With Week One of the NFL preseason inching closer and closer, it is time for the Fantasy Football Draft season to begin. With that being said, Fantasy Knuckleheads sent us their 2013 Oakland Raiders Fantasy outlook written by Phil Clark, their resident Raiders fan and staff writer. We decided to share their Outlook with you guys, give Phil a read and give Fantasy Knuckleheads a look when you are doing your 2013 Fantasy Football research.
Raiders Fantasy Football Outlook
Raider Nation has grown weary from the relentless onslaught of unfavorable prognostications regarding Oakland’s chances for success this season. However, the same concerns that have caused many observers to temper expectations for the team, will also restrict the number of enticing fantasy options that this roster can offer. Foremost among them is Darren McFadden, whose ability to excel in a blocking scheme that is conducive to his strengths and comfort level, will play a pivotal role in determining the fate of this year’s offense. As will his ability to avoid lingering injuries that jettison him to the sidelines for extended periods of time.
His well-chronicled health issues have sidelined him for 23 games in five seasons. However, his career has also been scattered with displays of explosiveness. Particularly in 2010, when the Raider offense transitioned from zone blocking schemes to integrated gap and power schemes that maximized his ability. McFadden responded by bolting for 1,664 total yards in 13 games, along with 10 TDs. Raider fans require no reminder that Dennis Allen’s inexplicable decision to resurrect zone blocking last season essentially neutralized McFadden primary strengths.
Fortunately, new offensive coordinator Greg Olson will return to more favorable blocking schemes. Many fantasy owners are aware of this, which has been indicated by the Average Draft Position (ADP) of 33 that McFadden has garnered in mock drafts this summer. Considering his big play potential, combined with the limited depth at running back this season, that is accurate placement. To see where he ranks in your fantasy leagues, make sure to check out our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Guide. Beyond RunDMC, the fantasy options diminish in importance. Marcel Reece can be highly productive, but only when he is provided with a sufficient number of touches. Rashad Jennings and rookie Latavius Murray only become relevant if McFadden is sidelined.
Meanwhile, owners have been hesitant to entrust anyone that will be heavily involved with Oakland’s passing attack, primarily because it will be spearheaded by a quarterback that is unproven as a weekly starter. Matt Flynn has a grand total of two starts in five NFL seasons, which is double the combined total of backups Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson. Flynn will likely prevail in their three way competition. But Reggie McKenzie has eschewed the opportunity to supplement the wide receiver and tight end positions with reliable veterans, which would have benefited him greatly.
That leaves Denarius Moore as the most talented receiving option, although his statistical ceiling is lowered by the uncertainty surrounding Flynn. He averaged 42 receptions, 680 yards and six TDs in his initial two seasons, and his ADP of 114 is reasonable, considering his status as Oakland’s top receiver. Rod Streater appears destined to start along with Moore, although his ADP of 190 leaves him undrafted in many leagues. Jacoby Ford has missed 24 contests in the past two seasons, and must prove that he can remain on the field.
There is extreme uncertainty concerning who will emerge as the starting tight end, as incumbents David Ausberry and Richard Gordon contend with rookies Nick Kasa and Mychal Rivera for that distinction.
1. Darren McFadden should excel in Oakland’s run-blocking scheme, but his inability to stay healthy for an entire season has pushed his fantasy value down in leagues that have already drafted.
2. Matt Flynn has the best chance to win the starting quarterback job between he, Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson, but Flynn is nowhere close to being a fantasy factor due to a shortage of talent in the passing game.
3. Denarius Moore is easily the most talented receiver on the team, and is the only Oakland receiver worth drafting. But the uncertainty at the quarterback position has tempered expectations on just how much of a fantasy factor he can be.
4. Flat out, no tight end on the Raiders is worth drafting for your fantasy squad.
I personally think Rod Streater could also be of value for the Raiders fantasy wise if you are going to pick a Raiders receiver in your draft, but Clark is right, the Raiders are not a fantasy team. Perhaps that is not a bad thing as they have been built behind hard work and the team concept as they rebuild in 2013. At the very least the uncertainty of who is going to start at quarterback will have me avoiding any Raider player in my draft that isn’t Darren McFadden.