Daily Dr. Roto — August 28, 2018
Oakland Raiders Team Preview
Outlook: With the Raiders moving to Las Vegas soon, they decided to bring Jon Gruden back to the NFL as their head coach. Gruden has already put his stamp on the team by dumping WR Michael Crabtree and playing hardline in contract negotiations with Khalil Mack. The bigger question is whether Gruden himself is ready for a return to the NFL. I am betting against his success in 2018.
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QB: I remember going into last year thinking that Derek Carr was on the verge of becoming a top tier QB. Then, something happened where it looked like his confidence was shot and he only had three games of 300+ yards passing. Will Jon Gruden be able to get the most out of Carr? I am hopeful as reports state that Carr is familiar with Gruden's playbook and he is very comfortable in his offense. I am just not sure that he has the players around him to have a Pro Bowl-type season. I am predicting Carr to have 3500 passing yards and 24 TDs, making him not much more than my 22nd or 23rd QB.
RB: Marshawn Lynch is back to being Beast Mode, but something is telling me to stay away from him this season. I have a feeling that Gruden is going to end up rotating his running backs like the Eagles and Lynch will not get more than 200 carries. That said, Lynch should be right around 900 yards rushing and should be the goal line back for the team making him more valuable in standard leagues. Gruden brought in Doug Martin to compete for the job with Lynch, and I am convinced that Gruden will give him 140-150 carries. Martin is nowhere near the player he was back in 2015, but he is certainly better than the player we have seen the past two seasons. If Martin plays well at the start of the season, he could end up having a bigger role as the season moves forward. He makes for a very sneaky pick in Rounds 13-15.
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WR: Amari Cooper is Carr’s top target, and Gruden has made a point to say that Cooper must be featured in his offense. I have never doubted Cooper's route running abilities as much as I have questioned his ability to hold on to the football. Cooper seems to have some untimely drops that hurt the team in the red zone. Cooper is a likely third-round pick in most drafts, but I don't feel comfortable taking him there. He should be a lock for 75 catches for 1000+ yards and 7 TDs, but I am not sure there is much more than that in his skills set. To put his stamp on the team in the off-season, Gruden brought in Jordy Nelson from the Green Bay Packers and waived Michael Crabtree. I love the addition of Nelson, and although he may have lost a step over the years, I think he is capable of being a top target for Carr. I see Jordy as the perfect WR4 this year which I can take in most drafts right around Rounds 7-8. He might not catch as many passes as he did in the past, but I can see him finding the end zone about 6-8 times.
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TE: Jared Cook is now 31 years old and is still failing to meet expectations. Cook has tons of speed and should be better than he is but his work ethic is in question, and he tends to disappear in games. Perhaps Gruden can get more out of him this season? I am okay with taking Cook as my TE2 in deeper leagues, as he should have 45-50 catches.
K: Right now, Eddy Pineiro seems to have the inside track on the Raiders kicking spot, but he has been dealing with a groin injury. The team signed Mike Nugent to a contract, so expect Nugent to start with the team until Pineiro is ready to return.
D: Khalil Mack might be the best defensive player in the AFC, but the team has been unable to meet his recent contract demands. S Karl Joseph has flashed potential, but he needs to be more consistent. Outside of those two players, it’s best to avoid the Raiders defense.
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