2019 Fantasy Football: Oakland Raiders Expanded Team Outlook
Oakland Raiders Team Outlook
In this Oakland Raiders Team Outlook, I will focus on each key aspect of the franchise: coaching, the draft, free agency, offensive line, schedule, defense and of course, each relevant Fantasy Football at the key positions: QB, RB, WR, TE and K.
Oakland talked Jon Gruden out of the booth to push the franchise back to relevance in the NFL after missing the playoffs in 14 of their last 15 seasons. Over four seasons as the head coach for the Raiders from 1998 to 2001, Gruden went 38-26 with two playoff appearances. The following season he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory after a 12-4 regular season. In his seven years with Tampa, Jon went 57-55 with two other appearances in the playoffs. In 2018, Jon cleaned house of by trading LB Khalil Mack to the Bears just before the season and WR Amari Cooper to the Cowboys during the year. Gruden’s willingness to start from scratch led to a 4-12 record with regression on both sides of the ball.
Greg Olson returns as the offensive coordinator, which was a position he held with Oakland in 2013 and 2014. Olson worked with Jon Gruden in Tampa in 2008 as an offensive coordinator. Olson has 16 years of experience in the NFL with 11 coming as offensive coordinator. His offense slipped to 28th in point scored (290), and 23rd in yards gained.
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. Paul Guenther gets a second crack at saving the defensive side of the ball. Guenther has 16 years of NFL coaching experience with his last four coming as the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals before signing with the Raiders.
Oakland brought in Mike Glennon and Landry Jones for quarterback depth. They signed RB IsaiahCrowell, but he blew out his Achilles already, which put him on the shelf all year.
Their big move in the offseason was acquiring the disgruntled Antonio Brown for late-round draft picks. The Raiders also added Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant, and J.J. Nelson to help the structure of the WR position.
TE Luke Willson will find the void created by TE Jared Cook moving to the Saints.
They signed RT Trent Brown and T Jordan Devey. Brown has a chance to start in 2019.
The critical losses to the offense in free agency were RB Marshawn Lynch (retired), WR Jordy Nelson, WR Seth Roberts, WR Martavis Bryant, WR Brandon LaFell, and LT Donald Penn.
The Raiders tried their best to patchwork their defense by adding nine players to their defense – DE Benson Mayowa, DE Josh Mauro, DE Alex Barrett, LB Vontaze Burfict, LB Brandon Marshall, CB Nevin Lawson, S Lamarcus Joyner, S Curtis Riley, and S Jordan Richards. Five of these players are expected to start.
The only losses so far on the defense were DT Clinton McDonald, DE Frostee Rucker, and Jacquies Smith.
Oakland Raiders Draft
First Round pick, 4th overall: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
Ferrell has the foundation skill set to be an impact player against the run plus rushing the quarterback. He’s quick off the snap with fire in his attack. His next step is a better motor and improved conditioning, which will help his value late in games. In a way, Clelin is the replacement for the loss of Khalil Mack.
First Round pick, 24th overall: RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
Jacobs has low mileage coming into the NFL while having the talent to be an impact player at the next level. He brings a three-down skill set while lacking home run speed. His next step is improving his value in pass protection while developing his route running skills. The injury to Isaiah Crowell should improve his opportunity in his rookie season.
First Round pick, 27th overall: S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi St.
Abram should be an instant upgrade to the run defense thanks to his attack when moving toward the line of scrimmage. His speed (4.45 40 yard dash) should be an edge at his position with a chance to help in coverage. His vision and feel for the passing game may leave him a tick behind on too many plays.
Second Round pick, 40th overall: CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson
In the second round, the Raiders selected CB Trayvon Mullen. He projects a press corner who can get in trouble if he loses the battle at the line of scrimmage. Mullen needs growth in his feel for developing pass patterns. I expect him to be much better over the short field than coving elite speed in the deep passing game.
Fourth Round pick, 106th overall: DE Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan
Crosby gives the Raiders a second passing rushing option from the outside. His quickness gives him an edge, and his frame has room to grow. Maxx needs to develop his technique while tightening up his movements in the trenches. Crosby has risk in the open field when trying to lock down elite runners.
