Raiders’ Fantasy Forecast: Las Vegas May Have Tough Sledding

Several Las Vegas Raiders had huge fantasy games against the New York Jets last week. Quarterback Derek Carr enjoyed one of his top performances of the year, and so did tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Henry Ruggs III.

However, the upcoming game against the Colts may not yield the same results. The Indianapolis Colts have built an extremely stout defense that could give the Raiders’ offense a fit. Right tackle Trent Brown and running back Josh Jacobs could potentially return for this game. If they do, this Las Vegas team will have an opportunity to score plenty of points. Let’s take a look at where the Raiders’ fantasy points could come from this week.

Start the Carr at your own risk

Carr had his best game of the season fantasy-wise in Week 13. He threw for 361 yards and had four total touchdowns. That was good for 31.7 fantasy points, easily his highest total of the year. When ‘DC4′ has to throw, he is extremely effective, but the Raiders employ a run-heavy offense that limits how useful he can be for fantasy purposes. Every now and then, though, he has a game like this and shows his potential as an elite quarterback.

Unfortunately for Carr, the Colts’ defense gives up 16.8 fantasy points, the third-fewest per game to quarterbacks. In Week 11, the ‘Horseshoe’ defeated the Green Bay Packers and held Aaron Rodgers to a mere 21.7 fantasy points. If you are relying on Carr at this point in the season in fantasy, it’s either because you’re a Raiders’ homer or your regular starter got hurt, so there’s no reason to stop rolling with Carr. He’s very capable of busting out a huge game even against a good defense, but don’t count on it.

Related: Raiders TE Darren Waller’s Commanding 2020 Campaign Continues

Raiders running back Josh Jacobs has a favorable matchup

It was easy to tell the difference in the Raiders offense with Josh Jacobs on the shelf last week. The sophomore running back will try to play Sunday, and if he does, he could have a strong day. ‘Indy’ has a middle of the pack defense against the run. They are allowing 159.9 fantasy points per game to running backs, 15th-best in the NFL.

Jacobs has almost 1,000 yards from scrimmage through 11 games played. He’s racked up 782 rushing yards and nine touchdowns while hauling in 175 receiving yards. If he’s up for a full workload, he could be in line for a big day, and possibly exceed his average fantasy total of 13.2 points per game. Start him with confidence unless his status changes between now and game time.

Don’t be afraid to play tight end Darren Waller

The Raiders tight end had a historic game against the Jets. He caught 13 passes for 200 yards and two scores, the sixth-best effort for a tight end in NFL history. The bad news for Waller is that the Colts are the best defense in the league against opposing tight ends, They allow 3.9 fantasy points per game to tight ends and he got as many fantasy points against the Jets last week as the Colts have allowed to tight ends all year.

The good news for Waller is that well, he’s Darren Waller, and Derek Carr is not going to simply stop throwing his way. The Patriots were able to shut Waller down, and the Raiders lost that game, so Carr ought to know better by now than to stop using his best weapon. The quarterback will surely try to spread the ball around as he always does, but he won’t ignore Waller, especially in the red zone. Waller might not have another massive game, but he is worth starting. Waller is a top-two tight end in the NFL and is a must-start every week, even against the Colts.

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Top Photo: Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

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