2012 Raiders Season Prediction

Posted: August 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

Pride & Poise: The Legendary Oakland Raiders

Last year I guessed that 8-8 would win the division. I was only wrong about who it would be. And, it should have been.

Anyways, this year it looks like 9-7 will be needed to win the division, and this time I’m pretty sure I’m right who about the winner:

The Oakland Raiders

Many talking heads are saying that AFCW teams improved over the offseason but Raiders didn’t.

What they don’t see is that Raiders had WAY more room for improvement than the others. Yes, I respect Al, but the last decade was tough, we have a lot of catching up to do in our front office, systems and general approach to the game.

Reggie provides that in a way no one else could. We are now a 21st century organization, like it or not. And I think winning the division will be greatly liked by Raider Nation this year!

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Let’s examine what the Raiders are going to do for you in the air, this squad is by far the most deep of any of position and look to create match-up hell for DB’s and LB’s.

1. Carson Palmer: Yeah, the air attack starts with the QB and we have a much better one than most prognosticators would have you believe.  Sure, he threw 16 int’s last year and that is not pretty.  What he did do was throw for an average of 275 yards per game and threw 13TD’s as well and one of those was the longest he ever had (78 yds).  That was 10 games, he was thrown in with a week to week playbook, his first three int’s came against KC when he literally came into the game from being on the couch three days prior.   Now he has had an entire off-season to learn the playbook, he’s been working of his feet for the West Coast style offense, he has a HEALTHY DMC and one of the fastest most dynamic receiving cores in the league.  Palmer is not the first QB I would draft in fantasy this year, but he is definitely the second.  I expect him to average around 16 pts per fantasy game.

Now onto the Wide Receivers:

1. Darrius Heyward-Bey:  Maybe Al Davis wasn’t so nuts when he drafted DHB at 8 overall.  Yeah, he struggled for a couple of years, but last year saw him break out.  He had great chemistry building with Cambpell, when that got shut down it took a couple of games to get it going again, but he did and produced 975 yards a 4 TD’s.  That is the most out of a Raiders WR since Randy Moss’ first year here, and it could have easily been more had circumstances played out a little differently.  He has more competition this year from the likes of Denarius Moore who looks to challenge for the #1 spot, but I think DHB steps into elite WR this year.  Projected totals: 1,200 yds and 8 TD’s, he’ll average about 10 points per fantasy game.  He’ll be a steal in the draft and can probably be had as late as the 7th-10th round.  Not a true #1 on a fantasy team, but a solid #2 or flex player.

2. Denarius Moore:  Had Moore been healthy all year last year he would have been a legit contender for Rookie of the Year, yeah I said it.  How can you deny it?  He was NFL Rookie of the week twice, he posted 618 yards and 5 TD’s in the air (oh yeah, he also rushed for 61 yards and a TD).  To call this guy dynamic is an understatement, his speed and catching abilities are something even the most avid of Raider Haters took note of.  In addition, if you play in a PPR league he also returns kicks and punts.  This guy has the NFL buzzing and with good reason, I expect him to do more of the same this year and burn defenders to the ground.  Projected totals: 900 yds, 10 TD’s, he’ll average 11 points per fantasy game.  I’d actually be in a serious quandary of whether to go with him over DHB, grab this guy in the 9th round or later (if you can).  He’s a legit #2/flex in a deep league, and if it’s PPR he has potential to be that game changer.

3. Jacoby Ford:  Jacoby got slept on a little last year, he was overcoming an injury plagued season.  However, he did manage to have on the best kick returns of any player in the NFL last year.  He will be a slot receiver this year, so I am not expecting a lot of yards or TD’s from him in the passing game.  Where he will benefit you is with his return game.  I would only start him in case of emergency though, draft him in the later rounds or look to pick him up off of the waiver wire.  Projected totals: 600 yds, 3 TD’s and about 4 points per fantasy game.

4. Juron Criner:  This years Denarius Moore in the off-season, what he lacks in speed he makes up for by making catch after catch.  Really, the guy is too unknown to even consider drafting on your fantasy team, look for him on the waiver wire if things are looking bad for you (and injury plagued for the Raiders).  He’ll make some plays this year, maybe some huge ones, but he is more of a possession guy so don’t expect the moon.  Projected totals: 300 yds, 1 TD, negligible fantasy points per game.

5. Louis Murphy:  When he was drafted in 2008 it looked like he was going to dominate, his numbers have slid each year after that and frankly he’ll be lucky to make the team this year (especially with Criner blowing up).  Bottom line, I wouldn’t draft him or pick him on the waiver wire, even if I was desperate.  I like the guy, but I don’t honestly expect him on the team by the start of the season.  Too many young guys challenging him and he has a notorious bad attitude when things aren’t going his way (and they won’t).  (EDIT: as predicted Murphy is no longer a Raider, although I like his fantasy value in Carolina a lot.  I’d go with a 12th round pick with the former Raider.)

