Are we sleeping on the city that never sleeps?
Call me sad, but I recently woke up at about 2am and my first thought was the fantasy value of the Las Vegas Raiders. All I could think about was the 2015 and 2016 season with Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree at wide receiver and Latavius Murray at running back. All 3 of these players had great fantasy seasons in those 2 years, with Derek Carr at the helm. I made a note of my thoughts and went back to sleep.
The next day I decided to do some digging into the numbers to see if these figures could be replicated with the Raiders 2020 offensive weapons. Let’s start by taking a look at Derek Carr’s numbers.
Derek Carr has been a consistent performer over the past five years, averaging 3900 passing yards on 354 completions. These numbers have resulted in him finishing as low end QB2 for fantasy (ninth in 2016), which in 2QB or Superflex has value in itself. However, Derek Carr does not actually need to do anything differently this season.
The numbers above demonstrate that Carr has actually thrown for more yards the past two seasons that he did in either 2015 or 2016. The difference has been in his weapons finding the end zone. If Carr can keep giving his guys the ball, hopefully the Raiders’s new talent can make the most of the opportunities.
Let’s now take a look at Cooper and Crabtree’ numbers from 2015 and 2016.
Las Vegas' Wide Receivers
In both 2015 and 2016 Cooper and Crabtree were top-24 wide receivers in PPR formats. These figures suggest that even with Carr’s numbers generally in the QB2 range he has the capability of supporting two top-24 WR’s for fantasy purposes!
What about Josh Jacobs?
The easiest comparison to make is at the RB position. I’m not going to preach about Jacobs having the capability to be a RB1. However, Latavius Murray was a RB1 in 2015 and 2016 while putting up similar numbers to Jacobs in 2019. Any arguments that Jacobs presence will be the reason why Henry Ruggs’, Bryan Edwards’ and Darren Waller’s ceilings are limited are instantly flawed when you look at Murray’s numbers from 2016, when both Cooper and Crabtree succeeded alongside him.
The most likely player to be the one that limits the fantsy value of some of the Raider’s receivers, is the one thing that they didn’t have in 2015 and 2016, a top tight end. In 2019, Darren Waller played the majority of the season as a WR. That is unlikely to change dramatically in 2020 and for that reason he will likely limit the production of the more possession type receivers in Edwards and Tyrell Williams.
Las Vegas Raiders' 2020 Fantasy Football Projections
Below are my projections of what the Raiders offense could be this season. where these numbers would have seen them ranked last year and their current ADP.
What does this all mean?
After digging into them a little more it is clear that the Raiders’ players are currently undervalued, with the exception of Josh Jacobs.
Carr should consistently be a QB2, making him worth his usual late round pick in Superflex leagues at his ADP of 29th at the position.
Henry Ruggs has the potential of a 900+-yard season and Waller has already proven he can put up a 1000-yard season in this offense. These projections still leave 1700 receiving yards for the combination of Williams, Edwards and Hunter Renfrow! Renfrow, who is coming out 20 places above ADP at WR50, is definitely worth a late round pick in deeper leagues and could be the Edelman of the Raiders offence.
Jacobs is set for some positive TD regression. However, he could be limited in the receiving game, so tread carefully in PPR leagues. I believe that Jacobs ADP is slightly on the higher side as people are expecting the Raiders to run the ball more and increase the number of targets to Jacobs. While this may be true, does it mean Henry Ruggs could not be WR2 next season? Absolutely not!
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