Fourth Round pick, 129th overall: CB Isaiah Johnson, Houston
Johnson offers speed (4.4 40 yards dash) and quickness to the cornerback position while an edge in size (6’2” and 208 lbs.). He’s a former wide receiver who needs plenty of work in his coverage skills. Isaiah is another press corner type. He’s still a looker on defense, which creates mistakes. Crosby is more of a project than a playable option at this point of his career.
Fourth Round pick, 137th overall: TE Foster Moreau, LSU
Moreau comes to the NFL with a blocking skill set with questionable upside in the passing game. His speed (4.66 40 yard dash) and strength should work well for his position while having the quickness to beat his man off the line of scrimmage. Foster needs more aggression in his route running to help create a bigger passing window.
Fifth Round pick, 149th overall: WR Hunter Renfrow, Clemson
WR Hunter Renfrow was the choice in the fifth round. He has a possession type skill set that has a WesWelker or Julian Edelman feel. For Renfroe to reach that status, he needs to get much stronger. Hunter runs great routes with plus hands.
Seventh Round pick, 230th overall: DE Quinton Bell, Prairie View A&M
Oakland shifted back to the pass rush in the seventh round with LB Quinton Bell. He went to a small school (Prairie View A&M) while still need to add bulk (6’4” and 219 lbs.). Bell was a former WR that converted to the defense in 2018. Quinton has plenty of work to do before stepping onto the field for the Raiders.
Oakland finished 25th in rushing yards (1,628) with nine rushing TDs. Some of their failures were due to only 24.2 rushes per game, which was about 15 percent lower than the league average. Their ball carriers gained 4.2 yards per carry with eight runs over 20 yards.
The Raiders were league average in passing yards (3,751 – 18th) with 19 TDs and 10 Ints. They gained only 7.3 yards per pass attempt with 52 completions over 20 yards. Their offensive line allowed 52 sacks and 89 QB hits.
LT Trent Brown
Brown signed a four-year $66 million contract in the offseason after delivering a league average season for the Patriots in 2019. He tends to be an asset in pass protection while showing better results over the previous two years as run blocker. Last year he started 16 games at left tackle for New England point to him winning the same job in 2019.
LG Richie Incognito
Incognito retired in 2018 after three Pro Bowl seasons with the Bills. When at the top of his game, Incognito played well in pass protection with a chance to be an edge as run blocker. He’ll start the year at age 36, which invites more downside.
C Rodney Hudson
Hudson was one of the top pass-blocking centers over the last five seasons. He signed a nice contract in 2015 ($44.5 for five seasons). Rodney continues to be a league average run blocker.
RG Gabe Jackson
Jackson played at a high level in 2015 and 2016 before seeing his game fall to the lowest level of his career in 2017. Last season Gabe rebound slightly in run blocking while remaining an asset in pass protection. The Raiders drafted him in the third round in 2014.
RT Kolten Miller
Miller started all 16 games last year. Oakland selected him 15th overall in 2017. Miller has foot speed and quickness to help improve the run game. He may struggle with power rushers on the outside, but the switch to right tackle should help his learning curve in the NFL. In his rookie season, Kolten was a liability in all areas highlighted by 16 sacks allowed. Lots of work to be done here along with a switch to right tackle.
O-Line Fantasy Impact
Oakland has to start Brown at left tackle to help alleviate the damage in sacks to Derek Carr’s blindside. This move helps the Raiders at two positions while having above-average talent at the other three spots on the offensive line. The Raider should be improved in all areas of offense in 2019, and I expect their line to rank above the league average.
The above data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing touchdowns (TDS).
This information is based on 2018, which will work as our starting point for 2019. We’ll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We’ll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.
- LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2018.
- Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL.
- Adjustment is based on the 2018 league average and the 2018 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat category and the basis for the strength of schedule.
Oakland faces two teams (CHI and HOU) that played well defending the run in 2018. Their best success running the ball will come in three contests (CIN and KC x 2) with no matchup ranking as an elite.
