Fantasy Football: Do Not Draft These Oakland Raiders

Raiders Marshawn Lynch

There is a ton of excitement and hype surrounding the Oakland Raiders heading into the 2017 season. Obviously the relocation to Las Vegas as people buzzing. They are also coming off a season where they made their return to the Playoffs. They have exciting players like Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and the free agent addition of Marshawn Lynch. This has caused their average draft position to see massive inflation. At their current costs, do not draft them!

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Marshawn Lynch | RB

The Marshawn Lynch hype train is starting to cool down, but his draft day price is still outrageous. He is going late second round in non-ppr and early third in PPR. Obviously there is a lot to like about the situation Lynch steps into.

The offense has a ton of upside and should give him Lynch plenty of red zone touches. Latavius Murray scored 12 times on the ground in this offense a season ago. That said, there is so much assumption going on with Lynch.

Even with Murray’s success a season ago, we can’t just pencil in double digit TDs for Lynch. Is it in the realm of possibilities? Sure, but the downside has to be considered too. Lynch could split time or battle injuries. We have to remember this is a player we haven’t seen play a full season since 2014.

This Raiders team has visions of a deep playoff run. They will spell Lynch in order to preserve him. Both DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are capable backs that will be used. There is talks of limiting Lynch to below 200 touches this season.

Draft Instead: Jalen Richard or DeAndre Washington

Want a piece of this Raiders backfield without paying the absurdly high prices Lynch is currently commanding? Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington is nice way to look. I personally expect Lynch to faulter in the role. It would likely remain a timeshare with Elijah Hood potentially getting some looks as well.

Richard would be my target in upcoming drafts. Last season both players had 80 plus carries and it was Richard who bested Washington on a per carry basis 5.9 to 5.4. He was also more involved in the passing attack being targeted 39 times to Washington’s 23. Richard had almost 200 yards receiving and found the end zone twice. Both players are basically going undrafted in fantasy football leagues and are worth shots at the end of your draft.

Michael Crabtree Amari Cooper

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Amari Cooper | WR

Let me preface this by saying I think Amari Cooper is an extremely talented receiver that has a ton of upside. That said fantasy football is based upon production and not potential. Amari Cooper has had 130 targets in back to back seasons. He catches almost 60% of those targets, bringing in an average of 77.5 over the last two seasons. All numbers that are fine but far a top 20 overall selection in the middle of the second round. The biggest downside to Cooper is his lack of red zone production.

Touchdowns are crucial in fantasy football, especially in non-ppr leagues.Cooper has 11 total TDs over his first two seasons. A season ago, Cooper had 13 red zone targets a season ago, good for 3rd among Raiders WRs behind Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts. The story was the same in Coopers rookie season when he had a meelsey 7, behind Crabtree and Roberts yet again. Pass on Cooper at his current price.

Draft Instead : Michael Crabtree

Two full rounds later you can draft his teammate Michael Crabtree. He is the WR that has more catches over each of the past two seasons and was pretty dang close in terms of yards. The value comes when the Raiders get in the red zone.

Crabtree has 17 TDs over the past two seasons. He was not only the team leader in red zone targets a season ago, but his 21 targets was good for fifth in the NFL behind Jordy Nelson, Kyle Rudolph, Anquan Boldin, and Odell Beckham. Crabtree almost doubled the red zone targets of Cooper the previous season as well.

If you want a piece of this passing game, take Crabtree 2 rounds after Cooper. Use that second round pick on a different player.

Oakland Raiders Derek Carr

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Derek Carr | QB

What are we doing here? Nothing against Derek Carr but QB 6 in the mid to late 6th round is lunacy. Don’t get me wrong, Carr is a talented QB with two studs catching his passes. But, we are not building a team that can win the super bowl, we are trying to rack up all the fantasy points. He has never eclipsed 4,000 passing yards and only cleared 30 TDs one time in three season.

I think Derek Carr will be a fine fantasy option that should finish the season much like last season approaching 4,000 yards and 30 TDS, a borderline QB1.

By selecting Carr, not only are you drafting basically the same player you could get several rounds later, but the opportunity cost to grab WRs or RBs with upside is massive. You could miss out a RB that becomes a season long contributor or a WR that provides big weeks. You should take as many bites at the apple and possible. Eat!

Draft Instead: Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Matthew Stafford

All of the Qbs listed above have the ability to be among the top 10-12 at the position come seasons end. Players like Wilson, Cousins, and Winston have higher ceilings and come with the relatively safe floor Carr provides.

Every year QBs can be found late in drafts that finish the season among the elite. Just look at Matt Ryan, who was drafted as QB20 in the late 13th round. He finished with the second most fantasy points behind only Aaron Rodgers. Dak Prescott was also a 13th round pick that finished as the QB6 a season ago.

Want more proof? Cam Newton was a league winner in 2015 finishing as the QB1 despite being taken as QB15 in the 10th round. The year prior the QB3 at the end of the season was taken as QB14. Russell Wilson is just another example in a long line. Be patient when selecting a QB. Watch your league. When there is a name or two you would be fine with is left, pounce!

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