Kickoff: Sunday,September 17th, 2023, 1:00 PM ET
Location: Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
Betting Odds: BUF -9.5, 47.5O/U total via oddshark.com
Writer: Dustin Ludke (@TheDunit13 on Twitter)
Las Vegas Raiders
Jimmy Garoppolo (Start, QB2)
Jimmy Garoppolo is a better NFL quarterback than he is a fantasy quarterback. He is efficient enough to win games and provide targets for his wide receivers but doesn’t excite you when he is in your lineup. He faces a tough Bills defense that brings a ton of pressure which seems to be the Achilles heel for quarterbacks and that will be Garoppolo. See what I did there? If you are playing in a two-quarterback league, then he is a fine start, but I never expect big games from him. He only has 16 career games where he would be in QB1 range. He should be considered a QB2 every week but a low-end one this week.
Josh Jacobs (Start, RB1), Zamir White (Sit)
Josh Jacobs didn’t do much in Week 1 to prove he deserves a big contract, but I expect that to turn around. He still saw a workload of 19 carries. Denver has a stout rush defense and held him to only 48 yards. Jacobs will come in and turn things around against the Bills. Jacobs is more like Breece Hall who just had 127 yards on 10 carries than he is Dalvin Cook who had 33 yards on 13 carries. We expect the Bills to be better, so the Raiders might be in more passing situations. Jacobs did see three targets which was good for third on the team. It’s not a huge passing volume, but he has had 64 targets in the past two seasons so the work history is there. He should be in your lineup and you can expect big things from Jacobs this week.
I’m not starting Zamir White and might even drop him. The hope was he would have a role in a rotation as they saw what they had in him. He only played on 5 snaps which trailed Ameer Abdullah. He wasn’t involved and doesn’t seem like he will be without an injury.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Davante Adams (Start, WR1), Jakobi Meyers (Start, WR3), Hunter Renfrow (Sit), Austin Hooper (Sit), Michael Mayer (Sit)
Despite being unhappy, Davante Adams had a good game in Week 1. It was overshadowed by the game of newly acquired Jakobi Meyers, but Adams is still an elite receiver. He saw nine targets–a massive amount in today’s NFL. He played on 90% of the Raiders’ snaps and ran a ton of routes. He does have to face some tough coverage from the Bills in Tre’Davious White and the safety combo of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. They were able to hold Garrett Wilson to only five receptions but that was also with Zach Wilson throwing the ball. Jimmy G is a much better passer and can get Adams plenty of targets. In a game that projects to be pass-heavy, Adams should lead the team in targets.
What also helps Adams’s chances is that Jakobi Meyers is in concussion protocol. It’s a situation to monitor this week. If he plays, I’m throwing him in my lineup as a WR3. He was out there on two wide sets and led the team in targets despite running 24 routes, or five less than Adams. He will benefit from getting softer coverage from Christian Benford and the safety help leaning toward Adams. It’s clear that both can be viable fantasy options on the Raiders offense.
If Meyers misses, I might be interested in Hunter Renfrow. Until then, he can’t be in your lineups. He only played on 13 snaps and wasn’t targeted at all. He certainly has the potential to break games open with his route running, but until we see it with Jimmy G we can’t trust that he will do it.
The tight ends for the Raiders completely let me down in Week 1. Michael Mayer and Austin Hooper ended up cannibalizing each other and neither was good. Mayer didn’t even get a target despite playing 29 snaps. Hooper played 31 snaps and only saw one target. The Bills have some of the best cover linebackers and depth at safety so I’m not excited about starting either. There is still hope that Mayer can develop into a solid player, but his Week 1 usage didn’t look great.
Josh Allen (Start, QB1)
I’m sorry. I’m sorry if you are a Bills fan like me. I’m sorry if you have Josh Allen on your fantasy team. Here is the deal: You are almost certainly starting him despite the horrific failure Monday night. He has the potential to be the top quarterback each week but also forces way too many throws and makes some tear-inducing interceptions. He faces the Raiders, who just let Russell Wilson throw two touchdowns. Allen should bounce back. The issue will be the game script. Can the Raiders keep pace if the Bills and Allen figure out how to score? Allen should have the passing volume but we saw minimal rushing in Week 1. He is still a QB1. If he has another down week we might start seeing him get ranked as a QB2.
James Cook (Start, RB2), Damien Harris (Sit)
James Cook continued his preseason dominance in Week 1. He saw 12 carries and six targets. He was a focal point of the offense. He wasn’t overly efficient with his touches, compiling only 46 yards on the ground and 17 through the air on four catches. He should continue to be a focal point for the Bills especially if Josh Allen can’t protect the ball. The Raiders have a middle-of-the-road run defense rated at 62.5 on PFF.com which puts them at 18th overall. It’s a solid matchup for Cooks. You can start him as a mid-RB2.
Damien Harris was brought in to be a complementary back but failed to develop a role in the offense. He was injured most of the off-season and the rust looked evident in Week 1. He only played on 13% of the team’s snaps. He saw only one carry and two targets. He had fewer opportunities than Latvious Murray and Deonte Harty. He should still be on your bench because the rust will eventually fade and he is just an injury away from significant playing time. You just can’t start him.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Stefon Diggs (Start, WR1), Gabe Davis (Start, WR2), Khalil Shakir (Sit), Deonte Harty (Sit) Dawson Knox (Sit) Dalton Kincaid (Sit)
Despite the loss to the Jets, Stefon Diggs got peppered with targets. He saw 13 last night and that was against Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed who are two of the best in the league. He managed to haul in ten of them for 102 yards and a touchdown. This week he will see coverage from Marcus Peters and Jakorian Bennett. Peters is still good but not the shutdown corner he used to be. There should be plenty of room for Diggs to continue to carry the Bills no matter how many picks Allen throws. Start him as a WR1 because that is what he still is.
Gabe Davis had a down day in Week 1. There are some bright spots that should lead to more opportunities in the future. He played nearly all the team’s snaps. He was out there more than Diggs. He ran 47 routes and still had a 16-yard-per-reception average. It’s what I expected from Davis against the Jets. Historically he hasn’t been that good against them. This week against a weaker secondary I expect Davis to shine. You should start him as a WR2. I think he will see plenty of volume and get into the end zone at least once.
Khalil Shakir was nowhere to be seen on Monday night and it echoes what we heard coming out of camp. He wasn’t growing in his second year and the lack of playing time and targets reflects that. In his place, Deonte Harty stepped in and played on only 21% of the team’s snaps but saw four targets. He was only able to pick up nine yards on those targets so you can’t trust him. If you have read anything I have written or tweeted all offseason it’s that the slot role for the Bills isn’t worth much.
Everyone expected Dalton Kincaid to take over the slot and while he did line up there 59% of the time he was running routes, he trailed Dawson Knox who lined up there 64.3% of the time. The two tight ends saw four targets each and even though Kincaid caught one more than Knox, he had only one more yard than him. It’s encouraging that the Bills are willing to move the tight ends around the formation but they will continue to eat into each other’s upside. I can’t recommend starting either of them right now.