The Oakland Raiders are poised to make a playoff run this year under new head coach Hue Jackson. Jackson turned the Raiders into the sixth highest scoring team in the league last year as offensive coordinator.
Not only has Jackson helped make the Raiders relevant in the NFL, but he's also made Raiders players worthy of being rostered in fantasy football leagues.
Not since Rich Gannon and Charlie Garner helped lead me to a title in 2001 have the Raiders had guys who can be the difference in helping a fantasy team win a league. Even better, you got them at a discount!
You see, Raider fans, most people hate us and hate our team. Now that our team scores points again, it's time to take advantage of this!
So let's take a look at where you can target your favorites when it's time to draft this year.
If healthy DMC can carry you
Darren McFadden is the first Raider who will go off the board in fantasy drafts this year. In a recent ESPN mock draft of so-called experts, McFadden lasted all the way to the 19th pick. That is crazy!
In standard scoring, DMC was second to Arian Foster in points per game last year, but he goes as the 12th running back off the board? Really?
In reality, while an injury risk, DMC is easily a top 10 pick. Unless you play in a league with all Raider fans or with a guy who's from Arkansas, feel free to grab a QB or WR with your first pick and enjoy getting DMC in the second.
Okay, if you're drafting DMC, you're drafting Michael Bush as well. Period. End of sentence. That is all!
Michael Bush is more than an insurance policy for McFadden owners. He's a weekly flex option who gets goal-line carries and becomes an every week starter if, God forbid, something happens to DMC.
If you get McFadden don't get cute waiting around for Bush. He's going in the ninth or 10th round on average. Be safe and take him in the eighth.
Shh!! Don't tell anybody, but the Raiders defense was sixth in fantasy scoring last year. Trust me, most people in your league will not know this.
You can sit back and take the Raiders with your next-to-last pick, since for the most part they are going undrafted!
Talk about value!
Even more so since that young d-line will just get better and McClain will show big second-year improvement.
I don't advocate taking a kicker until the last round. In fact, I play in one league where it's a given that everyone gets their favorite team's kicker—sort of a "gentlemen's agreement."
However, it must be noted that Sebastian Janikowski isn't even being drafted in a lot of leagues.
Why is that?
It certainly can't be based on performance, since he was the highest scoring kicker in all of fantasy football!
Just another bargain for a Raider fan.
After Antonio Gates, Jason Witten and Vernon Davis there's no need to reach early for a tight end. You can wait until much later and get about the same production from a lot of other guys.
Kevin Boss has scored 16 TDs in his last 45 games. Not bad.
He now moves to a more tight-end friendly offense and for those who think he's no Zach Miller, the difference in their fantasy totals was less than a point per game.
Speaking of Miller, his situation in Seattle, with Tarvarus Whitehurst or Charlie Jackson at quarterback, is pretty bleak. Enjoy the money, Zach. That's about all you'll have to be happy about!
Anybody have the slightest idea who will emerge to be the Raiders' go-to receiver? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
I know I don't know. So here's the deal. With the exception of Jacoby Ford, none of them will probably get drafted.
So if you want to take a flyer late on Chaz Schilens, Denarius Moore, DHB or Louis Murphy, just pick one and do it!
If one of the other guys starts to emerge you can always go get him off the waiver wire—if you pick the right one, you'll have some serious bragging rights during the season!
If you play a lot of fantasy football (like I do) and you're a Raiders fan (like I am), then this could be a really fun year for you.
It's a lot of fun when one of "your guys" helps you win. It just makes it that much sweeter.
Also, I think Jason Campbell could be a borderline starter and solid backup this year. I just like him better in real life than fantasy this year, but hey, that's okay too!
So target a few of our own this year, guys. It might just make you a winner!