In Fantasy Football terms the Week 11 matchup with the New England Patriots was an abysmal performance by the Oakland Raiders.

What might be most startling is that the Patriots pass defense ranked dead last in the NFL and the Raiders couldn’t take advantage of it.

This is something many hoped the Raiders would exploit with Amari Cooper in the slot, Jared Cook in the seams of the defense, and Michael Crabtree finding his moments with back-shoulder throws from Derek Carr. Instead, the Raiders passing attack “dropped the ball” both figuratively and literally and fantasy football points were hard to come by.

It’s now Week 12 and the AFC West rival Denver Broncos come crawling into Oakland on a six-game losing streak. The Broncos last win was in Denver against the Raiders in early October. Let’s take a look at some of the fantasy football matchups and players to keep an eye on this week in what might be an ugly game.

Derek Carr vs Paxton Lynch – Who’s the better FF quarterback in this matchup?

This is a debate that’s quite puzzling, Carr is the more proven and capable talent, but it’s not that simple. It has been a disappointing season defensively, so many quarterbacks have lit up this unit from Jay Cutler to Tom Brady. So changes were made this week.

The Raiders defense can’t drastically change with a new coordinator after the firing of Ken Norton Jr., or can they? That will be the only cautionary worry behind playing Paxton Lynch; if the concepts he’s studying in the film room might be completely different from what he’ll see on the field Sunday in Oakland.

Lynch is in a great situation where he shouldn’t be scared to take shots all over the field against a defense yet to notch an interception while allowing over a 72.3% completion percentage. I really like Lynch’s potential for a big game working the intermediate passing attack underneath the Raiders soft coverage concepts.

We’ll find out if former Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave wants to use Lynch’s big arm and take shots on the struggling Reggie Nelson down the field. Remember that the Raiders defensive personnel is something Musgrave has seen with his own eyes from his stint in Oakland; all the more advantage for a great game plan for Lynch to see success.

Carr has been wildly inconsistent this season. Carr’s production seemed to be restored after throwing for over 300 yards during the three straight contests leading up to the Patriots game.  Then the offense stalled due to a wide range of troubling issues. The issues are fixable for the Raiders offense, but first-year offensive coordinator Todd Downing hasn’t shown the required innovation needed to remedy the scheme for success.

The Broncos defense is a much more difficult challenge than that of the Patriots, this takes away my confidence in Carr’s fantasy football production. Therefore, I’m surprisingly giving the fantasy football edge Lynch this Sunday.

Potential Sleeper Sunday
Raiders – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR

With Raiders wide receiver Seth Roberts coming off a disastrous game and quite frankly, a poor season considering his snap count in the slot, I’m hoping to see more of Cordarrelle Patterson.

Downing would be wise to feature Cooper in the slot to keep him out of unfavorable outside personnel matchups that the Broncos present. Crabtree might have an entertaining battle with the “chain snatcher,” cornerback, Aqib Talib. There’s some historical drama there from 2016 that might possibly dilute his production through distraction. That leaves Patterson in a position to make some plays either from the backfield or as a wide receiver.

Patterson is coming off his best statistical game as a wide receiver, catching 4 passes for 45 yards. I realize Patterson isn’t a polished wide receiver but he can make plays all over the field, something the Raiders are in dire need of on Sunday. Patterson has recorded two rushing touchdowns this season, both during home games in Oakland. The Raiders might have to reward his production from last week and find him more targets in this inconsistent offense. On the season, Patterson has a 78.3% catch percentage, time to increase the workload while the rest of the receiving core has struggled.

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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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