Raiders 2018 oakland raiders Fantasy Preview

There was a ton of buzz surrounding the Raiders before the 2017 season -- and rightfully so. The Silver and Black were coming off their first winning season since 2002, Derek Carr showed he was a franchise quarterback -- and was rewarded with an extension, making him the highest paid player in the NFL at the time -- and Marshawn Lynch came out of retirement after a year away from football. Things were looking great ... but they didn't go great. Carr threw six fewer touchdowns, seven more interceptions and nearly 500 fewer yards than in 2016. He finished as the QB19. Lynch's return was mediocre -- he rushed for 891 yards and seven touchdowns, both his lowest since 2010 (not counting 2015 when he played just six games). Raiders receivers regressed in 2017 as well. Amari Cooper appeared to be on the path to stardom after two straight 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career, but 2017 wasn't kind to the young wideout. Cooper finished with just 48 receptions and 680 receiving yards, both career-lows, but he did grab a career-high seven touchdowns. Michael Crabtree lined up across the field from Cooper and led the team with 58 receptions and eight touchdowns, scoring as the WR28. Seth Roberts and Cordarrelle Patterson were third and fourth among Raiders wideouts with 455 and 309 receiving yards, respectively. Patterson added two rushing touchdowns. Tight end Jared Cook, in his first year as a Raider, was a decent fantasy TE2, posting 688 receiving yards and a career-high 54 receptions. Oakland is in desperate need of a bounce back year across the board after last season's letdown.



QB - Raiders

FACT: In six wins as a starter, Carr threw 12 touchdowns to one interception and posted a 111.6 passer rating. During the Raiders' nine losses when he started, though, he threw 10 touchdowns to 12 interceptions and his passer rating plummeted to 70.1.
Offseason Moves

After years of flirting with a return to the NFL sidelines, the Raiders finally poached Jon Gruden from the Monday Night Football booth. Gruden signed on for 10 years and is promising to return the franchise to its former glory. Derek Carr will be hoping for a return to his 2016 form and the same can be said for Marshawn Lynch, but let's say he probably wants to return to his 2014 form. The Raiders signed former Buccaneers running back Doug Martin to back up Lynch and he will compete with DeAndre Washington for No. 2 snaps. At wideout, the Raiders need Amari Cooper to return to his pre-2017 self after they released Michael Crabtree in March. Oakland also added former Packer Jordy Nelson in free agency and traded for former Steeler Martavis Bryant during the draft. Nelson and Bryant are coming off down years and could be bounce-back candidates.

Sleepers & Busts

The recent history of Steelers receivers tells us that Martavis Bryant is a prime breakout candidate in 2018. The list of former Steelers wideouts that thrived after leaving Pittsburgh is a long one -- Plaxico Burress, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders immediately come to mind. Bryant could be the latest name to add to that list. He exploded for eight touchdowns as a rookie in 2014 and then nearly doubled his receptions as a sophomore, but multiple suspensions for violating the league's substance abuse policy held him out for the 2016 season. He returned last season with solid production -- 50 receptions, 603 receiving yards -- but JuJu Smith-Schuster took his No. 2 reps and he was left fighting for No. 3 wideout snaps in a loaded Pittsburgh offense. Now, he's competing with veteran Jordy Nelson -- Amari Cooper is the WR1 -- but Bryant is on the upswing of his career while Nelson is on the wrong side of 30. If Cooper disappoints again, look for Bryant to step up as a viable flex play this season.

Jon Gruden hired Greg Olson to run the Raiders' offense in 2018, and that's bad news for Marshawn Lynch. In his last three years as an offensive coordinator (2014-16), Olson's rushing offenses have ranked toward the bottom of the league in attempts (32nd, 30th, 24th), yards (32nd, 27th, 22nd) and touchdowns (32nd, 29th, 29th). Lynch had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2017. He's a running back over 30. His offensive coordinator has a history of favoring the passing game. Don't count on Beast Mode in 2018.

Fantasy Depth Chart
QB Derek Carr EJ Manuel
RB Marshawn Lynch Doug Martin DeAndre Washington Jalen Richard
WR Amari Cooper Martavis Bryant Jordy Nelson Seth Roberts
TE Jared Cook Lee Smith
K Giorgio Tavecchio