Team Preview: Las Vegas Raiders
Ok, we are back to wrapping up the 32-Team Previews. Today we move on to The City That Never Sleeps. No, not New York, Las Vegas.
Las Vegas scored the 10th most points in 2020 while throwing for the 7th most passing yards. They were 14th in rushing yards on their way to an 8-8 record. Vegas has no love for their home team, giving them a mere 6.5 projected win total. Ouch!
Derek Carr: There is probably no QB who gets more fiercely defended in my rankings than Carr, and I'm not sure why. He was fine last season finishing as the QB13, but he was hardly an every-week start. His 17 points per game ranked 19th. Going into 2021, I don't think Carr needs to be drafted in most leagues. He finished ahead of QBs like Burrow, Fitzpatrick, Stafford, Mayfield, Wentz, Tua, Dak, and Hurts who I like much better than him this season. Not to mention the plethora of rookie QBs entering the 2021 season. When you look at it that way, it's easy to see why Carr should be left on the waiver wire.
Josh Jacobs: No RB took a bigger fantasy hit during Free Agency than Josh Jacobs. The RB8 from last season averaged the 6th most chances per game. Say goodbye to that. With Kenyan Drake entering the backfield, this is officially a split committee. Maybe not a 50/50 split, but I don't see him coming close to his usage from last season. The Raiders didn't make Drake the 8th highest paid RB to be a 3rd down back. He's going to be used. Jacobs now goes from an RB1 to a mid-to-back-end RB2. Yikes!
Kenyan Drake: Drake's move to Sin City (Vegas has a lot of nicknames) didn't just hurt Jacobs' fantasy value, it hurt his own as well. The former lead back in Arizona now becomes the 1B to Jacobs in 2021. His total rushing attempts will likely fall by 50%. The RB16 from last season should be looked at as a mid-range RB3 at best in 2021.
Raiders WRs: This is not a very exciting group for fantasy and not one I'm looking to target in any of my drafts. John Brown and Henry Ruggs are similar style deep threat WRs who will be far behind Waller in the chain of targets and offer very little as far as every week consistency or upside. At best I see them as WR4-5's.
Darren Waller: Waller might be the best fantasy TE in the NFL right now. The only thing holding me back from ranking him above Kelce is not having Mahomes. He's a physical freak who just keeps getting better every year. His 9 targets per game only trailed Kelce. He ranked 29th in TD Dependency, meaning he's about as safe as it gets at the position. He's ahead of Kittle for me due to equal upside with less injury risk.