Their pass schedule looks to be league average. Oakland will have an edge passing the ball in five games (HOU, NYJ, CIN, and KC). Their risk passing the ball will come against Minnesota and Jacksonville plus three mid-tier matchups (CHI, DET, TEN, and LAC X 2).
Game score led to the Raiders passing the ball 59 percent of the time. The addition of Antonio Brown will help the passing game. Oakland would like to run a ball controlled offense with success running the ball in the red zone.
Over five seasons in the NFL, Carr has a 32-46 record while gaining only 6.7 yards per pass attempt. After two steady seasons (3,987/32 and 3,937/28), Carr had regression in his game in 2017. He finished with 3,496 passing yards with 22 TDs and 13 Ints. A back issue early in the year led to a decline in production. Last year Derek set career highs in completions (381), completion rate (68.9), and passing yards (4,049). The downside from 2018 was 52 sacks allowed. He minimized the damage in Ints (10) while struggling to throw TDs (19). Carr passed for over 300 yards in four contests while adding three TDs or more in only three games. This season Oakland has one elite WR in Antonio Brown and one potential speed threat in Tyrell Williams. They have pass-catching weakness at TE while needing someone to emerge as the WR3. Only a QB2 in the Fantasy market with a chance at 4,000+ yards and league average value in TDs.
Other Options: Mike Glennon, Nathan Peterman
Jacobs Scouting Report
His resume won’t be a friend to Jacobs heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, but his talent does shine through when given an opportunity. Over his 40 games at Alabama as a part-time player, Josh rushed for 1,491 yards on 251 carries with 16 TDs plus looked the part of an upside player in the passing game (48/571/5). He runs with patience, vision, and power while lacking the finishing speed to top off a long run for a TD. His lateral movements come with his eyes looking for daylight at the second level of the defense.
Once Jacobs turns upfield, he can burst through holes while finishing his runs with vigor. His hands grade well in the receiving game. His questions coming into 2019 will be his pass protection skills and route running. Josh has the size and attitude to handle himself in pass blocking with some coaching and in-game experience. His path reminds me of Kenyan Drake.
Jacobs 2019 Outlook
I don’t expect Jacobs to a be an every-down back in his first season while also understanding his landing spot in the NFL draft will determine his early career opportunity. When combining pass-catching with goal-line TDs, his game should be more than viable as an upside RB2 in 2019 in the Fantasy market.
Last year the Raiders' RBs gained 2,360 combined yards with nine TDs, and 106 catches with 466 touches. Jacobs is the dynamic back who should be rewarded with the bulk of the chances. I'll set the bar at 225 rushes and 40+ catches, which points to 1,200+ yards and a chance at double-digit TDs.
Update 8/15/2009: In May, I came away for my research on Josh Jacobs with a neutral feeling while waiting to see his draft value in the high-stakes market. He’s settled into an option on the 3/4 turn at the back end of 12-team leagues. Oakland left him on the sidelines in the first preseason game, which led to no real movement in either direction in drafts. His back story to the NFL piqued my interest, which leads me to believe in him more out of the gate. I expect him to be used a three-down player, but the Raiders won’t bury him in touches in his rookie season. His latest projections at Fulltime Fantasy give him a chance at 1,300+ yards with eight TDs and over 40 catches leading to the 21st ranking at RB in PPR leagues.
The Raiders predominantly use Richard as their pass-catching back with the most value in third downs. Jalen set career highs in catches (68) and receiving yards (607) while continuing to run the ball well (4.7 yards per catch). He finished with 866 combined yards with one TD while averaging 7.7 touches per game. His role will continue to offer value in the passing game, but he only works as backend option at RB in PPR leagues. I’ll lower my expectations to 100 touches for 700+ yards with about 50 catches. Only an RB5 with a minimal chance at earning a starting job.
At times in 2018, Martin flashed his upside of yesteryear. In his final two games last season, he rushed for 100 yards or more in each contest (21/107/1 and 21/100). Over a six-game stretch midseason, Doug gained 447 combined yards with two TDs and 12 catches while receiving 15 touches per game. He finished the year with 839 combined yards with four TDs and 18 catches. A veteran back who projects as the top backup runner on early downs.
