The NFL regular season is only weeks away, and the anticipation is, as usual, through the roof. But what would an NFL season be without one of the biggest sports phenomena in recent memory – the addictive and competitive “fantasy football.”
Fantasy football attracts roughly 40 million players each year on average. The high stakes game has changed the way the sport is viewed. With bragging rights on the line and such high stakes – and more importantly, high pay – it seems that football fans’ loyalty to their favorite teams and players is routinely being tested.
So how would a Las Vegas Raiders fan go about drafting their favorite players, albeit still being loyal to their team? This is a dilemma all fans face as the clock is upon them with each draft. Taking a player on their favorite team can usually lead to their own demise.
Well we are here to tell you that there’s a remedy as a Raider fan for this year’s fantasy draft. There are indeed some players that should not only be targeted among Raider fans, but fantasy players in general, and still be able to compete for the crown of fantasy champion.
The Raiders may have had some issues in 2020, but one area the Raiders did excel in was offense. The star of the Raider offense was also its fantasy star, TE Darren Waller. The 28-year-old Waller may technically be a tight end, but when looking at his staggering 2020 numbers, it would suggest he is the focal point of the offense. His ability to not only provide receptions, yards, and touchdowns makes Waller a fantasy must-have, and should be drafted early. He may not have the tagline of a WR, but with his output, should be targeted as one.
One of the most, if not most desirable position in fantasy football is running back. This is a tricky one this year for the Raiders (at least in fantasy). The Raiders bell cow back is certainly Josh Jacobs, but after a somewhat disappointing 2020 season where Jacobs only averaged 3.9 yards per carry, the Raiders brought in former Arizona Cardinal running back Kenyan Drake to ease some of the pressure off Jacobs.
Jacobs, a third-year back, is the power runner and will surely be used in red zone situations. So although his value has diminished from a season ago with the arrival of Drake, he should still be targeted in fantasy drafts. Just do not draft the back too high this season as he will surely lose carries to Drake.
The franchise lost their top wide receiver Nelson Agholor via free agency to the New England Patriots. The Raiders currently may seem hard pressed to replace his production, as the Raider depth chart has two second-year players penciled in as starters at the position.
Henry Ruggs, the Raiders first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, may be number one receiver for the Raiders. After a somewhat lackluster first season, the jury is still out on if the speedster’s talent will translate to the NFL level. He has bulked up, and from a physical standpoint, looks much more prepared to take on a larger role within the Raider offense.
Bryan Edwards is a blend of size, speed and athleticism that have many believing the former third-round pick may even have more talent than Ruggs. However, Edwards missed a huge chunk of the 2020 season due to injury, which was indeed why Edwards fell so far in last year’s NFL Draft after dealing with injuries in college. If Edwards can stay healthy, he has superstar potential and can be a fantasy sleeper.
So the question is which receiver should you target for your fantasy team? Well, the answer is both. However, do not take either very high in your draft, keep an eye on both in the middle to late rounds. They both have true sleeper potential in fantasy this season. Their production is a roll of the dice at this point, as the only guaranteed player to catch a significant amount of passes from quarterback Derek Carr is Darren Waller.
So in a nutshell as a Raider fan, if you want to have any chance of winning in your fantasy draft, while still being loyal to your team, is to draft Waller high, take Jacobs in the middle rounds and Drake later rounds, select Ruggs in the middle to late rounds if he is available and take a flier on Edwards in the later rounds. Also a name to watch in the later rounds is receiver Hunter Renfrow. His play in the slot should make him a valuable piece to add in later rounds.
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