Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake Set for 2022 Fantasy Football Bumps in Josh McDaniels’ Screen-Passing Game

Josh Jacobs and/or Kenyan Drake could be PPR monsters under Josh McDaniels.

Throughout the years, Tom Brady and Mac Jones were ethered on social media for being “products” of the Patriots’ system. While Josh McDaniels did his best to make life comfortable for his two notable New England quarterbacks, the former went on to dominate in a new system, while the latter was the clear top rookie quarterback. Now as the Raiders head coach, McDaniels will look to make life easier for Derek Carr and improve the offense by implementing one of the more beautiful screen games in the league.

Friend of the program and X’s and O’s guru Ted Nguyen outlined McDaniels’ offense in a recent article on The Athletic and shined the light on why Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake could be fantasy monsters under their new play-caller.

Let’s face the facts. The Raiders sucked in the screen game under Jon Gruden. Out of Carr’s 4,804 passing yards in 2021, only 5.2 percent came on screen plays. Under McDaniels, roughly 10 percent of Jones’ yardage came on screens.

Last year, Jacobs was fourth on the Raiders with 62 targets (13 percent target share). On the other hand, Drake accumulated 40 targets had a 10 percent target share before fracturing his ankle in Week 12. Knowing how the Patriots did business in the past, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Drake gets the pass-catching duties due to his success against New England when he was with the Dolphins. Still, Jacobs should see an uptick in the passing game.

We all know White was McDaniels’ best pass-catching running back, but a number of other running backs caught passes out of the backfield over the years. In place of an injured White, the pedestrian Brandon Bolden caught 41 of his 49 targets, Damien Harris snagged 18 of his 21 targets, and Rhamondre Stevenson corralled 14 of his 18 targets. Back in the early 2010s, Shane Vereen saw seasons with 77 and 69 targets. White himself has also had 123, 95, and 86 target seasons and likely would have been in the 90s again this past season.

Thus, you can see the upside for both Jacobs and Drake in this scheme.

Nguyen described how McDaniels will harp on having one cohesive screen unit, which did not happen under Gruden.

“A strong screen game can create explosive plays without having to throw downfield and can slow down opposing pass rushes.

“Again, a good screen game is all about the details and timing from the entire team. The running backs have to get a certain landmark in time, the quarterback has to draw the defense in and throw a good pass over the heads of the pass rushers, and the linemen have to time their releases well and make blocks in space. All these details have been lacking from the Raiders screen game and should be a point of emphasis with McDaniels.”

The two running backs won’t be the only two players to benefit from McDaniels’ offensive scheme. Carr, Hunter Renfrow (of course), and Darren Waller should all benefit from an improved passing scheme and play-action game. Carr was one of the most efficient play-action quarterbacks in the league last season, but he only ranked 19th in play-action dropbacks. Meanwhile, Tom Brady routinely ranked in the top 10 of play-action dropbacks while playing in New England.

We’ll dive deeper into McDaniels’ offense at a later date. But in the meantime, check out Nguyen’s extensive breakdown on the team’s new-look offense.

Although the Raiders have had a solid offense over the past few seasons, let’s hope McDaniels can take their playmakers to the next level in fantasy football.

Keep an eye on The Wolf’s 2022 Fantasy Football Rankings & Big Board to see where the Raiders’ players land on his next update.



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