• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Antonio Pierce: Las Vegas Raiders New Head Coach: 3 Fantasy Impacts

Vibes are high in Las Vegas as the Raiders decided to remove the interim tag from Antonio Pierce and make him the new head coach of the franchise. Antonio Pierce took over in Week 9 and went 5-4 to finish out the season. The Cigar smoking, the players clamoring for him, and the attitude he brought are all reasons for the Raiders Nation to be excited. But should dynasty managers be excited? What does this hire mean for the pieces heading into the 2024 fantasy season?

 

The Quarterbacks

The Raiders made a turn under Antonio Pierce and part of that was due in part to the play of rookie Aidan O’Connell. So will he be the man under center in 2024? The Raiders are in a division with both Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. Two quarterbacks who are not just good but great. They have the ability to put up points in bunches so to keep pace the Raiders will need a quarterback who can at least come close to matching. I’m not sure O’Connell is that guy. 

 

In his nine games starting under Antonio Pierce, he has only three games with multiple touchdowns. He also has three games with no passing touchdowns. He had two games over 250 yards but was also very close in three others. He was very protective of the football. He only had five interceptions in that nine-game stretch and outside of a three INT game in Week 11, he didnt cost the team any wins. 

So can/will the Raiders replace him? The issue is supply and demand. I touched on this in a recent video. The Raiders own the 13th overall pick in the upcoming draft. They might be just outside the window of getting one of the top 3 guys. Given Antonio Pierce’s swagger and the culture that he has built in Las Vegas, it seems unlikely that he will be bringing in one of the second-tier quarterbacks. They may even be outside of getting a top 5 quarterback.  Our own Cody Folden (@CodyFolden) recently released his notes on the quarterback class

So What can O’Connell be a fantasy relevant in 2024? The Raiders have a star wideout in Davante Adams, who looks like he should be sticking around. They have an up-and-coming tight end in Michael Mayer and a solid #2 in Jakobi Meyers. It's a good cast but given the 9 game sample size I’m selling O’Connell right now. I’m selling him for anything over a mid-3rd. There are too many possible outcomes where he isn't the starter. They could draft someone or they could sign a veteran. Jimmy Garrppolo is still on the roster and under contract but rumors are swirling that they let him go 

 

Running Backs

With Josh Jacobs again looking for a new contract after playing on the franchise tag the Raiders will need to make a decision on their rushing game. Zamir White looked good once he took over for Jacobs in Week 15. He averaged over four yards per carry and was able to 20+ carries a game. He wasn't overly involved in the passing game which means the Raiders at least bring in someone to help out on third downs. 

 

The Raiders threw the ball 12th most over the season but were middle of the road under Antonio Pierce, especially in the games where White was the starter. Antonio Pierce is an old-school player who still brings some of that thought into his coaching style. He will want to run the ball and control the game clock. I expect White to get a chance to be the bell cow in 2024 so I’m buying White where I can. You should be able to acquire him cheaply at around an early 3rd. If you have him and can get an early 2nd for him I’m okay selling him there due to the possibility they bring in a vet who could eat into his carries. 

 

Wide receivers and tight ends

Having veteran and superstar wideout Davante Adams makes any offense at least not suck. He will be 32 entering the 2024 season. He hasn't lost a step yet. What makes him a great receiver is his late hands and route running. He presents a solid target for his quarterback and gets open when needed. His frustrations with the team might be squelched now that Antonio Pierce has been hired full-time. If you have him you are happy. I’m not spending too much to get him given his age.

 

The same would be the same for Jakobi Meyers. He came over from New England to play under Josh McDaniels. He quietly had the best season of his career and wasn't talked about. I expect him to be on my sleepers article come August but for Dynasty I’m only buying if I can get him as a throw-in on a trade. His current value is sitting right around the end of the 2nd and I would only want him for a late 3rd. 

 

The one piece of the offense I’m looking to buy is tight-end Michael Mayer. With how good fellow rookies Sam LaPorta and Dalton Kincaid did this season we forget that Mayer was talked about as potentially the best one in this draft class. He had a rough rookie season splitting time with Austin Hooper. Hooper is hitting the open market which will open up targets and snaps for Mayer heading into his second season. Despite finishing the last three games on IR he had two three games over ten fantasy points. He had an eight-game stretch from Weeks 6 to 14 where he played on over 70% of the team's snaps. We have been spoiled with tight ends playing well so quickly that dynasty owners might be down on Mayer, especially with the question marks at quarterback. His current value is a mid-third-round pick. He’s a steal at that price. He should easily return on that value. At worst he will be a rotational flex player. I would but him for up to a late 2nd all the way to the 2.07

antonio pierce

Sell Aiden O’Connell for a late 3rd or higher

Buy Zamir White for an early 3rd, sell for an early 2nd

Buy Michael Mayer for anything under 2.07

 

You can check out more on the coaching impacts around the league. you can find Jerod Mayo's impact here.