I know it has been a rough week for Raider Nation after a Sunday Night Football meltdown in front of a national audience. It has been painful to recall the performance of the Raiders vs. the Redskins, especially from a fantasy football perspective. It is hard to battle my bias seeing the offense completely a mess across the board. Let’s take a look at this week’s AFC West rivalry matchup at Mile High Stadium vs. the Denver Broncos.
Time to “Cook” up some points
Raiders TE – Jared Cook
Cook has been a consistent target this season for Derek Carr catching 13 of his 17 targets (76.5%) and notching his first touchdown last week. The struggles of Amari Cooper and the injury status of Michael Crabtree this week gives me a reason to believe Cook is expected to have a larger role in the game plan. Denver has a lethal downhill pass rush headlined by star OLB Von Miller; the ball has to come out decisively on time from Carr.
The Raiders will have to use heavy sets and establish running the football behind its physical offensive line. They must avoid becoming one-dimensional on the road and allow Carr to let the game plan come to him by way of a play-action passing game. That is where Cook enters into play.
The frequency of blitzing from Denver allows for openings in the seams of their defense and Cook is a big target that Carr can trust this week. The Broncos have given up 19 receptions to tight ends, which leaves them in the bottom 4 of the NFL in that category leading up to Sunday. If Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing does not try to take advantage of Cook’s matchup it would be a mistake; Carr has to have a reliable option on the road in this game.
Prediction: 6 receptions 66 yards, 1 TD
Denver WR – Emmanuel Sanders
Raider Nation has great reason to be worried about the pass defense, and Sanders is grinning from film study. Sanders is coming off a game where he saw 15 targets, that is much attention from Bronco’s quarterback Trevor Siemian. This week the Raiders looks to expose the Bronco’s offensive line with Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and a blitzing scheme that should be sending Karl Joseph as well. I do like the Raiders chances of disrupting the pocket, but it has been too easy for opposing receivers to get open this season.
Sanders has swift feet and elusive playmaking ability with the ball which bodes well against a secondary that can’t even clearly define who is remotely their best cornerback. The missed tackles, bad angles, and struggles give way to a big day for Emmanuel Sanders.
Prediction: 9 receptions 122 yards, 2 TD
The Sleeper at Mile High Sunday
Oakland WR – Cordarrelle Patterson
The special teams ace and an offensive weapon, Patterson is a role player on a profoundly talented offense. This week is the type of matchup he can make an impact from the backfield and on short passes for chunk yards. Assuming Oakland goes for the power football run game to slow down Denver’s pass rush and set the tone, Patterson will be on the field more.
His pre-snap motion and versatile positional sets are due for setting something up. Once the defense is set on stopping Marshawn Lynch, Patterson is a perfect outlet in the receiver bubble/tunnel screen game that can hurt an aggressive defense.
Carr will need to find comfortable passing yardage somehow against the ball-hawking stars in the Denver secondary, and a short passing game can do just that. Patterson has continued to do damage when rushing the ball, and his world-class speed is a nice threat especially if they use him in misdirection reverses and spilt-back counter plays. Â This a risky play in any fantasy football format but might be very rewarding if your roster is injury-laden and falling apart, why not?
My Raiders FF matchup sleepers the last two weeks have had huge games:
Oakland RB – Jalen Richard Week 2 vs Jets
Washington RB – Chris Thompson Week 3 vs Raiders
Prediction for Cordarelle Patterson:
3 rushes, 42 yards, 1 TD
4 receptions, 47 yards