Note: all points are calculated with PPR scoring
Team Reception Breakdown
Derek Carr: 241.62 total, 15.1 ppg (370/575 passing, 3738 yards, 28 TD, 11 INT; 81 yards rushing, 0 TD, 3 fumbles lost)
There’s a lot of buzz with Jon Gruden coming out of the announcer booth to coach the Raiders. Color me skeptical. It’s been 10 years since Gruden last coached and he wasn’t exactly taking the league by storm then. His lone Super Bowl win came largely on the back of a defense built by previous head coach Tony Dungy. On top of that, current OC Greg Olsen – a disciple of Gruden’s – was the OC during Carr’s rookie year. The results were lukewarm at best. Now, Olsen isn’t Gruden, and who knows what Gruden has picked up analyzing teams from the press box for the past 10 years. Nevertheless, I don’t exactly expect a career year out of Carr. The biggest plus going for him is the poor state of the defense which may force Carr to air it out. There’s some upside, but I’m leaving Carr on waivers.
Marshawn Lynch: 170.8 total, 10.7 ppg (200 carries, 840 yards, 7 TD, 1 fumble lost; 25 Rec, 158 yards, 1 TD)
Lynch is hands down the leader of this backfield and should earn the majority of the carries. I would even expect him to get some work in the passing game as Gruden likes to throw to his running backs in the flats. He should be a high-end RB3 with RB2 upside. However, just because Lynch is the only one listed here does not mean he’s the only one worth owning in fantasy. The problem is that I have no idea how to sort out Doug Martin, DeAndre Washington, and Jalen Richard. Martin hasn’t appeared to flash anything different than the last two disappointing years, but the Raiders’ staff seems high on him. Washington and Richard have split scatback duties for a couple years now, a role which has a lot of potential in Gruden’s offense. However, Richard has taken a back seat to Lynch and Martin while Washington has been out with a knee injury. All three have upside and are worth late round flyers in the off chance that they become the second running back, but at this point it’s a dart throw deciding which one.
Amari Cooper: 264.4 total, 16.5 ppg (90 Rec, 1224 yards, 9 TD, 1 fumble lost)
Jordy Nelson: 137.0 total, 8.6 ppg (50 Rec, 510 yards, 6 TD, 0 fumbles lost)
Martavis Bryant: 87.3 total, 5.5 ppg (30 Rec, 393 yards, 3 TD, 0 fumbles lost)
Gruden has said all offseason that Cooper will be his primary receiver. It’s been a few years, but last time Gruden coached his lead receiver was a lucrative position in fantasy. Cooper has been inconsistent so far in his career, but he should get the volume to be a mid-level WR1. The only thing that could get in his way is Nelson. By all accounts, Nelson is having a spectacular summer as Michael Crabtree’s replacement. He shouldn’t garner quite the same target share, but he has a similar affinity for the red zone. I would currently consider him a WR5 for fantasy, but if Cooper continues to struggle with inconsistency Nelson could potentially work his way up to a borderline WR3/4. The coaching staff has been less than thrilled with Bryant so far, but his talent alone will give him at least some field time. He will likely put up zeros in between his 2 or 3 boom games this year. If you think you can time those, then Bryant could be a savvy pick. Otherwise, best to leave him on waivers.
Jared Cook: 157.7 total, 9.9 ppg (65 Rec, 767 yards, 3 TD, 1 fumble lost)
Cook has quietly had himself a good offseason and has impressed Gruden. With the best candidate for the third wide receiver position currently in the doghouse, Cook might actually fill in as the third receiver. His upside is capped in an offense that primarily operates through the primary receiver and running backs, but he could establish a nice floor for himself. He should be a borderline TE1/2 and could be a steal late in the draft.