Las Vegas Raiders

Fantasy Ramble: This is the Week to Pick up the Raiders’ Defense

The title doesn’t feel right. It is hard to remember the last time the Raiders defense/special teams unit seemed like a good play in fantasy. Sure, they have had good games, but they were surprises. This week, they actually make sense as a streaming option. Let’s get into why that is.

The Raiders D/ST Has Been Quietly Solid Lately

It may be hard to believe given how many times the Raiders have been beaten handily this year, but the defense has actually played very well, especially in terms of fantasy. They are averaging five fantasy points per week, and that is including week two’s minus six point outing against Buffalo.

If you look at Las Vegas’ four most recent games, they have averaged nine points per week. It’s not as if they have played a ton of anemic offenses in that stretch, either. Look at the most recent matchup with Detroit. The Raiders’ defense still put up eight against one of the better offenses in the league.

A big reason for the recent increase in fantasy production is the turnovers. This is an area in which Las Vegas has struggled for several years. However, that finally appears to be changing. The Raiders’ defense has forced eight turnovers this year, all of which have come in the last five weeks. For comparison, Las Vegas only had 13 total turnovers last year. That trend should continue this week, as the Silver and Black have a very favorable matchup.

The Giants Provide a Great Fantasy Opportunity

The Giants are the perfect team to help fantasy defenses rack up the points. They lead the NFL in fantasy points allowed to defense/special teams units this year with 14.3 fantasy points per game allowed. That number is even more staggering when you consider that the next worst team is New England with 11.4 allowed.

The main reason why the Giants are such a great fantasy matchup is their anemic offense. New York is averaging just under 12 points per game, and just under 270 yards per game. While that gives opposing defenses a high fantasy floor, sacks and turnovers are what determine the ceiling. The Giants have been generous in those departments as well, allowing just over five sacks and one turnover per game.

If the Giants put up their average numbers on offense, the opposing defense would score 11 fantasy points in most formats. That’s already pretty solid, but you could argue that the Raiders might even be able to do better than average.

The Raiders D/ST Are a Great Pick-up This Week

ESPN currently has the Raiders D/ST projected to score 7.9 points this week, which is the third-highest projected score in Week 9. While eight points would be a solid performance, there is a good chance that projection is exceeded for reasons mentioned above.

Despite the high projection, the Raiders are currently only rostered in 40 percent of ESPN leagues. That number will only go up as we get closer to the contest. You should pounce on them now while you have a chance. Even if you have to drop another defense or another player, it should be worth it. Not only could you be looking at double-digits this week, but Las Vegas has another great matchup next week with Zach Wilson and the Jets.

*Top Photo: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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