6. Rod Streater and Eddie McGee:  I pair these two together since I think they will both make the team and have impact potential in spread offense and if any of the above guys get injured.  Eddie McGee who spent last year on the practice squad and most of the off-season working out with Palmer, DHB, Moore and T.O..  Palmer is high on him, but they are so deep at WR you shouldn’t expect too much.  Streater is an undrafted free agent and he knows how to do two things: get open and catch the ball.  Obviously knowing how to do those two things make him a legit contender to not only make the team, but to make plays in the regular season.  Despite their potential don’t draft either of these guys, waiver wire if all Hell breaks loose and we lose two or more starters.

Also, Ausberry and Brandon Myers should both be more productive at TE this year, Ausberry especially has a lot of people talking about his potential.  I like Ausberry as a second tight end on my team, he could blow up.  Meyers is a second TE as well, but to be honest I wouldn’t draft either of them.

Below is a complete list of receivers and tight ends currently on the roster (6/26/12)

Duke Calhoun WR 24 6-2 200 2 Memphis
Derek Carrier WR 21 6-3 238 R Beloit
Brandon Carswell WR 23 6-1 190 R USC
Juron Criner WR 22 6-4 215 R Arizona
12 Jacoby Ford WR 24 5-9 185 3 Clemson
85 Darrius Heyward-Bey WR 25 6-2 210 4 Maryland
14 Derrick Jones WR 26 6-0 195 R California (PA)
Thomas Mayo WR 22 6-2 200 R California (PA)
Eddie McGee WR 24 6-4 210 1 Illinois
17 Denarius Moore WR 23 6-0 195 2 Tennessee
18 Louis Murphy WR 25 6-2 200 4 Florida
Tray Session WR 25 6-3 190 R Nevada-Reno
Rod Streater WR 24 6-4 185 R Temple
86 David Ausberry TE 24 6-4 245 2 USC
Kyle Efaw TE 24 6-4 247 R Boise State
82 Richard Gordon TE 25 6-4 265 2 Miami (Fla.)
Tory Humphrey TE 29 6-2 255 5 Central Michigan
83 Brandon Myers TE 26 6-4 250 4 Iowa

With little signings and no draft picks until the third round to get excited about, let’s focus on the impact that some key Raiders players will have in the upcoming Fantasy Football year.  Who should you draft, where you should draft them and who you should avoid at all costs.  Today’s focus is the Running Backs:

1. Darren McFadden: Coming off yet another injury plagued season this may be McFadden’s last chance to prove himself before his current contract expires.  McFadden looked to be on track to be the leading rusher in the NFL last year before he went down, with huge games against the Broncos and the Jets.  I remain hopeful for his potential to be the elite back he is supposed to be, but a first round pick has me leery.  Smart money is to take him late first round or early second.  I think there is a good chance he could fall to late round 2 in most standard leagues based on his injury history.

2. Taiwan Jones: It remains to be seen who will the #2 back in Oakland this year; Jones on paper fulfills that spot.  I expect Taiwan to have little impact in the run game though, what makes him interesting is his PR and KR skills (which is where most of his fantasy value lies).  Bottom line, don’t draft him.  If he ends up having a bigger impact than expected he will be available on the waiver wire, although even there he is only worthy of a roster spot in very deep leagues.

3. Mike Goodson:  Goodson has the speed and size NFL teams look for in a RB, however, he is known for chronic fumbling throughout his career.  With a less crowded back field in Oakland he will have a chance to step up and make big plays, I see him as the replacement for Rock Cartwright more than Michael Bush though.  He will make his biggest impact on special teams; avoid him in your fantasy draft.  Like Jones he is a decent waiver wire pick up mid-season in deep leagues.

4. Marcell Reece:  Most people wouldn’t even consider adding a fullback to their fantasy team, Reece is not your ordinary FB though.  At 6’3″ and 240lbs he is a load to handle for any defender, what makes him so special though is his speed and ability to catch the ball.  Of all the potential handcuff backs for McFadden, Reece has the most upside and was a beast last year.  He has over 300 receiving yards in the past two seasons, and looks to get even more this year with the switch to the West Coast offense.  I think Reece is really more of a TE than a traditional FB, look for him to have a breakout season this year.  Draft him with one of your last two or three picks, in a deep league he is a no-brainer.

The Raiders have two young untested RB’s as well on the roster in Rashawn Jackson and Lonyae Miller, both of whom are HUGE.  With the Raiders looking for Bush’s replacement I don’t expect much from these guys.  Maybe they will push Tonga for the back-up FB or contribute on special teams.  Zero fantasy value.

My next post will focus on the Oakland Air Attack which looks to be much improved.