Once again, the game against the Indianapolis Colts showed that it is smart to start whoever is playing the Oakland Raiders, for Andrew Luck took apart the Oakland defense with heavy use of his tight ends.
On the Raiders side of the ball, Derek Carr did have a much-needed monster game. Jared Cook was a main beneficiary scoring a touchdown and picking up 74 receiving yards.
At the running back position, Doug Martin performed nicely until he fumbled the football ultimately costing the game. Jalen Richard looked explosive, but was only a factor in the passing game catching eight balls.
For Thursday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, it might not be as easy. Playing whoever is going against Oakland might not hold true as San Francisco might be starting their third-string quarterback Nick Mullens.
QB Derek Carr
Carr is only going to get better as the season progresses since he will become more comfortable with Jon Gruden’s offense.
Last week, Carr looked great throwing for 244 yards and three touchdowns.
Against the 49ers, Carr might have even more time to throw, if Kelechi Osemele returns, and will get to go against a poor defense that is allowing as many passing yards per game as Oakland with 263 yards per game.
TE Jared Cook
Similarly to last week, the San Francisco defense is bad and there aren’t very many weapons for Carr to rely on besides Cook.
With Carr clicking, Cook will have another good night on the national stage.
Proceed with Caution
RB Doug Martin + RB Jalen Richard
Martin and Richard are grouped together because they are pretty much the yin and yang.
Martin will get all the running snaps, but will be a minimal threat out of the backfield. Richard will get many dump offs in the passing game.
But I am more confident in Richard, especially if those reading play PPR (point per reception) as Carr has not hesitated to dumb the ball off to Richard shown by his eight receptions on Sunday.
Furthermore, Richard hasn’t broken a big play yet this season. As long as the offense goes his way in the passing game, he will break one to the house against the poor 49er defense.
RB Matt Breida
I am not sure if there any players to start on the 49ers aside from Matt Breida. And even he is a worrisome play for many factors.
Breida is coming off an ankle injury and has only ran for 57 yards on 21 carries over the last two games.
However, Breida will likely get a ton of carries considering San Francisco is possibly starting Mullens at quarterback if CJ Beathard can’t go and Breida gets to face an Oakland front that is dead last in the league against the run allowing 144.7 yards per game.
TE Greg Kittle
Much like Breida, there is a lot going for Greg Kittle that would entice someone to start him, yet there is a lot going against him.
Kittle has been a solid and consistent target the entire year tallying 37 receptions for 584 yards and two touchdowns in nine games.
The Raiders have also been miserable against the tight end position. Just last week, Oakland allowed 133 yards and three touchdowns to the position against the Colts.
But then again, who is starting at quarterback? If there is no one to throw the ball to Kittle it won’t matter if the Raiders’ secondary is letting him run wide open down the field.
As enticing a matchup could be against the massively injured Niners that could be starting a third-string quarterback, it is still too tough to play this defense.
Kyle Shanahan will probably scheme something up successfully regardless of who is under center.