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2020 Las Vegas Raiders Fantasy Team Outlook: Youth Movement Led by Josh Jacobs Headed to Sin City

SI Fantasy's Team Preview series from high-stakes legend Shawn Childs aims to break down the Las Vegas Raiders to evaluate the offense, defense, coaches and everyone in between with a fantasy-slanted analysis.

This is a preview article from our Team Outlook series. If you are already a FullTime Fantasy subscriber, click here to read the expanded outlook.

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Coaching Staff

In his second year coaching the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden went 7-9 with growth on both sides of the ball. They improved by three wins from 2018 (4-12). Las Vegas inherits a team that missed the playoffs in 16 of their last 17 seasons.

Over 13 seasons as the head coach for the Bucs and the Raiders, Gruden went 106-102 with five playoff appearances and a Super Bowl victory.

Las Vegas needs this team to make a playoff push to move forward in 2020.

Greg Olson returns as the offensive coordinator, which was a position he held with the team in 2013 and 2014. Olson worked with Jon Gruden in Tampa in 2008 as an offensive coordinator. He has 16 years of experience in the NFL, with 12 coming as an offensive coordinator.

The Raiders climbed to 24th in points scored (313) with a much stronger move in yards gained (11th – 23rd in 2018).

Paul Guenther gets his third season to run the defense for Las Vegas. Guenther has 17 years of NFL coaching experience with his last six coming as the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals and the Raiders.

The Raiders have ranked below 20th in yards allowed in each of the last six seasons while being never higher than 20th in points allowed in their previous 12 years.

Quarterbacks

Derek Carr (RANK - ADP)

After leading the Raiders to the playoffs in 2016 (12-3 with 28 TDs), Carr has improved, but his team struggled to win games (17-31). Last year he set a career-high in completion rate (70.4) and yards per pass attempt (7.9).

Las Vegas needs better production at WR after ranking 30th in catches (145) and receiving yards (1858) in 2019.

Carr has the skill set to be a winning game manager, but his value falls short of expectation when his offense becomes one dimensional when forced to throw.

TE Darren Waller was a pleasant surprise last season, and Las Vegas added three more WRs (Henry Ruggs, Lynn Bowden, and Bryan Edwards) with three of their first four picks in this year’s draft.

Ruggs has the tools to hit the ground running after getting drafted in the first round, and I’m a big fan of Edwards. Carr threw one TD or fewer in ten of his 16 starts last year.

His early projections came to 4,125 combined yards with 27 TDs and 11 Ints, which look to be on the low side if his rookie wide receiving core develops as expected in 2020. Carr has an ADP of 162 as the 27th quarterback drafted.

Marcus Mariota (RANK - ADP)

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Running Backs

Josh Jacobs (RANK - ADP)

Jacobs played through a shoulder injury last year, which may have cost him more value in the passing game.

His play was much better at home over seven games (809 combined yards with seven TDs and 12 catches) while failing to score on the road. Jacobs had eight runs over 20 yards and a pair of carries that gained over 40 yards.

The Raiders gave him over 20 touches or more in six of his 13 starts, which led to 20.2 chances per contest. Jacobs rushed for over 100 yards in five games (26/123/2, 21/124, 28/120/2, 23/112, and 17/104) while adding an impact showing in Week 1 (113 combined yards with two TDs and one catch).

His season ended in Week 15 with his shoulder issue.

In 2020, Jacobs will be drafted as a borderline top 12 RB with his ceiling tied to growth in the passing games. He has an ADP of 16 in early June in PPR leagues.

Out of the gate, I have Jacobs projected for 1,638 combined yards with ten TDs and 24 catches.

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Lynn Bowden & Jalen Richard

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Wide Receivers

Henry Ruggs (RANK - ADP)

Ruggs brings elite speed (4.27 forty) to the passing game, but he only had 98 catches for 1,716 yards and 24 TDs over four seasons. He did score a touchdown once every four times he touched the ball.

In 2018, Ruggs worked his way to WR2 as far as catches (46) in Alabama’s offense, but he had to compete with WR Jaylen Waddle (45/848/7), TE Irv Smith (44/710/7), and WR Devonta Smith (42/693/6) for targets.

Last year Ruggs slipped to WR3 (40/746/7) with his best success coming in Week 3 (6/122/1) and Week 4 (4/148/2). WR Devonta Smith (68/1256/14) pushed his way past him on the depth chart while WR Jerry Jeudy (77/1163/10) regressed slightly.

His rhythm and route running will create plenty of chances in the Raiders’ offense in his rookie season. They hope he develops into a Tyreek Hill type wide receiver. His first set of projections came to 47 catches for 754 yards and six touchdowns while having an ADP of 120 in June as the 45th wide receiver drafted.

Ruggs is a risk/reward type in 2020.

Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow & Bryan Edwards

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Tight Ends

Darren Waller (RANK - ADP)

Real-life issues cost Waller four years of development time after getting drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round in 2015. He missed 2017 for failing the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. After two clean years, Waller exploded for an impact season in 2019.

His most impressive stat was his catch rate (76.9), which suggests last year wasn’t a fluke.

When at his best (13/1344, 7/126/2), 7/100, 8/122, and 6/107), Waller has WR1 value from the TE position. The Raiders had questions at WR (145/1858/13) in 2019, but they added three WRs over their first four picks in this year's draft.

This year he has an early ADP of 65 in the PPR leagues in the high-stakes market as the fifth TE off the board.

I had Waller slightly rated over Mark Andrews (41.1 percent in 2019) based on expected snaps (90.6 percent last year), but more competition for targets pushes him down a notch for me while needing growth in TDs. I set his early bar at 78 catches for 935 yards and five TDs.

Jason Witten (RANK - ADP)

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Defense

The Raiders improved to eighth in rushing yards allowed (1,570), but they did give up 15 TDs and nine runs over 20 yards. Ball carriers gained 3.9 yards per carry (fifth-best).

Las Vegas slipped to 25th in pass defense (4,107 yards) with tons of damage in pass TDs (33). Their defense finished with only nine Ints and 32 sacks with quarterbacks gaining 8.3 yards per pass attempt.

In the premium outlook, on defense you'll find write-ups for DE Clelin Ferrell, DE Maxx Crosby, DT Maliek Collins, DT Johnathan Hankins, LB Cory Littleton, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, LB Nicholas Morrow, CB Trayvon Mullen, CB Damon Arnette, S Damarious Randall & S Johnathan Abram.

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Team Defense Outlook

This defense has some upside pieces and multiple first-rounders on the roster, but their core still needs time to develop. The Raiders have passing rushing talent on the defensive line with a focus in defending the pass in the red zone. Not quite ready to be trusted as fantasy options, but Las Vegas may offer matchup value in 2020.

Free Agency, Draft, Offensive Line, Offensive Schedule & Defensive Schedule

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