Raiders

Raiders WR Bryan Edwards Could Be This Season’s Fantasy Football Steal

Raiders
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

Edwards Fit in the Raiders’ Offense

It is difficult for any wide receiver to make an impact on their team year one. An even tougher feat is to make an impact in fantasy football year one as a wideout. However, Edwards’ rare experience of four college seasons as a starting wide receiver is only going to help speed up his adjustment to the pro game.

At first, it looked like it was going to be an uphill battle for Edwards. Tyrell Williams is the incumbent veteran, and the Raiders took Ruggs a full two rounds ahead of Edwards. In addition, Hunter Renfrow already carved out a role for himself in the slot as a rookie. Finally, Darren Waller had a breakout year at the tight end position. It looks like a crowded room for targets for quarterback Derek Carr.

News recently came out that has analysts re-evaluating their projections of the offense. For one, Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson stated that Ruggs would likely start the season out of the slot. While this isn’t good for Renfrow truthers, it opens up a spot that Edwards can slide right into. Carr also offered high praise for Edwards, likening him to Pro-Bowl wideout Davante Adams, whom the quarterback played with at Fresno State.

And the facts are that even Tyrell Williams has far from established himself as the number one option at receiver for the Raiders. Granted, a foot injury slowed him down most of 2019, but he only managed 42 receptions and 651 yards. On the whole, the veteran wide-out has seen his yardage fall every season since 2016, when he stepped up for an injury-riddled Chargers receiving corps. That year, he put up over 1,000 yards but really on volume alone. His 69 receptions on 119 targets were good for a dismal 58 percent catch rate.

After that, Williams saw his playing time cut with the Chargers as Keenan Allen came back from injury, and the team drafted Mike Williams. He was initially brought in to be the team’s number two receiver behind Antonio Brown. When “AB” didn’t pan out, Williams once again had to step up. Nonetheless, Williams is best when he doesn’t have to carry the entire load.

Edwards is used to doing just that, so don’t be surprised when he is that player to own in fantasy football over any of the other wide receivers on the team.

Related: Will Chiefs WRs Burn Raiders Inexperienced Secondary?

One of the Biggest Values Out There

The best thing about Edwards in fantasy football is that he is about as low risk as it gets. Edwards isn’t even on ESPN’s top-300 positional cheat sheet, meaning he likely goes undrafted. It wouldn’t be the craziest idea to take a flier on him with the final pick in the draft. For those that don’t want to go that route, he needs to be added to their watch lists. Keep an eye on not only his production, but his snap count the first few weeks of the season. Furthermore, compare it to Ruggs to see if one of them is picking up the game faster than the other.

Preseason is usually a gold mine for looking at what type of role a rookie is going to have, without it for 2020, it makes fantasy football projections extremely volatile. On one end, it makes it tough for anyone to get a look at Edwards against other pro-level players. On another end, it prevents him from rising too far on others’ radar.

In addition, it makes it unlikely that rankings for the other Raiders receivers will change much. With all of their roles still up in the air, Ruggs and Williams carry a high risk for those that draft them. Meanwhile, savvy players can keep Edwards on their radar and be ready to pounce if it looks like he will be a productive rookie.

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Top Photo: Sean Rayford/Associated Press

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