Fantasy football is played with your heart but won with your mind! It’s not easy to resist drafting players from your favorite team. Thankfully, the Las Vegas Raiders had some viable fantasy options to choose from this year.
With eight games in the books, it’s the perfect time to assess how the Raiders’ fantasy assets have done thus far. All stats and rankings referenced throughout the article are based on the Point Per Reception scoring format.
Josh Jacobs: B-
Observation: Volume is king in fantasy football and Jacobs’ expected workload made him a fantasy commodity this year. Through nine weeks, only Derrick Henry (192) and Ezekiel Elliot (186) have more touches than Josh Jacobs (180). The volume is there, but his production hasn’t quite matched the hype. Jacobs finished in the top-12 in just three weeks so far, and he has finished outside of the top-24 in just as many.
Fantasy owners should be excited about the involvement in the passing game. The sophomore phenom is on pace for 52 targets this year, which would double his total from last year. The arrow has trended downwards in recent weeks, with just two targets in the last two weeks. Hopefully, Gruden can get back to manufacturing more touches in space for his star running back.
Outlook: Jacobs has been disappointing considering his draft capital. The schedule opens up a bit so expect his efficiency to increase. Jacobs is well on his way to eclipsing 1,000 yards on the ground and double-digits in the touchdowns. Don’t forget! It’s cuffing season so ’28’ owners need to have Devontae Booker on the bench. If Jacobs goes down, Booker takes on that RB1 volume.
Darren Waller: A-
Observation: Waller is the epitome of consistency in a very shallow tight end pool. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in six of eight games. He ranks second in targets, receptions, and fantasy points per game, trailing just Travis Kelce in each category. He’s only on pace for 788 yards, which is concerning, considering he went for over 1,100 receiving yards the year before. Waller has had four games this season in which his longest reception was just eight yards. Waller owners need to temper their expectations when it comes to the tight end’s receiving yardage.
Outlook: The positive regression in the touchdown department was highly touted by fantasy experts all offseason and we’re seeing it come to fruition. Carr’s favorite target has already matched his touchdown total from last year. Waller’s red-zone usage is what has made him a fantasy stud this year. The star tight end already has 11 red-zone targets this year, after only reeling in seven all of last year. If his usage goes up, Waller should be part of many championship rosters this year.
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Rest of the Raiders offense: C-
Derek Carr is having his best season since 2016, but it hasn’t translated to consistent fantasy production. He’s the QB19 on the season among quarterbacks with at least six games. He’s a fine streaming option or QB2 in superflex and two quarterback leagues, but besides that he’s not a must hold. His Week 5 air raid against the Chiefs was the only week he finished in the top 10 in fantasy points.
Nelson Agholor, Henry Ruggs III, and Hunter Renfrow can be left on the waiver wire. ‘Nelly’ has been a touchdown machine lately, but it’s hard to trust the volume in a run first offense. Ruggs should be having a much better year. The refs robbed him of a touchdown in the Browns game and Carr has missed him on several deep bombs.
Renfrow doesn’t see enough snaps to be viable. We would need to see three games in a row with six or more targets to trust any wide receiver going forward. Agholor has played at least 75% of offensive snaps in the last six games, so he would be the one to own.
The Raiders have their eyes on the playoffs and you should too. It’s winning time so stay water and stay active. Good luck rest of season and bring home the hardware!
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*Top Photo: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports