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Fantasy Focus: Raiders vs. Ravens

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Taking a look at this Sunday's Raider game, which players are ones to watch from a fantasy perspective?

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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It's Week 2 of your fantasy football season and you're already in one of two spots: riding an undefeated season en route to what will surely be yet another league championship OR you're in panic mode after remaining winless seven days into the season.

Either way, my friend: Week 2 is your week.

Each week in this space, we're going to take a look at the Raider game and outline some fantasy studs, sleepers and snoozers — for both the Raiders and their opponent.

Now, if you started any Raiders last week, well, I'm sorry. Derek Carr was mediocre before leaving with an injury (7/12, 61 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT), Latavius Murray was underwhelming at best (11 carries, 44 yards, 7 catches, 36 yards) — unless you're in a PPR league, and even Amari Cooper (5 catches, 47 yards) and Michael Crabtree (5 catches, 37 yards) were unworthy of a starting spot. And, well, don't even get me started on the Oakland Defense (if you started them, you might as well stop reading here — I've got nothing that's going to help you this season).

With all that said, it's interesting to note that this week's opponent — the Baltimore Ravens — actually may have (somehow) posted a worse fantasy week in their narrow defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos. Joe Flacco was dreadful (18/32, 117 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT), Justin Forsett couldn't get anything going (13 carries, 42 yards, 4 catches 13 yards) and there wasn't a single receiver that recorded more than 25 yards receiving. The defense, however, did record four sacks and forced one turnover while allowing just 19 points, which, surprisingly, was good for the fifth-most points from a defense.

So with all that in mind, who in this matchup is worth taking a look at, taking a chance with or steering clear of?


Latavius Murray

Yeah, he had a rough Week 1, but with uncertainty at quarterback, I can assure you that Murray sees more than 11 carries this week against Baltimore. In fact, I think the offense had some trouble because they refused to establish the run early on — a mistake you can be sure Jack Del Rio and Co. won't make two weeks in a row.

All that said, Baltimore held Denver to just 69 yards on 25 carries — good for a meager 2.8 YPC — so you can be sure it won't be easy sledding for Murray this week. Even considering this, if Murray can record 20 carries and 5-6 catches out of the backfield, it's tough to imagine Baltimore can keep him out of the endzone and under 100 total yards this week, so I'm letting Murray fly in all formats this week.

Michael Crabtree

I loved this guy in the preseason, and nothing changed after a tough Week 1. Emmanuel Sanders logged 8 catches on 12 targets for the Broncos in Week 1 as the No. 2 receiver, and I think Crabtree is in line for similar production this week — especially after receiving just one fewer target than Amari Cooper. I'm looking at Crabtree as a solid WR3 option — something like 7 catches for 75 yards.

Justin Forsett

The Raiders got destroyed by Tyler Eifert in Week 1, and I think some over-corrections defensively could lead to some openings for Forsett in the passing game. Giovani Bernard caught all six passes thrown his way against the Raiders in Week 1, and after receiving seven targets in Week 1, you can bet Forsett is looking to break out after a sub-par start to the season. I'm thinking Forsett logs close to 100 yards rushing and another 50 yards receiving in what some people believe could be another blowout for Oakland.

Joe Flacco

Not a sexy pick here, but come on, have you seen the Raiders secondary? Any QB in the league makes this list against the Raiders — and Flacco is better than most.


Marcel Reece

I had him on my under-the-radar list as I crept towards the final rounds of Dynasty draft a couple of weeks ago, but ended up passing on him in favor of some more "traditional" options. That said, Reece has the eye of Matt McGloin, and after an entire off-season speculating what Bill Musgrave might do with the versatile Reece, it appears he will truly be involved more than ever.

Now, I'm not saying I'd throw Reece out there in all formats, but if you're in a deep league, he's definitely a guy you might consider spending a roster spot on to watch his progression.

Crockett Gillmore

Can't say I'd heard of Mr. Gillmore before writing this post, but it doesn't really matter what your name is — if you're playing tight end for the team playing the Raiders, you're worth taking a look at. Tyler Eifert shredded the Raiders from the tight end spot in Week 1, and while Eifert is among the most athletically gifted tight ends in football, there were a number of plays where any tight end could have made the catch.

Gillmore received four targets in Week 1, and there's no reason to believe with the Raider issues at safety that this number won't double and the 6'6", 270 pound tight end won't see some targets near the goal line.


Matt McGloin

I'm actually surprised that this section needs writing, but I'm going to include it anyways: steer clear of McGloin this year. Now, let me be clear: it's not that I don't have some faith he might throw for 250+ yards in defeat as he's SLINGIN' it downfield, but fantasy football (as Matthew Berry always says) is about what is most likely to happen. And, well, 200 yards and a couple turnovers is probably the likely bet for now.

Steve Smith Sr.

Two catches on seven targets in Week 1 — including a drop in the endzone that would have completed the Baltimore comeback. I can't imagine Mr. Flacco is going to keep throwing his way after a performance like that — even against a pitiful Oakland secondary.