Raiders @ Broncos
A game between two teams with nothing to really play for turned out to be quite entertaining at the end, as Derek Carr connected with Darren Waller on the two-point conversion attempt to give Jon Gruden his 114th win as a head coach and earn the Raiders their first .500 season since 2016. The Raiders turned the ball over 4 times, while the Broncos attempted their own shenanigans by running Brandon McManus onto the field to attempt a 70-yard field goal. Today’s result was a microcosm of both teams’ 2020 seasons, with the Raiders struggling on defense and looking puzzlingly bad at times, but at the same time showing flashes of brilliance offensively. The Broncos struggled to get Drew Lock going and relied on Melvin Gordon III to slowly, but surely, pick up a couple of yards on the ground on each handoff. Both teams head into the offseason looking for ways to compete in a division dominated by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders won this one 32-31.
Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr: 24/38, 371 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 3 sacks | 2 carries, 1 yard
Carr had a couple of costly mistakes today, tossing both of his interceptions in his own territory. The interceptions were especially notable because Carr had thrown just 5 interceptions all season, putting him in the top 10 among starting quarterbacks in that category. Other than that, it was a fairly mundane day for Carr, who completed 63% of his passes (around his season average), tossed a couple of deep balls to Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones, and relied on Darren Waller in the short-yardage situations. On the bright side, he did have a pretty sweet back-shoulder throw to rookie Bryan Edwards for a touchdown right at the end of the second quarter.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) January 3, 2021
Josh Jacobs: 15 carries, 89 yards, 2 TDs | 1 target
Devontae Booker: 5 carries, 16 yards
Just like the rest of the season, Jacobs was reliant on the touchdown to maintain fantasy relevance. He was barely involved in the passing game (as has been the case for this season and last season), but at least he was able to find running room on the carries he was given on the day. Jacobs struggled throughout the season to find any rushing room behind his offensive line, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry on the season but 5.9 YPC against the Broncos. Last season, Jacobs was a revelation for the Raiders’ offense, averaging 4.8 YPC and accumulating 1,150 yards, but he obviously was not able to replicate close to the same level of success, as opposing teams were able to penetrate a very mediocre Raiders’ offensive line unit (17th in Adjusted Line Yards, 20th in Stuffed Rate, etc.). Next season, it will be up to Gruden and Co. to find ways to get Jacobs more room to run.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Darren Waller: 10 targets, 9 receptions, 117 yards, 1 TD
Nelson Agholor: 4 targets, 1 reception, 57 yards
Bryan Edwards: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 51 yards, 1 TD
Henry Ruggs III: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 38 yards
Hunter Renfrow: 7 targets, 3 receptions, 24 yards
It was the Darren Waller show today, just as it has been the Darren Waller show all season. Ranked 11th in receiving yards heading into the game, Waller did not disappoint fantasy managers who still needed him in Week 17, reeling in a sweet TD catch in the first quarter to bring the Raiders even with the Broncos. Carr looked for Agholor deep downfield a handful of times, but Agholor was only able to corral one of the deep throws from Carr. Outside of Waller and Agholor, Carr looked for Ruggs and Renfrow at times, but the targets were generally low-quality dump-offs and short-yardage passes. Ruggs showed flashes of his first-round talent this season, but Gruden and Carr did not make him a true point of emphasis in the offense.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) January 3, 2021
Drew Lock: 25/41, 339 yards, 2 TDs, 2 sacks | 2 carries, 7 yards
Is Drew Lock any good? He has looked downright atrocious at times this season, especially against competent defenses. He will end the season with more interceptions than touchdowns and just 2,500 passing yards despite playing in 13 games. He was fine today, completing a fair amount of passes (29 were attempts of 10 yards or less), but that is just the problem with Lock so far. He completed just 57% of his passes this season and did not run enough this season — or even today — to compensate for his poor accuracy. Granted, he just completed his first full season under center, so it is too early to label Drew Lock a “bust,” but there is a lot of talent in this Broncos’ offense that can be tapped into.
Melvin Gordon III: 26 carries, 93 yards, 1 TD | 6 targets, 4 receptions, 17 yards
Royce Freeman: 2 carries, 21 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 1 yard
Gordon did what he has done all season: produce a reliable amount of yardage, score a TD or two, and make a handful of catches. For people looking for an RB2, Gordon was a perfect fit. He had the volume and a good enough offensive line not to get stuffed at the line of scrimmage. He technically signed a 2-year contract with the Broncos during the offseason, so he could be back next year, but it was a fairly expensive contract, so John Elway and Co. could choose to cut bait with him and roll with Royce Freeman as their RB1. If Gordon is back, he has the potential to produce solid numbers once again.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Jerry Jeudy: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 140 yards, 1 TD
Noah Fant: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 48 yards
Tim Patrick: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 46 yards
Tyrie Cleveland: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 45 yards
Speaking of flashes of brilliance, Jerry Jeudy redeemed himself brilliantly for last week’s drops by turning in a 94-yard TD reception. Jeudy simply outran the entire defense en route to the end zone. Unfortunately, Jeudy, Fant, and breakout WR Tim Patrick go as Drew Lock goes, so today was pretty slow. Fant and Jeudy have both shown that they can be fantastic weapons for whomever is under center, the issue is finding them with regularity so that they can make said plays. Looking towards next season, Patrick (who left early) has developed a nice rapport with Drew Lock, so he could be worth looking into as a sneaky WR3 pick next season. The offense has a great ceiling, it is just a matter of unlocking the potentials of their best weapons.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) January 4, 2021
— Adam Sloate (@MrAdster99)