Other Options: DeAndre Washington, Chris Warren, Isaiah Crowell
Over the previous six seasons, Brown caught 686 of his 1,026 targets for 9,145 yards and 67 receiving TDs while missing four games. His success breaks down to 21.8 Fantasy points per game. Antonio caught over 100 passes in six straight seasons with seven years over 1,100 yards receiving. He scored a career-high 15 TDs in 2018. His catch rate fell below his career average (65.6) in each of the last two years (62.0 and 61.9). The change to Oakland leaves Fantasy owners questioning his value going forward. In 2018, the Raiders completed 183 passes to the WR position for 2,116 yards and nine TDs on 267 targets. Brown is a great WR, and I expect him to improve the Raiders’ passing game. A conservative outlook would be 90+ catches for 1,100+ yards and double-digit TDs.
Update 8/15/2009: There has been tons of drama surrounding Antonio Brown due to his foot issues and his fight with the NFL about his helmet. In the latest interview, both problems seem to be simmering down. Brown will be limited in his running over the rest of the summer to allow his feet to heel. He’s working with the NFL to solve his headgear while showing a willingness to work on moving forward if he can’t find a more recent version of his desired helmet. I’m confident that he’ll play well this year, but I won’t dismiss a fade in draft value if his issues with his feet don’t move in the right direction as quickly as expected.
The last two seasons have been disappointing for Williams after showcasing upside in 2016 (69/1059/7). He made 25 starts over 32 games in 2017 and 2018, which led to similar seasons (43/728/4 and 41/653/5). His catch rate has risen in back-to-back years (58.0, 62.3, and 63.1) while offering plenty of length on his catches in the NFL (16.3 yards). There’s more here than meets the eye while expecting a rebound in his targets in 2019. Start the bidding at 55+ catches with 800+ yards and mid-tier TDs.
Over four seasons at Clemson, Renfrow caught 186 passes for 2,133 yards and 15 TDs. His best season came in his junior year (60/602/3) while scoring 11 of his TDs in 2015 and 2016. Hunter has upside as possession type WR, but he needs to get stronger to handle the harder-hitting NFL. I expect him to emerge as the third WR for Oakland while being a tough start in the Fantasy world.
In 2017 with the Redskins, Grant flashed WR3 value at times. He finished with 45 catches for 573 yards and four TDs with seven starts. A move to Indy should have been positive with Andrew Luck behind center. Ryan only caught 35 balls for 334 yards and one TDs while gaining only 9.5 yards per catch. At age 29, it’s tough to believe in Grant being a viable Fantasy option at any level.
Other Options: J.J. Nelson, Marcell Ateman, Dwayne Harris, Keon Hatcher, Keelan Doss
Over six years in the NFL, Willson has never been a starting TE. Luke caught 22 passes or less in each year with his best success coming in 2014 (22/362/3 on 40 targets. Last year Oakland had a top passing catching TE, which led to 92 catches for 1,113 yards and ten TDs on 131 targets. There is a massive void at TE for the Raiders in 2019, and Willson has no chance of making an impact even as a low-grade TE2.
In his final two seasons at LSU, Moreau caught 46 combined passes for 550 yards and five TDs. His game projects as blocking TE with the most help in the run game. Low upside player, but he may be the best the Raiders have at TE in 2019.
Darren Waller (Added 8/15/2019)
Darren Waller has been getting over drafted over the summer by Fantasy owners after getting some positive reports out of the Raiders’ training camp in July. The Ravens drafted him in the sixth round in 2015 after a minimal career at Georgia Tech (51 catches for 971 yards and nine TDs) over three seasons. He spent two years with Baltimore as a backup (2015 – 2/18 and 2016 – 10/85/2) before finding his way to Oakland last season (6/75). The Raiders threw a ton of balls to Jared Cook in 2018, but that doesn’t mean they will force targets to weak TE options this season. Waller also has a strike in August due to a shoulder injury. Complete trap for me, and I won’t be sucked into drafting him in 2019.
