The Oakland Raiders offense was overall a disappointment in Jon Gruden’s first season back as head coach. Gruden is known for his creative offenses, but injuries sapped the team of its potential.
Marshawn Lynch had a solid start to the year, but went down, along with most of the offensive line. Amari Cooper was shipped off to the Dallas Cowboys. Now, the entire offense has been reloaded with a few new faces on the line and Derek Carr being one of the few returning offensive starters. This gives Oakland some intriguing options on the fantasy football landscape.
Oakland Raiders Fantasy Football Outlook
Jacobs is considered the safest Raider to draft in fantasy football this season. He’s basically already been given the starting role, and his versatility as both a runner and pass-catcher should give him a very safe floor. However, Jacobs’ lack of experience both in the pros and college should be concerning considering his ADP.
He’s currently sitting at the RB16 spot, right between Devonta Freeman and Derrick Henry. Marlon Mack and Aaron Jones are also being rated behind him. While Jacobs is probably the back to go with in PPR over Henry and probably even Mack, it is tough to justify taking him over Freeman or Jones. Freeman has dealt with injuries the past two years but has been a top-ten running back as recently as 2016.
Jones was inexplicably underutilized for most of the season in 2018. However, he finally pulled ahead at the end of the year. As long as he gets his hamstring injury in check, he is a much safer pick, with about the same ceiling as Jacobs.
Brown’s ADP is falling fast in leagues due to his off-field antics. He’s garnered the spotlight almost non-stop since his trade to the Silver and Black, and with good reason. Brown has been a top wide receiver in the league for years. Brown may be dealing with frozen feet and helmet issues, but rest assured, he will be on the field ready to go Week 1.
If there is one player that fans should look to draft from the team, they should target Brown. After being the consensus number one wide receiver off of boards at least the past five years, Brown has taken a nosedive all the way down to the WR8, or 19 OVR. This is ludicrous. Through Week 16 last season, Brown was the WR1 overall in fantasy. In fact, the last season Brown was a top-two fantasy receiver was all the way back in 2013. Even with a new quarterback, there is no way that Brown regresses that much.
He could be one of the best values in the entire league this year.
Many are predicting Brown’s downfall mainly because of a quarterback change. However, how much of Ben Roethlisberger’s production came on Brown’s behalf. In fact, Big Ben’s numbers pre-Brown are eerily similar to Carr’s:
Stat Nugget I found (per game)…
(Pre Antonio Brown as a starter in PIT 2004-2010)
227.3 pass yd/gm
1.5 Td % 0.9 Int%
62.9% comp %
( Pre Antonio Brown 2014-2018)
240.2 pass yd/gm
1.6 TD% 0.7 Int%
62.9 comp% pic.twitter.com/mcvmA6WZjV
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) March 18, 2019
So maybe instead of Brown regressing, he could help Carr progress.
The only year Carr was fantasy relevant was the Raiders’ magical 2016 season, when he was in the MVP conversation. Up to his leg injury Week 8, Carr was the QB8. That year he had an excellent tandem of wide receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, as each of them went over 1,000 yards receiving. While Williams is questionable compared to Crabtree, this is undoubtedly the best wide receiver room Carr has ever worked with.
Currently, Carr is in more of a wait-and-see position. He will go undrafted in many leagues, so he can probably be grabbed on waivers. But, if some fans are convinced that he will perform, he might be worth a flier in the final round of drafts.
The Raiders’ other new wide receiver is Williams. He is sitting with about a twelve-round grade on him, ranked as the WR50. It is difficult to predict if he will really be fantasy relevant this season. Like Carr, he had one season of fantasy relevance back in 2016. However, it was mostly due to volume, as his old team, the Los Angeles Chargers, had a ton of injuries at the position. He totaled 1,059 yards on 69 catches. But, with 119 targets, he only had a 58 percent catch rate.
He improved those numbers to the low 60’s his next two seasons, but he saw his yardage drop each year as well. Williams will be a great compliment to Brown in real life. However, playing second-fiddle means that he won’t see a ton of targets, and has a very low floor every week. Should Brown miss any time though, he could be slotted into fantasy lineups.
Richard was quietly a great back in deeper leagues last season. Operating as Carr’s safety valve underneath, he saw a lot of looks due to an undermanned receiving corps. The team just signed him to a contract extension in the offseason to reward him, making many think he will still be a big part of the offense.
But he probably won’t be. Oakland’s running backs the past two years, Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin, were more traditional backs who didn’t catch a lot of balls. They would usually concede the field on third down, or if the team went down big and had to abandon the run. Rookie runner Jacobs will not do that. As mentioned, he is versatile and could make Richard obsolete altogether. Even in deeper leagues, Richard should be avoided.
A lot of Raider fans are high on Renfrow this year. The rookie wideout has already staked his claim at the number three wideout spot for Oakland. Sure, he will contribute some to the offense, but he will not be fantasy relevant. Don’t draft him.
Finally, this one should go without saying, but no one should even entertain the thought of rostering the Raiders defense. Yes, the team got two first-round defenders. Yes, they brought in some veteran linebackers in Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall. Sure, their younger guys like Arden Key and Gareon Conley are getting experience. But this defense will still struggle this year. Stay away.