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Las Vegas Raiders 2021 Fantasy Football Preview

Expectations might be low for the Raiders, but there is talent to be found on this team. Here's a breakdown of the roster for fantasy this season.

It has been a long time since the Super Bowl, and remembering exactly how things left off last year can be a challenge. So, I’ll be writing up a fantasy preview for each NFL team to give us a quick refresher on what happened last year, and what changes took place in the offseason. All fantasy stats will be in ESPN scoring format unless otherwise noted. 

If I missed any change or left out any big notes, throw them down in the comments for me!

What Did They Do Last Year

The Las Vegas Raiders went 8-8 last year, and no record could have better reflected the team’s persona better. 

While the coaching staff, front office, and quarterback are all coming back for another go at it, the Raiders made a lot of moves that may have big fantasy implications. Las Vegas hit the reset button on what was once one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. Nelson Agholor left as a free agent, signing with the New England Patriots. In one of the more baffling moves of the offseason, the Raiders signed Kenyan Drake.

Quarterback
OVR
Rank
PlayerGCOMPATTYDSTDINTATTYDSTDFFPFFP/G
13Derek Carr163485174,103279391403272.117
47Marcus Mariota1172822611988125.825.8
72Nathan Peterman13525001901.91.9

Derek Carr had another serviceable but unimpressive year at the helm for the Raiders. The Raiders have been front and center (well, second from the front and maybe a little left) in the trade rumors for Aaron Rodgers (per Matt Hladik), but as proclaimed by this author, Rodgers will be staying in Green Bay.

Carr lost his leading receiver in Nelson Agholor, and while that is a negative, the loss could be made up by second-year, first-round receiver Henry Ruggs taking a step forward. The Raiders also added speedster John Brown, and my love for John Brown will never die. 

In fantasy terms, though, outside of 2-QB leagues, Carr only has weekly streamer value. In 2-QB leagues, he’s a serviceable-to-higher-end No. 2. Carr is ranked our QB25 for 2021.

Wide Receivers
PPR
Rank
STD RankPlayerGTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
3321Nelson Agholor1682488968137.68.6185.611.6
5763Hunter Renfrow167656656275.64.7131.68.23
9287Henry Ruggs III134326452258.14.584.16.47
131127Bryan Edwards91511193125.32.836.34.03
132131Zay Jones111914154121.41.935.43.22
218218Rico Gafford220000000

All the big wide receiver moves were mentioned earlier, so we’ll get down to fantasy thoughts here. 

Taking a shot on the absolutely free ‘relief valve route running’ Hunter Renfrow (currently not listed on Fantasy Football Calculator ADP) may pay dividends in your PPR leagues as Derek Carr has never been a big fan of hanging in a muddy pocket. 

After a lack-luster rookie campaign, Henry Ruggs III has been left for dead, currently the WR57, going at the end of round 12. This is an obvious buy. Our staff has Ruggs ranked WR43 this year, but I have him as my WR36.

Running Backs
PPR RankSTD RankPlayerGATTYDSTDTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
88Josh Jacobs152731,0651245332380198.313.2231.315.42
5655Devontae Booker15934233211784068.74.685.75.71
7981Jalen Richard122212312319138032.12.751.14.26
95100Alec Ingold113401712110117.41.629.42.67
128131Theo Riddick46140654305.71.410.72.68

Josh Jacobs again outperformed expectations in 2020, proving to be a must-start in about every game he played in. Despite finishing as the RB8 playing in 15 games, he’s currently sporting an ADP of 2.12, RB14.

This would be an obvious buy if I had any faith in the Raiders coaching staff playing their uber-talented first-round draft pick over newly acquired (and not exactly good) weapon in Kenyan Drake. I have Jacobs ranked even lower than his ADP, going as my RB19 this year in .5PPR.

Tight End
PPR
Rank
STD RankPlayerGTGTRECYDSTDSTD PTSSTD PTS/GPPR PTSPPR PTS/G
22Darren Waller161461071,1969169.610.6276.617.29
6055Foster Moreau7971402263.7334.71
6161Jason Witten10171369218.91.931.93.19
104103Derek Carrier1111401.41.42.42.4

Perhaps the man with the most to gain for fantasy-nerd purposes is Darren Waller. Already a perennial stud at a position more top heavy than Dolly Parton, there may be even more work available for Waller in 2021. 

Waller is easily worth a middle of the second-round redraft pick, and he should be the second tight end off the board in every draft.

2021 Draft

The only pick of note for fantasy purposes is the first rounder, pick No. 17 overall, tackle Alex Leatherwood out of Alabama. While many proclaimed Leatherwood was another blunderous Raiders reach, he seems to be off to a good start in OTAs, per Bill Williamson. Raiders fans better light a candle for this one, they’ll need some help in the O-line this year. 

The Schedule

One big reason for pessimism in Las Vegas will be their schedule for 2021. Warren Sharp does amazing work over at SharpFootballAnalysis.com, and his strength of schedule by projected Vegas win totals has the Raiders with the third hardest schedule

Additional Notes

I just want to reiterate that leaving Henry Ruggs for dead on a team with a decent QB and no other receiving options seems like a bad idea. 

What Does It All Mean?!?! (AKA – Bold predictions)

With such low expectations for the Raiders, there are fantasy bargains to be had. Waller, Jacobs, and Ruggs are solid buys even if the team will likely have a nice, high draft pick in 2022.

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Thanks to FFToday.com for hosting such great stats info!

Thanks to TheHuddle.com for their great Coaching Change Tracker