“Gamble at The Ramble” is a weekly FF piece discussing various topics regarding the Raiders weekly matchup while highlighting different FF implications within the game. Check back each week and request topics @TheRaiderRamble
It’s that time of the year where Fantasy Football begins to take over outside of your particular devoted NFL team fandom. For Raider fans, it’s time to see our biases flutter or fade in our particular FF matchups week to week.
This week the Raiders versus Rams contest will close out the first week of the season with the very last matchup of a Monday Night Football double-header concluding in Oakland. The FF storylines will decide many outcomes in Week 1, let’s cover the WR groups and who will emerge for best FF production in the contest.
Raiders: Since Gruden’s initial press conference he’s had lofty expectations for fourth-year WR Amari Cooper as the “focal point” of the offense. We’ve all had those expectations too but for Amari, it’s been an inconsistent ride thus far in the Silver & Black and his FF value has long been hard to trust. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance followed by stretches of games disappearing and of course, the drops have been an unwelcomed theme.
The targets will be there but will the production follow? In this week 1 matchup, I’m fearful he might be in for a hard day. Amari Cooper has seen Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib before and those are some tough corners to face out the gates.
This leads me to be more attracted to Jordy Nelson, not that he won’t face the same type of matchups but Nelson has been a very successful WR in this league, he’s proven he can make big, explosive plays while also being a coveted target in the red zone. The camp reports all offseason have suggested Carr’s comfort level and timing with Nelson is promising. I’m banking on the veteran savvy Nelson to be the most successful WR on MNF for the Raiders. The rest of the WR core to expected to play has some new faces in UDFA rookie and 2017 practice squad player Keon Hatcher, freshly signed Brandon LaFell and the familiarly worrisome Seth Roberts. Nelson is the guy I like the most in Week 1.
Jordy Nelson – 6 catches 71 yards and a TD.
Rams: Pick your poison a bit here, newly acquired WR Brandin Cooks seems to the be the big play speedster in this offense. Robert Woods is the most well-rounded option and Cooper Kupp had 94 targets last season on The Rams.
I’m going with Brandin Cooks because of his big-play potential. The acquisition was to fill a need by adding speed matched with productivity, something former Ram WR Tavon Austin failed to do. Cooks should be excited to face an unproven secondary group that will have its hands full with the whole offensive scheme the Rams ran so efficiently last season. I don’t expect Cooks to have a large number of targets but I believe the Rams will be setting up big play opportunities if and when Gurley sees the success everyone expects from him in the run game. They will get the ball in Cook’s hands in a multitude of ways with bubble/tunnel screens, reverses, and down the field strikes.
Brandin Cooks – 1 rush 22 yards, 5 catches 86 yards and a TD.