus for Olave and Co.:
well…. this will be interesting
rank on passes > 15 yards:
Derrek Carr: #9 of 47 QBs (+0.58)
Jimmy G: #42 of 47 QBs (-0.01)
rank on passes > 30 yards:
Carr: #10 of 47 QBs (+0.98)
Jimmy G: #40 of 47 QBs (-0.58)
Davante Adams goes from Rodgers' arm to Carr to Jimmy G
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 13, 2023
While this is good news for the Saints, it may spell trouble for this next player’s receivers…
Jimmy Garoppolo To The Las Vegas Raiders
Per usual, Jimmy G has fared much better in real life (back-to-back NFC Championship appearances) than in fantasy (zero career top-14 seasons). However, he now goes from a true offensive genius in Kyle Shanahan to only a self-proclaimed one in Josh McDaniels. How much does that matter for his production?
as the league's best offenses move to being more yards after catch based, we can divide the contributions among the quarterback, receiver and play caller to see who is influencing their team's YAC the most
— Tej Seth (@tejfbanalytics) March 8, 2023
Considering the fact that only five teams passed fewer than the 49ers last season and how much YAC (yards after catch) Shanahan schemed out of stars such as Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and Christian McCaffrey, you can see why Garoppolo probably doesn’t deserve much credit. He seemingly gets the ball where it needs to go relatively often…and that’s about it. He adds nothing with his legs, and as mentioned previously, his deep ball/outside-the-numbers throws are very much lacking.
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 13, 2023
So can Josh McDaniels work some old Patriots magic with his prized quarterback acquisition? Judging by McDaniels’ 2022 and the notable downgrade from Derek Carr to Garoppolo, it’s not likely. Fellow ex-Patriot Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Renfrow are far cries from the 49ers’ skill-position players in terms of talent with the ball in their hands, and Davante Adams turns 31 in December.
It’s likely that Adams will continue to rack up short receptions, but his first-round ADP means he needs to continue his elite production as he ages and with the worst quarterback he’s consistently had since Brett Hundley. The offense will continue to run through 2022 stud Josh Jacobs, who should see his fair share of dump-offs from Garoppolo.