It’s been tough for Oakland Raiders’ fans in the past when they played fantasy football. Any fan wants to have players from their own team, but for Raiders’ fans there hasn’t been many solid and consistent fantasy threats on the team. Last year there were a lot of Raiders that had big games on occasion, but were inconsistent and dissipated at times (Denarius Moore). Going into the upcoming season, I think that will change. Most Raiders’ players are not projected to go very high in most drafts, but that doesn’t mean the Raiders won’t have players that are good fantasy performers.
Darren McFadden, Running Back
It was kind of hard putting Darren McFadden at #1. He is a very good fantasy performer, but I am little unsure whether he will have lingering feet problems after last year’s injury. Nonetheless, Darren McFadden can do it all. I expect Darren McFadden to adjust to the blocking scheme and do well. He might not have as many big runs as he did in the Power-Blocking scheme, but expect him to have more consistent gains, to go along with a higher overall average. If history proves to be true, Gregg Knapp will involve the ‘backs in the passing game more, which was something Hue Jackson was inconsistent in doing. When Darren McFadden gets the ball on a screen or other short pass, he makes plays in the open field. In his last stint, Knapp occasionally lined McFadden in the slot, so don’t be surprised to see that happen again. Like I said previously, there might not be as many big runs for McFadden as in the past, but the Zone-Blocking Scheme will allow McFadden to produce more consistent performances. If healthy, I expect Darren McFadden to be in the running for the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award. In most leagues Darren McFadden’s value is in the late-first or early-second round of the draft.
Projected Stats: 1,668 Rushing Yards, 11 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.9 Per Carry Average, 32 Receptions, 415 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Wide Receiver
Darrius Heyward-Bey isn’t one of the best Receivers in the league, much less in the league. Even though he isn’t the greatest wide-out in the world, he is in line for a big season. A few months back I wrote an article explaining why I thought he would have a big season this year. If your interested in finding-out some of my reasoning behind the belief that “DHB” will have big year, you can find the previously mentioned article here. In the majority of fantasy leagues. Darrius Heyward-Bey will be draft in rounds 16-18, he might even go undrafted.
Projected Stats: 83 Receptions, Receiving 1200 Yards, 6 Touchdowns
Carson Palmer, Quarterback
Carson Palmer has had years where he threw for 20+ Touchdowns and 3500+ yards, but he has never been considered a top fantasy threat because he throws a lot of interceptions. Under new offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp, I think Carson Palmer will be a much much more efficient Quarterback. His variant of the West Coast offense is much more structured than any other offense Carson Palmer has played in. Carson will have a certain order for the reads he makes in a particular play, a “hot receiver”, and a Running Back or Tight End he can dump the ball off to. Much different than the organized chaos in other offenses he’s played in. He will still get many opportunities to stretch the field when the defense has 8-men in the box, as well as play action. IF Carson Palmer adjusts to the new offense, which I think he will, he should be a solid fantasy starter or an excellent backup. You will most likely be able to pickup Carson Palmer in the 12-15th rounds in your fantasy draft.
Projected Stats: 3,928 Passing Yards, 26 Passing Touchdowns, 14 Interceptions, %63.2 Completion Percentage
Davis Ausberry, Tight End
In the lead-up to training camp Brandon Myers has the inside track to the starting position at Tight End. I think a week into training camp, David Ausberry will take the starting position from Myers. David Ausberry was drafted in the 7th round of the 2011 NFL Draft. No one knew if he was a over-sized wide-out, or undersized Tight End (6’4′ 235lb’s). Sounds familiar, right? The Coaching staff wasn’t really able to use him because of his size. but they knew he was a talent. If you watched him at USC, you knew this guy was going to be special, he caught everything that came his way. This offseason he added about 25 pounds to his frame. Now he’s about 260 pounds, which is the ideal size for an NFL Tight End. Now that he has a true position, I expect him to turn everyone’s head. He catches almost anything, and he knows how to get separation. Gregg Knapp loves to utilize Tight Ends in the passing game, which is something Hue Jackson neglected to do. The causal football fan probably doesn’t know who David Auberry is. Because of this fact, he will probably go undrafted in most leagues. If you’re smart, you will lock-him-up with one of your last picks. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Projected Stats: 62 Receptions, 720 Receiving Yards, 5 Touchdowns
I hope this solved you dilemma. Now you can draft players from your favorite football team (the Oakland Raiders), while still putting out a quality product on the virtual football field. Thanks for reading, Peace out RaiderNation!