Oakland Raiders Preview
The Raiders are a mess. Until Al Davis steps down, I’m not sure how this situation will improve. How else can you explain throwing a bucket of cash to a WR (Javon Walker) who isn’t all the way healthy and nearly retired. Part of the reason they have been so bad is they have been shackled with so many top picks in recent years. You need to hit a Home Run in the draft or you’ll never improve with the ridiculous contracts that come with these prized rookies. That’s a different argument for a different day though.
On offense, you don’t know what you’re going to get. JaMarcus Russell has a big arm, but he also has a big affinity for eating. If he can’t say fit, I don’t see how he’s going to be able to elude pass rushers. His holdout last year cost him much of the season. He looked OK at the end of the year, but often teams quit by then. He’ll be handing the ball off to another prized Rookie, on Darren McFadden. Run DMC was an explosive back in college, which appears to be able to translate into the pros. He’ll be sharing carries with Justin Fargas, who ran for 1000 yards last year, and oft-injured Michael Bush. Javon Walker and Ronald Curry are Russell’s primary wideout targets. Zach Miller looks to be a nice up-and-coming Tight End who seemingly built a nice rapport with Russell last year.
Defensively, this unit is led by Linebackers Kirk Morrison (120 Tackles, 4 INTs) and Thomas Howard (95 Tackles, 6 INTs). They brought in DeAngelo Hall to team with Nnamdi Asomugha to give the Raiders two very capable Cornerbacks. Michael Huff is coming of age at Safety and could approach 100 Tackles this year. Gibril Wilson was brought over from the Giants to team with him. Derrick Burgess (8 Sacks) will be asked to put pressure on the QB. Thomas Kelly will hold down the middle.
The Raiders will battle the Chiefs to avoid the basesement of the AFC West. If they got any more that 6 Wins, I’d say they had a good year.
Fantasy-wise they have a few worthy guys. First off, both Run DMC and Fargas will be taken. McFadden will go first because of the hype. Fargas could be the better value. At WR you can take a chance on Javon Walker. I’m a little worried about him, but he should be just fine. Ronald Curry is a possibility, but my wideouts would have to be pretty weak for him to make it on. Zach Miller makes the perfect backup Tight End. If you’re hurting, you can use JaMarcus Russell. For the most part, I’ll ignore Russell.