How in the world can one say “Oakland Raiders” and “Fantasy Stock” in the same sentence?
The Raiders have a new head coach, Hue Jackson, and until last year, they provided little fantasy football value.
Typically, I try to avoid drafting players on teams with a new head coach or OC changes.
History tells us when the head coach changes the players statistics usually change, too. To make matters worse, last year was Oakland’s first year to produce a couple fantasy studs in Darren McFadden and Zach Miller.
So why are we talking about the Oakland Raiders?
First of all, fantasy football is about getting quality picks in the mid-to-late rounds. Oakland players, because of their history, will drop in the fantasy draft. High-risk high-reward factor—but don’t get all excited just yet!
There is a ton of chatter surrounding changes in Oakland that will effect the players' draft value.
According to ContraCostaTimes' Jerry McDonald, tight end Zach Miller might not be with Oakland in 2011.
"There’s speculation that Zach Miller is now in line for the franchise tag, but I’m not so sure. Once there is a new collective bargaining agreement, there is no guarantee four-year players will be unrestricted free agents," McDonald says.
"The possibility exists that Miller and Michael Bush could be retained through tender offers, depending on the CBA. As good as Miller is, I’m not sure the Raiders are eager to pay him $7.3 million," he added.
Oakland has some big-time players, all due big contracts or else they will test free agency, like Nnamdi Asomugha.
Even though the Raiders hired Rod Woodson as a defensive assistant—a close friend of Asomugha—all bets are off when it comes to money.
I find it hard to see Asomugha in Black and Silver next year, and so does Peter King.
Not that Asomugha produces huge IDP numbers, but if he leaves to join another top DB, his IDP numbers should rise.
Adding salt to fantasy wounds, we all saw Darren McFadden rise to the occasion last year.
“Run DMC” led the NFL with 14 carries of 20-plus yards in 2010, and ranked fourth in the league in rushing yards per game. But on the downside, Darren lost more and more goal line carries to Michael Bush as the year progressed.
In another recent interview with new head coach Hue Jackson by McDonald, Jackson had this to say:
McDonald: "There was great improvement with Darren McFadden last year, is he just scratching the surface?"
Jackson: "There’s no question he is. I’m so excited about what he brings to the organization. Him and Michael Bush, those two guys are a one-two punch for us, obviously, he was the No. 4 pick three years ago, and what he did for us last year is what we all envisioned he could be. So I’m excited about what the future holds for him."
Not what fantasy football GM’s want to hear.
At least McFadden is still a TOP 10 RB in PPR formats even with Bush stealing goal line work.
Now, about those Oakland wide receivers.
You can take a mid-to-late round stab at the WR corp. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy are in their magic “third year” where wide receivers tend to turn it up.
Don’t get too crazy with the cheese whiz; Oakland is a run-first team but either of these guys could make for a nice WR3.
As usual, it’s wait and see time.
Look for Miller and McFadden to drop a bit in the drafts and pick one of them up.
Otherwise, avoid the situation.
New head coach, plus only one good year, plus Al Davis equals a buy low or not at all!
Same goes for the WR.
But then again, if you like going to Vegas and the preseason reports look good, you could make a high-risk high-reward stab on one of Oakland’s potential fantasy studs.