Why Marcel Reece Is A Must-Add Fantasy Back After Raiders' Injuries

John Rozum@Rozum27Correspondent INovember 6, 2012

Nov 4, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece (45) reacts after scoring on a13-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the O.co Coliseum. The Buccaneers defeated the Raiders 42-32. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Marcel Reece of the Oakland Raiders has a bit more fantasy football value heading into Week 10.

According to Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area:

Not only does running back Darren McFadden have a high ankle sprain, but so does his backup, Mike GoodsonRaiders coach Dennis Allen confirmed in his weekly media conference at the team compound Monday.

"Darren had an X-ray that was negative, and an MRI, also, that was negative, so we’ll see how he responds this week, Allen said. "We haven’t ruled him out for this weekend’s game.

"Goodie was at the doctor getting an MRI right now, and I would anticipate he’s in the same boat."

To that end, it's a smart idea to keep Reece on the radar or add him for needed running back depth. Interestingly enough, though, Reece has contributed more like an H-back since he has collected more receiving yards.

And if the Raiders remain banged up in the backfield moving forward, it's reasonable to expect Reece's impact to becomegreater. So, let's see what the versatile weapon has done thus far and what we can reasonably anticipate from Week 10 and thereafter.


Production Thus Far

Overall Reece has accounted for 272 receiving yards on 26 receptions and one touchdown this season.

His ability to be consistently reliable in the passing game is key for Oakland, because that simply provides another threat to the defense. Also, Reece's forte is being a receiving back since he caught 27 balls for 301 yards in 2011 and 25 passes for 333 yards in 2010.

So, he's on pace to surpass career-highs in 2012 and it has been much more consistent by comparison as well. And the Raiders need that impact to continue, especially with the backfield lacking durability.

How Reece Can Keep Impacting Raiders

Obviously Reece remains a solid outlet for Carson Palmer on checkdowns, screens and the occasional wheel route. What Reece can also do is split a Cover 2 down the seam, because the guy is much more explosive than given credit.

Rarely do we see fullbacks contribute to the passing game like Reece, and his acceleration bodes well for beating single coverage and accumulating yards after the catch. Factor in Oakland's array of fast receivers and Reece will always get a favorable matchup when sneaking out of the backfield.

On the ground the guy just needs more carries. Regardless of whether McFadden and/or Goodson get back to 100 percent, Reece is capable of taking some carries away to give Oakland a greater dynamic.

Whether it's a quick dive, fullback trap or off tackle he possesses the downhill speed and size to push piles and win short-yard situations. Not to mention getting some of those touches will reduce McFadden's wear-and-tear between the tackles.

In short, that helps make the Raiders stronger up front and takes even more pressure off a reliable solid passing game.

The Remaining Schedule Will Be a Factor

What lies ahead for Oakland is not a cakewalk by any means.

Outside the division the Raiders square off against the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers. The latter three are the weakest of the five mentioned, although each offense is capable of getting Oakland on its heels early.

To a certain extent, that's a good thing for Reece in fantasy because of his pass-catching impact. Nonetheless, he will be limited if the Raiders aren't balanced offensively.

Within the AFC West the Raiders still have each team once. Fortunately, only the Denver Broncos present a viable defensive threat. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers aren't as well-versed against the pass which makes setting up the ground game easier.

That said, the Bolts are stronger against the run like Denver and the Chiefs will be playing the spoiler role. The good news, however, is that Reece will need to make a contributory impact for offensive balance: Which makes him viable as a flex option and simple running back depth.


Follow John Rozum on Twitter.