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NFL Today: Can the Raiders Make More Progress?

June 18, 2024 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Gardner Minshew II will likely be the starter for the Lav Vegas Raiders.
Can Gardner Minshew improve the Raider offense? (Sports Illustrated/Raider Maven/Darrell Craig Harris)

The Chiefs continue to get into trouble as DL Isaiah Buggs has been arrested — for the second time in a month; Tee Higgins signed his franchise tag and is expected to show up for the Bengals training camp; and Detroit has reached into the UFL to sign kicker Jason Bates to a two-year deal. These are some of the stories we’re following as we’re now less than three months away from being able to put our money where our mouth is for NFL games at FanDuel.

Raider QB Woes

The Las Vegas Raiders showed some progress last year, improving by two victories to finish just shy of their first winning record since 2021. The gains were driven by major defensive strides, finishing in the top 10 for the first time in 21 years.

But further progress this season may be tough to come by based on an inexperienced coach and a lack of stability at quarterback.

Currently, the Raider depth chart at QB has Gardner Minshew II, Aidan O’Connell, Anthony Brown Jr. and rookie Carter Bradley. Does this group inspire confidence? Well, recent 2025 NFL mock drafts have Las Vegas taking a quarterback in the first round, so that should tell you something.

Minshew actually had the Colts rolling last season, but with the Raiders expected to skew heavily to a run-based offense, he’s unlikely to build on last season’s bounce back. In fact, you can probably ignore him even in two-QB leagues unless you’re desperate for a bye-week replacement.

If O’Connell emerges as the starter for the Raiders (and he is expected to be given every opportunity to do so), he doesn’t offer any more hope. He’s not a big play QB (unlike Minshew… at least in the virtual world — see video below), so you can completely avoid him in Fantasy leagues.

One of Brown Jr. and Bradley might make the team or be relegated to the practice squad. The loser of this battle will be set adrift on an ice floe (or the NFL version of this fate).

Amari Cooper’s Contract Squabble

Full training camps get underway in just over a month, but the Cleveland Browns have a valid concern over whether wide receiver Amari Cooper will show up or not after he skipped mini camp last week.

He’s heading into the final season of a five-year, $100-million deal he signed with Dallas and based on some recent contracts for other 30-something receivers (Devante Adams, Mike Evans, etc.), Cooper obviously feels he deserves more. And considering Cooper remains highly productive (back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons), he probably does. Hell, he piled up a career best 1,250 yards receiving last year despite missing two games.

At this point, it sounds like term is the sticking point, but we expect this deal to get done sooner rather than later, and assuming it does get wrapped up, consider Cooper a decent WR2 for Fantasy purposes.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

It took David Bowie some time to hit it big, releasing several singles with local bands and an eponymous solo album, all of which failed to strike a chord. But in 1969, he hit the charts with “Space Oddity” and never looked back. From the 1988 concert film, Glass Spider, here’s “Loving the Alien,” originally the lead track from the 1984 album Tonight.

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