“Fantasy Football Gamble at The Ramble” – Sean Hildebrandt @Oahu_Raider808
This is a weekly piece aimed at covering The Raiders weekly FF topics. Topics will vary.
What a big stage for the Oakland Raiders this week taking on the Washington Redskins during a Sunday Night Football matchup under the lights in front of a national audience. Let’s take a look at a safe fantasy football play for both teams in the contest and of course my weekly sleeper play.
Familiar Face in a New Place
Washington WR – Terrelle Pryor
We all remember him. Al Davis’ very last draft pick was Pryor. Pryor was a fast, hyper-athletic project quarterback with rare measurements but an underwhelming polish at the position. Standing at 6’6″ and 240 lbs., Pryor had the physical presence that demanded attention. That size and speed combination eventually triggered his positional switch to wide receiver after leaving the Raiders.
Pryor stood out as a wide-out last season on a struggling Cleveland Browns offense. He then became a very appealing offensive piece and was signed by the Redskins in free agency. The acquisition seemed like a great fit for quarterback Kirk Cousins after this off-season, featuring Pryor as his new top target as a downfield threat after DeSean Jackson left town. Pryor has drawn 15 targets thru the first two contests with mild success catching only eight passes for 97 yards.
Pryor will probably match up with a fellow Ohio State Buckeye alumni in Raiders rookie Gareon Conley. Conley showed some great man coverage play in his season debut versus the New York Jets. Sean Smith is another option, a large corner with great size and length to physically disrupt Pryor in his route timing, although Smith does not possess the speed Pryor generates in space. Pryor could also see David Amerson in coverage; a speedy player with great agility, but his timing on the ball has been off in tight coverage this season.
I am not overly impressed with Pryor or the Redskins offense, but I see favorable matchups for Pryor to take advantage of on Sunday night. The Raiders defense looks much improved, but I like Pryor’s fantasy value in this game.
Prediction: 7 catches, 96 yards, 1 TD
Oakland RB – Jalen Richard
I featured Jalen Richard as my sleeper last week vs. the Jets, and he did not disappoint. In my opinion, he is separating himself as the clear-cut RB2 in the Raiders explosive offense for his versatility; this bodes well for Richard facing a Redskins defense that has been stingy vs. the run through two games. His exceptional playmaking ability as a pass catcher is what I like in this game, earning him an increased strategic role in the accurate short passing game of Carr in a hostile road environment.
Prediction: 8 rushes for 48 yards and 6 receptions for 52 yards, 1 TD (100 total yards)
The Sleeper in the SNF matchup
Washington RB – Chris Thompson
If you do not know much about Chris Thompson, it is time to keep an eye on him as an interesting depth play to your fantasy team. Thompson will remind you of Richard a bit, a smaller, versatile back with explosive playmaking ability every time he touches the ball. I like Thompson vs. the Raiders this week for a few reasons.
The Raiders have faced power backs in their first two games, for example, the physical duo of DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry on the Titans, and then the Jets’ Matt Forte, who’s become a “North-South” runner at the back end of his career. They have not seen an elusive, speedy pass-catching back like Thompson. The Raiders defense has played well against the run game, and I project they will continue to do so Sunday night. The high-scoring Raiders offense will put the Redskins into a frenzy to keep up, which puts Thompson on the field more as a great underneath outlet for Cousins to find.
The Raiders are a linebacker group by committee at this point, and the coverage assignment of running backs relies upon some very young players in Nicholas Morrow, Marquel Lee, and Cory James at times. Tight end Jordan Reed will steal some well-warranted attention from the group and Thompson can make the most of his touches. He has three touchdowns so far this season and with fellow teammate Rob Kelley sustaining a rib injury, I think the Redskins staff is downplaying a possible increased role intentionally.
Prediction: 6 rushes for 32 yards and 6 receptions for 58, 1 TD (90 total yards)