To say the 2008 Raiders were just a bad passing team, would almost be a compliment to this squad. Oakland produced a league worst 148 yards passing per game and were 29th in the league in scoring (16.4 points a game). In fairness to the Raiders this statistical output was to be expected with such a young offense.
JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden and Johnnie Lee Higgins all played their first full season as pro's last year. Even possible budding star tight end Zach Miller was only playing in his second season for the Raiders as well.
These four youngsters and first round pick Darrious Heyward-Bey, all have great skills and potential. If in fact the Raiders are to become a top ten offense in the NFL, these players will all need to step their games up and produce.
JaMarcus Russell's work ethic
Russell has all the physical tools to be a good pocket passing quarterback. But questions are looming about his work habits as he missed practices in March and was over weight, when he came to camp.
A young quarterback needs all the work he can get, especially when he has a young offense around him. So to see Russell missing time, even though it was not mandatory is concerning.
Then to see the franchise sign veteran Jeff Garcia, only makes a person from the outside looking in, even more worried about Russell. But at this point in time JaMarcus is still the starting quarterback for the Raiders and should keep his job this year.
Jeff Garcia's impact on the Raiders
There are not enough words for me to explain why the Raiders signing of Garica was a great move. For one it will help Russell to lean on a vet like Jeff, for help as the season goes along.
On second thought Jeff has always bee a competitive person, so who knows both Garcia and Russell may not get along very well. Even if they don't see eye to eye, Garcia's presences if anything should give Russell a swift kick in the butt. Having No.7 on the team should let Russell know that the Raiders franchise has someone that can take his place at any time.
If Jeff ends up taking over the offense at any time this year, everyone on the Raiders will be a more valuable fantasy player. Mainly because Garcia is still a very solid pro and will run the offense more effectively, then Russell can at this point of his career.
Raiders Receivers and Tight End
Right now Darrious Heyward-Bey is battling hamstring issues throughout camp. If he can not stay on the field, then his fantasy value will go into the gutter, for his rookie year.
Look for third year tight end Zack Miller and third year receiver Jonnie Lee Higgins to be the main targets in the Oakland offense this year. Out of the two Higgins is the most attractive player as he has great acceleration after the catch. Not to also add he is a very good punt returner as well.
Darren McFadden should also be a key producer in this passing game as well, even though he is a running back. Just about all fantasy leagues give runners credit for their receptions. If your league does not account for a runners receiving totals, it will really hurt Darren's value in your league.
Written By- Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com