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Dolphins-Raiders fantasy football preview: Who to start, sit

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Oakland Raiders’ season is on the ropes, many of Raider Nation still has fantasy teams alive in the playoff hunt.

As such, here are three players to sit and three players to start heading into Oakland’s Sunday night match-up with the Miami Dolphins.

Start WR Michael Crabtree

This is the perfect game for Crabtree to explode back onto the scene. He has quietly been solid in the last four games, hauling in three touchdowns and 241 receiving yards.

On Sunday, Crabtree will either be going up against rookie cornerback Cordrea Tankersly or Xavien Howard who has a Pro Football Focus player grade of just 37.9.

No matter who lines up opposite Crabtree, he will have a major advantage. If it is Tankersly, Crabtree will be able to use his experience and craftiness to get open on the rookie. If it is Howard, then Crabtree should have no issues exploiting the No. 111 rated cornerback in the NFL, per PFF.

Start QB Derek Carr

The offense, including Derek Carr himself, has been sputtering. However, fantasy can often tell a different story and it did so last week with Carr.

Despite the offense looking absolutely horrible, Carr came out of the game with 313 yards passing and a touchdown with two interception.

The Dolphins’ defense is only surrendering 210.9 passing yards per game. So one would believe that their pass defense is among the best in the NFL. However, this statistic lies.

Miami has faced the New York Jets twice, the Tennessee Titans without Marcus Mariota and the Baltimore Ravens in a game where Joe Flacco couldn’t finish the game. With over half the Dolphins’ games coming against very poor quarterback play, it is no surprise they are giving up minimal yardage through the air.

Jack Del Rio said this week he wants to ‘let it rip’, which suggests we could see Oakland take a plethora of shots down the field and test the young Miami cornerbacks.

Moreover, Carr will be extremely motivated to right the ship after putting up just 14 points against the Buffalo Bills. Look for him to have a monster day throwing the football against the inexperienced Dolphin cornerbacks.

Start WR Jarvis Landry

The Raiders’ secondary might be among the worst in the NFL as their big contract players, like David Amerson, Reggie Nelson and Sean Smith, are all massively underperforming while the young rookies in Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu (who might play Sunday) have played just 92 snaps combined.

The only good cornerback has been TJ Carrie and if he isn’t following Jarvis Landry around all day, Landry should be able to get loose a few times in the game even if the quarterback play is horrendous.

Sit RB Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch will be returning after his one-game suspension but no one should expect an easy transition back to the football field.

Before Lynch’s punishment we saw a 31-year-old running back showing his age with his 3.7 yards per carry on the season. He also saw a decline in snaps (2) during the first half of the win over the Kansas City Chiefs before he was ejected.

On Sunday night, the Raiders will be facing Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake who will wreak havoc on the right side of the Raiders’ offensive line.

Overall, Lynch might not be worth starting for the rest of the year, based upon his recent play, and especially not this week against a brutal Miami front.

Sit QB Jay Cutler or Matt Moore

If anyone has Jay Cutler or Matt Moore on their fantasy team, they should be kicked out of their league. But if there is someone who does have either of those guys on their roster, they should not play them.

Miami has the No. 29 ranked passing offense in the league averaging a horrid 176 yards per game. Some might say they are going against a poor Raiders’ pass defense, but the discrepancy in the trenches might make it difficult for any quarterback to deliver strikes down the field.

One of Oakland’s strengths on defense has been their front four with Khalil Mack, Bruce Irving, Denico Autry and Mario Edwards Jr. The front has accumulated an average PFF player grade of 75.55.

The Dolphins, on the other hand, have an average PFF player grade on the starting offensive line of just 56.58.

Mack should have a field day racking up pressures and getting to the quarterback which will surely make it difficult for whoever Miami puts under center.

Sit RB Kenyan Drake

With running back Jay Ajayi being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, there is a new starting running back for the Dolphins. However, it is unclear whether that new starter will be Kenyan Drake or Damien Williams.

Drake is the leading contender for the starting position, but it is doubtful that Miami would just hand the reins over without giving equal work loads first to each running back.

Consequently, Drake might not be able to take advantage, fantasy wise, of the Raiders defense that gave up 151 rushing yards and a touchdown to LeSean McCoy last week if Drake has to split the carries with Williams.

Also, Miami’s offensive line has been so poor that they have the No. 31 ranked rushing offense in the NFL despite having Ajayi, a former pro bowler, in the backfield for the first seven games of the year.

It would be shocking to expect that replacing Ajayi with Drake or Williams will result in a better outcome.