Raiders’ Week One Fantasy Football Preview

With the Las Vegas Raiders’ 2021 season opener on the horizon, which players will help you out in fantasy football?

Now that we’re so close to Raiders football, it’s time to go over which players should be worth you’re time on fantasy and who should be avoided. Just to be clear, the advice given will mainly apply to 12-team PPR leagues, unless it’s clearly stated otherwise.

QB Derek Carr

The veteran quarterback is already in mid-to-lower tiers in fantasy rankings. Now that Derek Carr is going against a formidable Baltimore defense, there isn’t much reason to start him. One key factor is that the Raiders’ restructured offensive line will be making its debut. There have been good signs for the starting O-line but it’s not guaranteed to click immediately, especially with the depth looking very thin. If they can’t hold against the Ravens’ pass rush, Carr will be in for a long night. Baltimore also allowed the fourth-fewest passing touchdowns to quarterbacks last year per Pro Football Reference. A more reassuring O-line would give more confidence in Carr but as of now, there are plenty of other quarterbacks that are in a better position for Week 1. 

RB’s Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake

Similar to Carr, the production of Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake will rely heavily on the offensive line. With both backs likely to get good playing time, it will just hurt their value even more. Running backs averaged 20.9 points per game and scored the fewest rushing touchdowns against Baltimore in 2020 per NFL Fantasy. Nonetheless, Jacobs is still a key player and will get some important usage on the goal line. Drake will be tougher to predict so he should be on your bench for now. As for Jacobs, he is a lower-end RB2 or flex option with touchdown upside.

WR’s Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards

Both of these receivers have the potential to be the WR1 in Vegas. However, it’s unclear how many targets they’ll get, so it’s best to sit both players. That being said, Ruggs has more upside than Edwards. In both games that Ruggs scored a touchdown, his PPR scores were 19.8 and 15.4, respectively. However, the rest of his season was very underwhelming so this puts him in the boom or bust category. If he scores a touchdown, that can win your matchup. If not, then you probably should’ve gone with a safer option. Cornerback Marcus Peters is out with an ACL tear so this will provide a small bump to the receivers as well.

TE Darren Waller

It’s not even a question if Waller should be starting. Despite the Ravens only allowing five touchdowns to tight ends in 2020, they also surrendered the fifth-most receptions and ninth-most yards to that position. He is Carr’s favorite weapon and will receive plenty of targets. Enough said.

K Daniel Carlson

There isn’t anything to worry about with Daniel Carlson as a kicker in general. The problem is that the Ravens allowed the least amount of points to kickers in 2020 per NFL Fantasy. Another issue is that this game has a chance to be a shootout, which means Carlson won’t be getting many field goal opportunities. It would be safe not to start him.

Defense/Special Teams

Even though the Ravens have been unlucky with injuries in the running back group, that should not encourage you to add the Raiders defense to your fantasy team. Lamar Jackson can still produce on the ground and through the air. As said before, this can be a high-scoring game and that drives the defense down even more. This unit shouldn’t be considered for a fantasy roster anytime soon.

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*Top Photo: Jeff Bottari/Associated Press

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