The Oakland Raiders season is near and for fantasy football players everywhere, the fantasy team choices are already being considered. Who will be my QB, my WRs, defensive players, etc?
Many NFL fantasy managers are paying strict attention to who is healthy, who looks great in mini camp, and for particular players that scored well last season. Fantasy pickings are looking pretty good this year around the NFL.
For the Oakland Raiders I had two fantasy playmakers and they were Tyvon Branch and Thomas Howard. two defensive players which I will discuss on part two. So how about this season. Who are the fantasy stars in Oakland?
On the offense I will begin with WR Louis Murphy. Last season Murphy posted 521 yards and four TDs. These are nowhere near fantasy numbers. However, this was with a QB that threw the ball poorly. Enter Jason Campbell.
Campbell should have more field time and has a quick release. Another factor will be the Raider running game. Murphy should be able to post a 1,000 yards this season and will be a fantasy player for the Raiders this upcoming season. Murphy has proved himself to be the No. 1 receiver for the Oakland Raiders and will be unstoppable this season.
Zach Miller is another fantasy option for the TE position. He has great hands and also gets yardage after the catch. Miller posted 800-plus yardsand had three TDs. He also is a remarkable player and should do well in fantasy. As a new QB, Jason Campbell will rely on the hands of Miller so expect 1,000 yards and six or more TDs this year from Miller.
At the RB position, both Michael Bush and Darren McFadden should have great stats. I however would recommend McFadden. Should McFadden remain healthy this season he could easily post 1,000 yards. McFadden also has great hands and with option routes will post fantasy numbers. However, he must remain healthy which is why as an option I may consider Bush.
Bush posted 589 yards and three TDs however his play was limited. One factor not mentioned is that since last year's QB threw poorly, opponents knew the Raiders were forced to run the ball and this hurt the team. This year should be a whole new story.
The Raiders have a new QB, a new line, and, with the addition of Hue Jackson, should be a contender for the AFC West title. Bush will also be a factor. He is a solid RB that will be used at the goal line and during normal play. Bush will be a sleeper in preseason but his talent as a RB should grow to fantasy levels. Bush had an outstanding game against the Denver Broncos last season posting 133 yards and one TD. This type of play is what Oakland needs and Jackson will be able to open the running game.
Next is WR Johnnie Lee Higgins. Higgins had a great year in 2008. He posted 570 punt returned yards and alongside Murphy and Schilens, Higgins should have a decent season at WR. last season his performance was below par but I expect him to be the players he was in 07. I would think Higgins could post at least 700 yards receiving this season.
I realize Chaz Schilens is another WR out there but I need to see more play to decide if he is a fantasy player. Being a Raider fan I would hope all the players listed above outperform every other team in the NFL but thats not practical.
Finally there's the reliable "Sea Bass," yes, Sebastian Janikowski. Janikowski made 26 FGs last season. Janikowski is a powerhouse and can make you points. I would recommend him as a fantasy player alongside any other kicker. Usually you can have two but if not he makes the kicks year after year.
Once again there are factors here, the biggest is the addition of Jason Campbell. Should the Raiders develop a running attack, Campbell should have the opportunity to pick apart defenses (i.e Gannon did in 2000) with the talented WRs around him. Campbell however is new to the position and when it comes to fantasy I would only use him as a backup when my featured QB has a bye. I would love to see him put up numbers like Drew Brees but as a manager it's best to remain safe.
The Oakland Raiders are looking really good this year and there's a huge amount of positive talk everywhere. I feel they can take the AFC West title this season provided Jackson and Campbell perform well at their positions. Pride and poise in 2010. Good luck with your fantasy this year.