Raiders' Top Players to Target in Fantasy Football Drafts

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIAugust 2, 2021

Raiders' Top Players to Target in Fantasy Football Drafts

0 of 3

    David Becker/Associated Press

    Although the Las Vegas Raiders went 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs for the 17th time in 18 seasons, their offense ranked eighth in the NFL with 383.3 total yards per game. And that number is much more important to fantasy football managers than the amount of team wins.

    The Raiders had a few fantasy standouts on their roster in 2020, which is likely to be the case again in 2021. Not only did they bring in some solid offensive players this offseason, but they also have several young players who are likely to take steps forward during the upcoming season.

    Here's a look at the top Las Vegas players to target in fantasy football to begin 2021.

Josh Jacobs, RB

1 of 3

    David Becker/Associated Press

    There are likely going to be some fantasy managers who will be worried about taking Josh Jacobs early in drafts. That's because the Raiders have brought in Kenyan Drake, who was the top running back for the Arizona Cardinals last season and could take some touches away from Jacobs in 2021.

    That's a logical concern, but it's not a reason to avoid adding Jacobs to your fantasy roster. Perhaps having another strong back to step in at times could keep Jacobs fresher and lead to him producing more with the touches he's given. Plus, Jacobs hasn't been a factor in the passing game in his first two NFL seasons anyway, which is a role that could be given to Drake.

    Jacobs rushed for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, but he averaged only 3.9 yards per carry. Expect him to continue to find the end zone at a similar rate while being more effective with his rushing attempts, even if there are fewer of them.

    According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Jacobs' average draft position in points-per-reception leagues is the 12th pick of the second round. Maybe he falls lower in your draft. If that's the case, scoop him up and plug him into your lineup, because the 23-year-old may be poised for a career year in what should be a dynamic two-headed rushing attack in Las Vegas.

Darren Waller, TE

2 of 3

    David Becker/Associated Press

    Travis Kelce is the No. 1 fantasy tight end in the NFL, and there's no disputing that the Kansas City Chiefs standout is the best at the position. But it's also fairly obvious that Darren Waller is the second-best option at the position and is one of the few elite tight ends to try to land in fantasy football.

    Waller isn't going to get drafted as early as Kelce, who is going as high as the first round in some leagues this year because of his consistent production. But Waller could be worth taking as early as the third round, especially because he may only be getting better.

    Last season, Waller set career highs in catches (107), receiving yards (1,196) and touchdowns (nine) while playing in all 16 games for the second year in a row. He's going to be getting consistent targets from quarterback Derek Carr, and it should lead to another impressive season.

    Don't reach too high and take Waller in the first or the second round because there will still be solid tight ends on the board, and it's not the worst thing to have to stream at the position. But if things line up so that you can get Waller at a reasonable spot in the third round, you will reap the benefits and should be set at tight end for the entire season.

Henry Ruggs III, WR

3 of 3

    David Becker/Associated Press

    The Raiders' leading wide receiver last season was Nelson Agholor, who is now with the New England Patriots. They didn't make any huge additions to their receiving corps, either, with John Brown being their most significant free-agent signing at the position.

    That means several young receivers are likely going to be looked upon to step up. And the one with the most potential to do so is Henry Ruggs III.

    As a rookie in 2020, Ruggs flashed his potential, resulting in him finishing with 26 catches for 452 yards and two touchdowns. But with him being used mostly as a big-play deep threat, he was too inconsistent to rely on in fantasy lineups. He never had more than three receptions in a game, and 202 of his receiving yards came in two games.

    However, Ruggs has the skills to take a big step forward in 2021. He would be a risky fantasy start early in the season, so wait until it's clear how he will be utilized. But he's worth taking a chance on at some point around Rounds 10-12 of your draft as a breakout could be imminent for him.