Are the Raiders the greatest Fantasy show on infield dirt?
2016 saw a Fantasy Football renaissance for players on the Oakland Raiders. It doesn’t seem that long ago that any Fantasy Draft selection of a Raider, other than Sebastian Janikowski, was met with eye rolls and disparaging remarks about your mother. However, the times they are a changing.
This team is stacked from top to bottom with offensive firepower. In fact, the only problem with having an Oakland Raider skill player in your lineup is you never know who is going to go off on a given week. Derek Carr has become a weekly start regardless of the matchup, through two weeks he is completing 75% of his passes with 5 touchdowns and zero picks. The trick is figuring out who Carr and first-year offensive coordinator Todd Downing are going to feature week to week.
In a week one matchup against Tennessee Carr targeted Amari Cooper a staggering 13 times. Coop converted 5 of those targets for 62 yards and a score. Carr’s other 19 targets were then divided up between 7 different receivers.
Week 2 versus the Jets saw Carr hit 9 different receivers on his 23 completions. Michael Crabtree got the lion’s share of the work with 6 catches for 80 yards and 3 touchdowns. We haven’t even started talking about Beast Mode and the two second-year running backs, Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington. All three of these backs will be productive and can give you solid scoring days.
In the history of the NFL, only 17 teams have scored 500 points in a season. The Atlanta Falcons pulled off that impressive feat last season with a point total of 540. The 2013 Denver Broncos scored a record 606 points and averaged an astounding 37.9 points per game. Through two games this year the Raiders are currently the number one scoring offense in the league and are averaging 35.5 points per game. If they keep up their current pace they would put up 568 points this season which would be good for third in the history of the league.
Numbers like this make Fantasy owners salivate. Just like the 2000 Rams or the 2007 Patriots, you grab any Raider skill player you can get your grubby little hands on and stash them on your roster. Getting the most out of these Fantasy commodities is going to require some deep dives into the matchups each week, but come on…isn’t that what we live for?
Going into week 3 in Washington for Sunday Night Football, against a banged up and shorthanded Redskin secondary, Carr is a no-brainer play. Cornerback Josh Norman and Safety Montae Nicholson are both nursing sprained shoulders, while Su’a Cravens was just placed on the reserve/left squad list.
This could be a very thin secondary depending on how the injury report plays out this week. If Norman can play he will more than likely shadow Cooper all over the field which is going to free up Crabtree for a lot of looks. If Norman is out then all bets are off and you start every Raider receiver you have.
I have the Raiders as my top scoring team this week with Carr getting over 300 yards for the first time this season and tossing 4 touchdowns. Look for Cooper to have over a hundred and a score, while Crabtree has at least 8 catches. Also, with all the injuries and uncertainty on the Skins backend, look for Jared Cook to finally hit pay dirt as well.
Raiders skill players will be hot commodities all season long, pay attention to the matchups and reap the rewards come playoff time.