Darren Waller TRADED | Fantasy Fallout

by Theo Gremminger · Contracts & Free Agency

A few hours after announcing they were signing Jakobi Meyers in free agency, Las Vegas traded Darren Waller to the New York Giants for a 2023 third-round draft pick. This trade is entirely out of left field and extremely exciting. There also are significant fantasy impacts for both teams. 

The fact remains: Darren Waller is now a New York Giant.

Waller’s Production

The last two seasons have disappointed Waller fantasy managers, but we do not have to go back too far to see what kind of production he is capable of. In recent memory, Waller had two of the best non-Travis Kelce seasons at the TE position. In 2019 and 2020, he finished as the TE3 and TE2, respectively, and had 197 catches combined in the two seasons. In 2021, his ADP steamed up. In the FFPC, he was a popular first and second-round selection in high-stakes drafts. The 2021 season was a significant disappointment as Waller only played in 11 games. From a PPG level, Waller still finished as TE6 overall with 12.1 PPG.

Darren Waller Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Last season, in Josh Mcdaniels’ first year at the helm in Las Vegas, Waller had his worst fantasy season since his breakout in 2019. He played in only nine games and managed only 28 receptions. His 9.4 PPG we No. 10 at the TE position, but he failed to offer elite production.  

This move to New York is an outstanding opportunity for Waller. In redraft, he should settle in as a top-six selection for the position. In dynasty, this rejuvenates his value as New York is a situation where he could realistically lead the team in targets and be the number-one threat in the passing game. 

Brian Daboll

Brian Daboll is one of the game’s best offensive minds. Look at the receivers he wielded in New York’s playoff win over Minnesota.

We have not seen a Brian Daboll-led offense have a massive season from a move-TE like Waller, but Daboll has yet to have a player like him. In 2021, Dawson Knox was TE10 overall for Buffalo, but his fantasy scoring was TD-dependent. Waller will be used as an outside WR, lining up as an outside WR, seeing slot snaps, and utilized in traditional 11 and 12 personnel.

Waller also should be a great benefit to Daniel Jones. Jones had his best fantasy season as a pro in 2022, but he is still most comfortable and effective on low ADOT shorter throws. These are routes in which Waller should excel.

New York was the No. 5 in red zone efficiency but was only No. 19 in points per game (21.5) and No. 16 in total yardage. Waller is the type of player who can help the Giants score more points and accumulate more yardage—a simple game. 

So far this offseason, the Giants have extended Daniel Jones, franchise-tagged Saquon Barkley, and traded for Waller. This offense is on the up. 

Waller could have a similar path as former Giant Evan Engram had in 2022. Engram was TE15 and TE23 in the Joe Judge Stone Age offenses of 2020 and 2021, then found greener pastures in Jacksonville and finished as TE5 in 2023. 

Las Vegas Raiders: The Target Tree Consolidates

The Waller trade and the Meyers signing came just a day after Jimmy Garoppolo signed with Las Vegas. This offense should be heavily consolidated, with Adams-Josh Jacobs and Meyers being predictable weekly fantasy starters. 

Adams did Adams-like things in 2022, finishing as WR3 overall and scoring 20.2 PPG with a 32 percent target share. He is what he is: a proper alpha who can take over an NFL game at any moment. Adams is currently valued as the WR6 and No. 11 overall by FFPC drafters in early best ball drafts. Nothing should change- he is locked in. Jacobs was franchise-tagged after coming off of his career season. He finished as RB3 overall in 2022. Jacobs is RB9 right now in the FFPC.

Jakobi Meyers

After the big two, there should be plenty of work for Meyers. Last year the narrative that Hunter Renfrow would step into the Wes WelkerJulian Edelman slot role, a role that has continually provided fantasy managers with PPR gold, was a popular narrative heading into the season. Renfrow and McDaniel never clicked as he saw double-digit targets only once.

Meyers hand-picked this destination. He was among the most appealing free-agent WRs in the class and could have signed with multiple teams. Choosing to reunite with McDaniels speaks volumes about his comfort level in the offense and the opportunity he has in the slot. Trading Waller shows that the Raiders view Meyers as an integral piece of the offense as well.

With 150 catches in the past two seasons, Meyers has shown his ability to produce. He has never had a season with more than 126 targets, and it is hard to envision many more this season with Adams receiving his usual 160-180. A 22 percent target share last year in Las Vegas would have been 122. That seems about right.

In early best ball drafts, I will treat Meyers as a low-end WR3/high-end WR4. If Adams were to miss anytime, he would have a chance to put up WR2 numbers.