The Las Vegas Raiders are looking to improve on their 7-9 record from the 2019 NFL season, which means more opportunities for Fantasy Football players.
With Derek Carr being at the helm of perhaps the best offense of his career, Josh Jacobs looking to build on his rookie season, and Darren Waller trying to cement himself as a top-three tight end, the Raiders could be a sneaky gold mine now.
Derek Carr (Current ADP: QB28 at 167.2 overall)
Carr’s current ADP is indicative of the somewhat disappointing sixth season.
According to Fantasy Pros, Carr finished as the No. 17 quarterback in terms of total fantasy points but dropped drastically down to No. 24 in average points. However, with Carr likely available well within the 14th round in most drafts, he represents a late-round sleeper capable of finishing within the top-15 at his position now.
With Henry Ruggs III serving as Carr’s greatest deep-ball weapon yet, it is possible the Raiders unleash a much more dynamic offense this season. This offseason — as hectic as it has been — has also provided more time for Carr and Waller to develop more chemistry which should translate to on-the-field success now.
Carr is a low-risk, high-reward pick that could pay dividends for Fantasy Football owners if the Raiders can actually improve offensively for the 2020 season.
Josh Jacobs (Current ADP: RB7 at 8.2 overall)
Jacobs is undoubtedly the team’s most exciting Fantasy Football prospect.
Jacobs represents the beginning of a tier break in the running back position, putting him right behind Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliot, Dalvin Cook, and Alvin Kamara. Jacobs was the No. 14 running back in standard leagues last season despite only playing 13 games. When taking Jacobs’ average points and extrapolating it across all 16 games, he would have finished No. 9 overall.
With an offensive line that should be healthier and more equipped to block for him and another offseason under his belt, Jacobs could be ready to take the leap.
However, Jacobs’ lack of involvement in the passing game does cause worry. The fact the Raiders chose to re-sign Jalen Richard shows they might not be as confident in Jacobs’ receiving abilities as they are saying. Jacobs’ ceiling is limited by the fact he will not be catching passes from Carr, but his floor is still that of a top-15 running back and should undoubtedly serve as an RB1 this season.
Richard will most likely be the team’s primary receiving running back and his play will be heavily dictated by game script. Luckily for players, the Raiders will likely still be trailing in many games this season which will only increase his presence on the field. Over the last four seasons, Richard has caught 160 passes and averaged 8.6 yards per reception, one of the league’s highest marks for running backs.
Richard is worth a shot in the dark at the end of drafts, especially in PPR.
Pass Catchers (Wide Receivers and Tight Ends)
Henry Ruggs III (Current ADP: WR50 at 125.1 overall)
Tyrell Williams (Current ADP: WR56 at 145.1 overall)
Darren Waller (Current ADP: TE5 at 58.9 overall)
Waller was the No. 4 tight end with 1,145 yards and three touchdowns. He had a 76.9 percent catch rate, which was higher than Travis Kelce (No. 1) in 2019.
With the offense hopefully evolving into a better version of itself, Waller should see some positive touchdown regression and look to build on his incredible season.
As for Ruggs and Williams, they will be Carr’s two main options at wide receiver and can both make game-breaking deep plays. Williams proved time and time again last season that he is capable of holding his own as the WR1 on a team, finishing with 651 yards and six touchdowns. With Ruggs now in the mix, things should only open up more for Williams and perhaps allow him to further improve.
Ruggs is as risky as they come as he will likely cost an 11th round pick and has not yet proved that he is a capable wide receiver in the NFL. His speed will set him apart from most other receivers and the Raiders hope he can one day develop into a Tyreek Hill-esque player. If he can stay healthy and use his breakaway speed to take advantage of holes in opposing secondaries, he will have some big weeks.
However, it is almost inevitable the 5’11” speedster will have some duds during his rookie season that might just cost Fantasy Football owners their weeks.
Defense and Special Teams
The Raiders played well against the run, giving up the eighth-least rushing yards.
On the other hand, their passing defense was atrocious, allowing 4,107 yards and 33 touchdowns. However, with Maxx Crosby looking to build on his rookie season and the Raiders getting Johnathan Abram back, this area could improve now.
Only notching nine interceptions in his last college season, Damon Arnette will look to change that while also finding his way during his rookie season in Las Vegas.
Overall, the Raiders will go undrafted and be streamed on weeks with good matchups unless they prove they can consistently shut opposing teams down.