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Heading into last week, the Raiders and Ravens were among the most boring fantasy franchises in the league after Week 1. And then, the teams combined for 70 total points — with fantasy studs seemingly everywhere you looked.
Thankfully, a few of those were on my list.
My stud predictions were:
Latavius Murray: 65 yards rushing, 1 TD, 3 catches, 22 yards
Michael Crabtree: 9 catches, 111 yards, 1 TD
Justin Forsett: 68 yards rushing, 4 catches, 12 yards
Joe Flacco: 384 yards passing, 2 TD, 1 INT
My sleeper predictions:
Marcel Reece: 1 catch, 16 yards
Crockett Gillmore: 5 catches, 88 yards, 2 TD
And finally, my snoozers:
Matt McGloin (note: we published before the injury report came out last week, so Derek Carr was nowhere to be found): DNP
Steve Smith Sr. (GULP): 10 catches, 150 yards
Alright, so I didn't have a perfect week — Steve Smith Sr. kind of killed me there — but you would have been satisfied starting any of my four "studs" (aside from maybe Forsett), and, taking a chance on Gillmore (as I advocated) would have paid massive dividends.
But enough about last week, let's look ahead to this Sunday and Oakland's turn against the Browns...
Michael Crabtree — He of 16 targets last week should continue his excellence — especially after reeling in nine of the balls thrown his way. I'm a big fan of looking at how many opportunities a guy has to catch passes each week, and with the most targets on the team, it appears Derek Carr is liking his new toy.
Latavius Murray — He was on this list last week, and if not for a touchdown he may have been a disappointment. The good news, however, is that Murray is facing a defense that allowed 166 rushing yards last week and 154 the week before. For my money, I'd say this is the week that Murray breaks out.
(I know, I know — the same two guys as last week. It's not that I'm an Amari Cooper hater, I base this more off projected performance compared to expectations. I think both of these guys will once again exceed expectations, whereas Cooper's expectations are so high it would take a 150-yard performance to qualify as a 'surprise')
Derek Carr — With the weapons around him and the amount of points the defense will probably give up each week, I'd look for Carr to let it fly A LOT this season — leading to a bunch of fantasy points.
(Sorry Cleveland, just not a lot to like for you guys offensively right now)
Mychal Rivera — In two weeks, the opposing tight end against Cleveland has finished as the No. 1 and No. 2 receiver thus far. While quiet thus far (only two targets and one catch last week), I think Rivera could be in for a big week if teams start keying in on Cooper and Crabtree.
Gary Barnidge — Two weeks in a row I'm putting a guy here I've never heard of, and two weeks in a row it's because Oakland's linebackers couldn't cover an offensive lineman running routes. Name doesn't matter here, just position, and tight ends have torched the Raiders thus far for 192 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Josh McCown — Until the Raiders pass defense proves it can stop the pass (653 passing yards allowed in two weeks), the opposing quarterback is going to be tough to pass over. McCown isn't a sexy play, but if you're desperate, I'd feel comfortable starting just about anyone against Oakland's defensive backfield.
Isaiah Crowell — Justin Forsett and Jeremy Hill combined for just 131 yards against the Raiders in Weeks 1 and 2. Yes, Crowell bounced back from a rough Week 1 last week, but I think he'll see more tough sledding against the Raider run defense this week.
Cleveland D — Normally you'd love to start any defense going against the Raiders, but I think last week proved that it's no longer the case. The Raiders won't stop anyone on defense themselves, but with Derek Carr and a full arsenal of weapons, Oakland will find themselves in a lot of shootouts.
Travis Benjamin — With Manziel's deep ball no longer in play and the more conservative/traditional McCown under center, Benjamin owners could be disappointed by the lack of big plays this week.