“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.

One way to forget the fantasy football disgust from the Oakland Raiders’ Week 3 performance versus Washington was to lose Derek Carr to injury in Week 4. Consecutive games of offensive struggles have depleted the value of many Raiders in all fantasy football formats.

Now we’re at the end of the first quarter of the season and there is warranted consideration to re-evaluate your roster, especially any Raiders. Here come teams’ bye weeks, mounting injuries, and offensive trends that can dictate how you handle your fantasy football team. It’s Week 5 so let’s take a look at the fantasy football matchups to take advantage of in the Raiders vs. Ravens matchup this Sunday in Oakland.

Amari Cooper, WR

I’ve been extremely hard on Cooper’s awful statistical start to the season. Cooper deserves every bit of criticism for his league-leading seven drops and poor production. As of right now, I just can’t give up on him during this three-game home stretch, particularly this Sunday against a reeling Ravens team.  The Ravens have some injury concerns at cornerback this week regarding Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb; this gives me renewed confidence in Cooper Sunday.

There’s a new quarterback under center in Oakland.  EJ Manuel takes the reigns after showing some promising things last week vs. the Broncos defense. During the 2016 season, back-up quarterbacks targeted Cooper with success; both Connor Cook and Matt McGloin found success by having confidence in Cooper so we should expect Manuel to do the same tomorrow.

The large portion of Crabtree’s production with Carr are timing routes and back-shoulder throws along the sidelines. I can’t see Manuel succeeding with those types of touch passes, Cooper’s route tree over the middle of the defense and double-move patterns seem to fit the bill for Manuel’s stronger delivery of the football.  Therefore, I see Cooper showcased as Manuel’s highly targeted pass catcher this Sunday.  If the power run game is established like I think it will be, Cooper will benefit even more in a few aggressive play-action opportunities down the field.

Prediction: Cooper tops his entire 4 game season total in reception yards (112) Sunday.

8 receptions 118 yards, 1 TD

Mike Wallace, WR Ravens

I’m pretty shocked to see Mike Wallace’s availability as a free agent in all fantasy football formats this week. Wallace is coming off his best game of the season vs the Steelers. Wallace recorded 6 receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown while getting a solid 10 targets in the passing game; the matchup of Wallace versus the Raiders secondary is more than favorable.

Wallace might be drawing potential matchups with David Amerson, Gareon Conley, TJ Carrie, or Dexter McDonald. The Raiders cornerback group as a whole has shown vulnerability.  Last week, Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian missed some open reads to wide receivers instead settling for the safer throws to his backs and tight end. The Ravens offense’s best chance of putting up points will be in finding ways to capitalize on the secondary miscues the Raiders left on film last week.  This makes Wallace a threat with his speed and ability to line up inside the slot or outside to draw the matchup they like.

The Sleeper in Oakland Sunday

Giorgio Tavecchio, K Raiders

The newest cult hero in Oakland is Tavecchio, a kicker that has been cut six times before by NFL teams. Tavecchio is now 7 of 7 on field goal attempts and 10 of 10 on extra points.  Unfortunately, the stall of the Raiders offense the last two weeks has hurt his fantasy football value; that changes Sunday.

The Raiders will be taking the points any chance they can get in a much more conservative approach to managing the game with EJ Manuel at quarterback. The Ravens will struggle offensively and the field position control by Raiders punter Marquette King will create an advantage. This will favor the Raiders offense playing on a short field creating manageable opportunities to score. That’s when the field goal opportunities will increase for Tavecchio, who will be comfortable kicking at home without any infield dirt. Tavecchio is largely a free agent in all fantasy football formats, the minimal risk presented, pick him up!

Prediction: 4 of 4 Field Goals, 2 of 2 Extra Point

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Written by Sean Hildebrandt

Spilling my drinks & thoughts on my Raiders addiction. Proud Father - Family man living in beautiful Honolulu, HI BA - English & Creative Writing - University of Hawaii at Manoa

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