With the Oakland Raiders’ offense seemingly getting back on track scoring 31 points against the Kansas City Chiefs last Thursday, fantasy football has become more fun for Raider Nation.
All of those early Raider fantasy draft picks, like wide receiver Amari Cooper and quarterback Derek Carr, may have made many look stupid early, but it looks like Cooper and Carr will pay off late. For those who took running back Marshawn Lynch, sorry. There is not a lot of promise there.
Oakland will be playing the Buffalo Bills this Sunday in a pivotal game that has playoff meaning and some exciting fantasy match-ups. Here are three players to sit and start in the upcoming game.
Start Derek Carr
Carr looks to have gotten his mojo back after throwing for 417 yards and three touchdowns.
Offensive coordinator Todd Downing opened up the playbook last Thursday night and threw the ball deep down the field getting Cooper involved for the first time this season and igniting the once hibernating offense.
This Sunday, Carr will be facing a pass defense that is giving up 299.5 passing yards per game over the last four contests. Two of those games were against Trevor Siemian and Andy Dalton.
There should be no reason to think Carr won’t be slicing through the Bills’ defense for big gains on Sunday.
Start Amari Cooper
With Buffalo giving up a ton of yards through the air, any wide receiver should be a major beneficiary of the breakdowns in the Bills’ secondary.
Over the last five games, Buffalo has given up over 175 yards per game to the wide receiver position. With Cooper gaining his confidence along with his incredible skill set, he should be expected to pick up right where he left off on Sunday.
Start Tyrod Taylor
The Raiders’ pass defense has not been very impressive either. Since the game against the Washington Redskins, Oakland has held only Siemian under 200 yards passing. Even Joe Flacco and the aging Philip Rivers were able to have big days through the air.
The Raiders, probably because of coaching, have never been the most discipline team. With a major running threat in quarterback Tyrod Taylor, there will be some breakdowns in the defense that will lead to Taylor scrambling to find a play down the field or use his feet to pick up a big gain on the ground.
Moreover, Oakland might be without starting cornerback David Amerson which could force them to start inexperienced CB Dexter McDonald.
Sit LeSean McCoy
The Raiders have a major advantage on the line heading into this game. According to Pro Football Focus, Oakland’s starting defensive line has an average PFF player grade of 80.65 compared to Buffalo’s 66.98 average rating on its offensive line.
If the ratings hold true, then the Raiders should be able to plug up the holes in the run game and make it very difficult for LeSean McCoy.
Also, the addition of NaVorro Bowman seemed to help last week as the defense held Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt to under 100 yards rushing and zero touchdowns.
Sit Raiders’ running game
The Bills have not been friendly to opposing running backs giving up just 84.5 rushing yards per game this season. The Raiders will also be without Lynch and already had a suspect running game before Lynch got suspended, averaging 92.9 rushing yards per game.
Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington might make a nice impact in the game, but they will probably be more efficient in the passing game than in the run game.
Sit Jared Cook
Buffalo has two great safeties in Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. The combination has been quite good in shutting down opposing tight ends.
Aside from last week’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the defense has not given up a touchdown to a tight end and has only allowed 49.6 yards receiving per game to the position.
After Jared Cook’s wonderful performance against Kansas City, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Buffalo make a concerted effort to make sure Cook doesn’t beat them on Sunday.
With the tough matchup against the Bills’ safeties and some cornerbacks to take advantage of, look for Carr to target Cooper over Cook.