Marcel Reece Is the Glue to Oakland Raiders' Offense

Armando MartinezCorrespondent IIOctober 7, 2011

Fullback Marcel Reece is listed as questionable for this Sunday's matchup against the Houston Texans. The Raiders hope he is able to suit up.
Fullback Marcel Reece is listed as questionable for this Sunday's matchup against the Houston Texans. The Raiders hope he is able to suit up.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If he is on your fantasy football team, there is a good chance you either play in a 20-team league or are destined for last place. Yet, probably the most important part of the Oakland Raiders' offense is fullback Marcel Reece.

And to think he went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Sure, Darren McFadden is far and away the most explosive and dynamic playmaker of the offense, the only player who can single-handedly take over a game.

Behind him, however, is a capable backup in Michael Bush who has shown he can time and again rush for over 100 yards in McFadden's stead. The offense becomes more meat and potatoes without McFadden, but Bush's power running style keeps it afloat.

Though not a household name, Marcel Reece is a versatile weapon for the Raiders. In the running game, Reece has proven to be a dependable blocker, often able to use his speed to get into the second level of the defense and seal off linebackers to give McFadden or Bush a few extra yards.

However, it is in the passing game that Reece makes the most damage, which is not surprising considering he is a converted wide receiver.

Last season, his first full year as the Raiders' starting fullback, Reece hauled in 25 receptions and scored four total touchdowns. He scored on a 73-yard touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos and on a 30-yard reception on a fourth-down play against the Seattle Seahawks.

Reece gives the team a consistent underneath option, either swinging out from the backfield into the flat or even lining up in the slot. Reece's versatility allows him to line up anywhere on the field and exploit mismatches. He is a player the opposing defense has to be on the lookout for constantly.

Reece went undrafted in the 2008 draft despite running a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, primarily because he was considered to be a tweener. He was a wide receiver at the University of Washington, but was too big to play the position in the pros. Teams considered him at tight end, but he proved to be too small.

That's where the Raiders came in. The team signed him when the Miami Dolphins cut him in training camp. Oakland immediately tried him out at fullback. It was a difficult transition for Reece, but the move began to pay dividends last year.

This season, Reece has played in two games, totaling six receptions and one touchdown. Unfortunately, he exited the Week 3 matchup with the New York Jets prematurely due to an ankle injury. He did not play last week against the New England Patriots.

Officially, the team announced Reece would be listed as questionable for Sunday's pivotal game against the Houston Texans. With his replacement, Richard Gordon, nursing a broken hand, the Raiders may be down to very few options if Reece is unable to suit up.

Without Reece, Oakland's offense lacked the usual pop last week. He will be one player to keep an eye out for when the early inactives for Sunday are announced.