Sannes' Win Total Projections: How Davante Adams Alters the Raiders' Outlook
Entering free agency, the Green Bay Packers were atop my power rankings. They were bringing back Aaron Rodgers, and their quality metrics last year came despite injuries at key positions.
Then Thursday happened.
Blockbuster: Packers are trading Pro-Bowl WR Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders for two prime 2022 picks, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2022
The Packers had already been bumped from the top spot in the power rankings when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded for Shaq Mason. Now they've fallen even farther while the Las Vegas Raiders have become the biggest risers of the week.
Let's dig into both teams and see what this means for them in the betting markets.
A New Toy for Derek Carr
Prior to the Davante Adams trade, my priors on the Raiders were low. It was largely due to their pass-catching corps.
Safe to say that's no longer the case.
We saw a massive difference for Derek Carr last year before and after Henry Ruggs' release. Here are his splits in that time, as illustrated by numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP). NEP is our expected-points metric with Passing NEP including deductions for expected points lost on plays such as sacks, incompletions, and interceptions. Success Rate is the percentage of drop backs that result in positive NEP.
|Carr in 2021||Passing NEP/DB||Success Rate|
|Before Ruggs' Release||0.28||51.6%|
|After Ruggs' Release||0.01||48.0%|
It's worth noting that Darren Waller also missed time in the latter stretch, and he's obviously back for this year. But in the games Waller played without Ruggs, Carr's Passing NEP per drop back was actually even lower at -0.09. They just didn't have a field-stretcher, and it collapsed the offense.
Adams isn't a burner, so the Raiders could still use that speed element, but this is a massive upgrade in the portion of my model that gets the heaviest weight. It has elevated the Raiders from 22nd entering free agency to 17th now, the largest positional rise of any team in the league. It's still a distant fourth in the AFC West (the Denver Broncos are 10th), but it's an improvement.
As a result of the move, the Raiders' divisional odds have shortened to +500 at FanDuel Sportsbook, mostly at the expense of the Kansas City Chiefs (who lengthened to +135) and the Broncos (to +310). I still have the most interest in the Los Angeles Chargers at +260 but think I might be able to get a better price down the line. Regardless, this is a huge upgrade for the Raiders, and it means they will be on my radar once win totals are posted.
How Far Did the Packers Fall?
So, we know the Packers are no longer in first, as that's now the Bucs. But just how far did they tumble?
Not all that far, and they're still firmly in that upper echelon. I've got the Packers fourth now, trailing the Bucs, Chiefs, and Buffalo Bills. There's a non-negligible gap between them and the Bills (they're actually closer to the fifth-place Chargers), but it's still a good team.
That's also a gap they could partly erase if they were to add a receiver elsewhere. Still, it's a legitimate hit.
I do think this downgrade is being properly reflected in the betting markets. The Bucs are +360 to win the NFC Championship while the Packers are +490, tied with the Los Angeles Rams (who are sixth in my power rankings).
The one potential area with lingering value is in the NFC North odds. The Packers are now -195 to win (66.1% implied), and I could see that being a value. No other NFC North team is in the top 10 of the power rankings, and both the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears are 25th or lower. So, the Packers may be undervalued there. Whether it's enough to justify locking up bankroll for 10 months is the bigger question there.
Other Notes From Free Agency
Plenty of other stuff has happened since our last update, so let's blitz through some notes on other teams from the past few days of free agency.
Right now, the biggest faller due to free agency is the Dallas Cowboys. They were sixth for me even after the Amari Cooper trade. But with Randy Gregory's departure and La'el Collins' release, they've slid down to 11th. It's possible I had them too high to begin with, but I assumed they'd find a way to retain more of their talent. Even Cedrick Wilson left, and I had assumed he'd be back.
Sitting 11th is still not bad. But, it's clear the Cowboys have some impactful holes to fill. They're inching closer to the Philadelphia Eagles, who sit 16th for me, so the NFC East is tightening.
Adding Allen Robinson has pushed the Rams back up to sixth, part of a ping-pong effort over the past week. They started in 5th, fell as far as 10th once Von Miller signed elsewhere, and wound up back in 6th now. I had dinged their passing efficiency with Robert Woods and Odell Beckham coming off ACL tears (and Beckham a free agent), so adding in a dependable pass-catcher aided them quite a bit.
Finally, the New England Patriots' approach to the offseason has been odd, to say the least. They've made a bunch of moves that have seemingly been intended to cut costs, and it means they'll likely have new starters at both guard spots and right tackle, in addition to a new offensive play-caller. Maybe they're shedding salary to bulk up elsewhere. But for now, I've got the Patriots down to 15th after they opened in 12th.