How in the world can I say "Oakland Raiders" and "Fantasy Stock" in the same sentence? The Raiders are under a new head coach and until last year they provided little fantasy football value. Typically I try to avoid drafting players on teams with a new head coach or OC changes. History tells us when the head coach changes the players statistics usually change too. To make matters worse, last year was Oakland's first year to produce a couple fantasy studs in Darren McFadden and Zach Miller.
So why in the hell are we talking about the Oakland Raiders? First of all fantasy football is about getting quality picks in the mid to late rounds. Oakland players, because of their history, will drop in the fantasy draft. High risk high reward factor.. but don't get all excited just yet! There is a ton of chatter surrounding changes in Oakland that will effect the players draft value.
According to Jerry McDonald @ the ContraCostaTimes Zach Miller might not be with Oakland in 2011.
There’s speculation that Zach Miller is now in line for the franchise tag, but I’m not so sure. Once there is a new collective bargaining agreement, there is no guarantee four-year players will be unrestricted free agents. The possibility exists that Miller and Michael Bush could be retained through tender offers, depending on the CBA. As good as Miller is, I’m not sure the Raiders are eager to pay him $7.3 million.
You see Oakland has some big time players all due big contracts or else they will test free agency, like Nnamdi Asomugha. And even though the Raiders hired Rod Woodson as a defensive assistant, a close friend of Nnamdi Asomugha, all bets are off when it comes to money. I just don't see Asomugha in Black and Silver next year and neither does Peter King. Not that Asomugha produces huge IDP numbers but if he leaves to join another top DB then his IDP numbers should rise.
Adding salt to fantasy wounds we all saw Darren McFadden rise to the occasion last year. "Run DMC" led the NFL with 14 carries of 20-plus yards in 2010, and ranked 4th in the league in rushing yards per game. But on the down side Darren lost more and more goal line carrier to Michael Bush as the year progressed. In a recent interview with new head coach Hue Jackson, Jackson was ask:
Q: There was great improvement with Darren McFadden last year, is he just scratching surface?
Jackson: There’s no question he is. I’m so excited about what he brings to the organization. Him and Michael Bush, those two guys are a 1-2 punch for us, obviously, he was the No. 4 pick three years ago, and what he did for us last year is what we all envisioned he could be. So I’m excited about what the future holds for him.
Not what fantasy football GM's want to hear. At least McFadden is still a TOP 10 RB in PPR formats even with Bush stealing goal line work.
Now about those Oakland Wide Receivers. You can take a mid to late round stab at the WR corp. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy are in their magic "third year" where Wide Receivers tend to turn it up. Don't get to crazy with the cheese whiz, Oakland is a run first team but either off these guys could make for a nice WR3.
As usual it's wait and see time. I'm going to look for Miller and McFadden to drop a bit in the drafts and pick ONE of them up, otherwise I'm avoiding the situation. New head coach + only one good year + Al Davis = buy low or not at all! Same goes for the WR. But then again if you like going to Vegas and the pre-season reports look good you could make a high risk high reward stab on one of Oakland's potential fantasy studs.