In 2018, the Raiders were the worst team to own players on for fantasy football purposes. Outside of Jared Cook, nobody on the team was a consistent fantasy performer. Even Derek Carr, whose value last year came from not throwing interceptions, was limited by a total lack of weapons. The Raiders also had a skeleton crew at running back and the worst defense in the league.
This season, Oakland has the opposite situation. Cook is in New Orleans (where he should be a top fantasy option once again) but the Raiders should have an improved defense as well as an exciting rookie running back and possibly the best WR group in the league outside of Cleveland.
We’re in the middle of May right now, and fantasy drafts will open up next month. The long, cruel offseason is nearly over. Here’s a look at a few Raiders players you may want to target, and where you should be doing so.
Antonio Brown: Just a few seasons ago, Brown was considered the top overall fantasy pick in most drafts, especially PPR drafts. The latest you’d get him was around Pick 6. This year, you may be able to get Brown into the top of the second round. That’s not because he’s lost a step, because he hasn’t. It’s because Brown’s floor with the Steelers was so high, he was remarkably consistent. We don’t know yet how he’ll fit into the Raiders offense or if he’ll be able to put up the same type of monster numbers he usually does. Look for him as you make the turn from the first to the second round. If you’re unlucky enough to get last pick, Brown could be there waiting.
Josh Jacobs: If you’re in a PPR league, Jacobs is exactly the sort of player you want on your team. He can get 16+ carries and catch several passes per game out of the backfield. If you happen to be in a dynasty league, Jacobs should be a top five pick. In a standard league, Jacobs should be a mid second round pick. He may not start off as a bellcow for the Raiders, but he should grab the majority of the carries as the season progresses, making him an ideal choice in the fantasy playoffs.
Derek Carr: With the Raiders finishing 4-12 last year, people won’t remember the passing numbers Carr put up. He’s going to fall in drafts this season, making him an ideal candidate for a late-round value selection once your running backs and receivers are selected. I’d be so bold as to say Carr cculd go undrafted in many leagues. He’s a guy I’ll be targeting a lot if I miss out on guys like Mahomes, Wilson, or Rodgers.
Raider defense: Oakland has upgraded every level of their defense this season, and they’re worth a look as a backup defense. They have some ballhawks in the secondary and could be adept at forcing turnovers. Target them in Round 14 or so, when your other needs are filled.
Daniel Carlson: The Slammin’ Scandinavian was ultra-accurate for the Raiders last season and should rack up more points with an improved Oakland offense. He’s a perfectly capable starting kicker in fantasy this season. Make him your last pick.
Other Raiders: By this I mean whoever wins the starting TE job, as well as Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow. All of those guys (assuming Darren Waller wins the TE job) are good enough to be backups for you at their respective positions, so consider them in the late rounds. Doug Martin should also see plenty of action, but as long as Jacobs is healthy, I don’t even see him as a top handcuff option. If Jacobs goes down, then Martin becomes a priority waiver-wire pickup.