Other Options: Erik Swoope, Derek Carrier, Paul Butler
After the Vikings drafted Carlson in the fifth round in 2018, they cut him after missing three field goals in Week 2. In college, he made all 198 of his extra points with 92 of 114 kicks going through the uprights. Oakland picked him up before the seventh game of the season. Daniel finished the year with 16 made field goals in 17 chances with the Raiders while making all 24 of his extra points. He even made all three of his kicks over 50 yards. Last year Oakland scored only 30 TDs while creating 32 field goal chances. I like his leg and potential upside, but he needs this offense to show growth before developing into a week-to-week starter.
Oakland Raiders Defensive Schedule
The Raiders face nine teams that ranked below league average rushing the ball in 2018. Their toughest matchups look to be against Houston and Tennessee with both teams gaining some value in the run game by their quarterback. LA will have the most significant edge for their run defense vs. the Steelers, the Vikings, and the Raiders (2).
Oakland has five matchups (IND, PIT, GB, and KC x 2) vs. teams with success passing the ball last year. They also have four contests (MIA, TEN, JAX, and CHI) against opponents that rank poorly in the passing game. Their pass schedule overall is below average.
Oakland Raiders Defense
Oakland slipped to 30th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (2,249) with 16 TDs and seven runs over 40 yards. Ball carriers gained 4.7 yards per rush with 30.0 attempts per game.
The Raiders improved to 19th in passing yards allowed (3,853) with 36 TDs. Their defense had 14 Ints with only 13 sacks. Oakland needs more playmakers in pass coverage while improving their pass rush.
DT Maurice Hurst graded well in run support while picking up four sacks and three defended passes as a part-time player in his rookie season. The new Raiders coaching staff focused on quickness and power on the interior of their line in this year’s draft. Hurst has a great first step, which helps his disrupter value against the run and pass run. His upper body needs to get stronger to help finish his attacks. Maurice has a high motor, but he needs to improve his vision when engaged at the point of contact.
DT Johnathan Hankins lost his way in the pass rush while helping as a run defender. His tackling skills regressed last year.
DE Arden Key struggled in all areas in his rookie season after starting ten games. Key projects a rotational pass rusher with his best asset coming in his ability to beat blockers after the snap. He has a quick first step that can offer an edge. Arden has risk vs. the run and commitment to the game. Key needs to stay in top shape while improving his motor and pass rushing technique.
DE Clelin Ferrell should move right into the starting lineup in his first season in the NFL. Ferrell has upside as a pass rusher while holding his ground in the run game.
Brandon Marshall had over 100 tackles in three of his previous five seasons for the Broncos while offering minimal value in the pass rush. Last season he regressed in all areas while missing five games due to a knee injury.
Vontaze Burfict was a stud early in his career, but health and suspensions have kicked his game down a notch while still being a dirty player.
In his second year in the NFL, Marquel Lee set a career-high in tackles (68) while offering no value so far in his career in the pass rush. Marquel will be an asset in run support.
CB Gareon Conley missed 14 games in 2017 with a shin injury that required surgery after the Raiders drafted him in the first round. Conley has the skill set to be a run and chase corner with enough speed to recover from a mistake while holding his own in press coverage even with a need for more strength. Gareon seems indecisive when playing off the line of scrimmage when faced with decisions on routes and coverage. His game projects more like a coverage cover due to his weakness in run support and aggression off blocks. Last year he held receivers to low yards per catch with 15 defended passes and three Ints.
CB Daryl Worley struggled in pass coverage again last year while missing time with a shoulder injury. In his rookie season, he projected to be a neutral defender in pass coverage.
The Raiders added multiple players to help improve the cornerback position, which requires a rebound in the pass rush.
S Karl Joseph is a former first-round draft pick (2016). Joseph was a neutral player in his first year in the NFL while showing growth against the run in 2017. Last season he had growth after starting the year as a backup while missing three games.
Rookie Johnathan Abram should find his way into the starting lineup in some way early in 2019. He’ll improve the run defense while still needing to improve in pass coverage.
This defense does have some first-round talent and youth on its side, but there are too many holes to fix in one draft season. The pass rush can’t help but improve while some of the band-aids may surprise in coverage. Moving in the right direction, but they would be tough to trust as Fantasy defense this year.