Fantasy football owners: Trying to draft some gems so you can run your league this year? You've come to right place.
The Raiders have plenty of talent that will fly off fantasy draft boards, including Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs and Derek Carr. But you already know those guys are going to produce. So which under-the-radar players will help you shock your league? You've got options, Raider Nation.
I've complied a few good options to stash for your fantasy team this season that could be in line for a breakout year.
- ESPN Fantasy Football RB Ranking: 35
- ESPN 2020 Fantasy Points: 167.2
- ESPN 2021 Projected Fantasy Points: 120.96
Many fantasy football owners have worries about Kenyan Drake's production due to the fact he's not technically the A1 option in the Raiders' running back room. Those responsibilities are currently delegated to Josh Jacobs, who is ranked 18 spots above Drake in ESPN's projections and should be in line for another productive season. However, I still wouldn't be nervous about drafting Drake late. The versatility he brings makes him a Swiss Army knife in this offense.
If the Raiders want to keep Jacobs fresh throughout the season — he was third in the league in carries last season — Drake could come and get good yards to alleviate Jacobs' workload, as well as be a key piece of the passing game. Throughout Training Camp, Drake lined up out wide on occasion and is one of the best pound-for-pound best route runners on the team.
Drake had his best career statistical season last year with the Arizona Cardinals with 955 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. While those numbers might not be as high as they were last year, I believe his role in this offense will give him ample opportunities to outperform his projected 120 fantasy points for this season, and his pass-catching ability makes him even more dangerous in PPR-format leagues, giving him top 10 fantasy running back potential in those leagues.
- ESPN Fantasy Football WR Ranking: 68
- ESPN 2020 Fantasy Points: 25.3 points
- ESPN 2021 Projected Fantasy Points 91.44 points
Considering Bryan Edwards may once again be a starting wideout entering the regular season, he's not getting much love in fantasy football. Both he and Henry Ruggs III are flying under the radar due to their relatively quiet rookie seasons, but Edwards would be considered more of a sleeper than his draft classmate with Ruggs being rostered in 79.3 percent of leagues and Edwards in just 13.7 percent.
Edwards gave a glimpse of what he's capable of in the last game of the 2020 season, hauling in 51 yards and a touchdown against the Denver Broncos. He also averaged 17.5 yards per catch last season. After not having a Training Camp and dealing with the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was evident that 2020 draft picks were fighting uphill battles. This offseason, Edwards has shown on the field that he's making that leap to being a top receiver on the team. He took a lot of time to physically and mentally prepare for the 2021 season and has become a constant red zone threat through Training Camp, next to Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller.
If Edwards stays healthy, there's no doubt he will have a productive season. The 6-foot-3 receiver is one of the more physically athletic and dominant players in this Raiders offense. It wouldn't surprise me if Edwards ends the season as a top 2-3 pass catcher for the Raiders in touchdowns and receptions.
- ESPN Fantasy Football TE Ranking: 54
- ESPN 2020 Fantasy Points: 26 points
- ESPN 2021 Projected Fantasy Points: 25.9 points
Foster Moreau's track record proves he's due for a touchdown at any time.
In Moreau's rookie season, he caught five touchdowns in 13 games. Now fully healthy and with Jason Witten's tutelage and subsequent retirement, Moreau is in line to have a much bigger season in 2021. Of course, Waller is the starting tight end and will handle a large majority of the pass-catching workload, but Moreau has played largely above his fantasy value throughout the offseason and has a good rapport with Derek Carr.
Going into his third season, the tight end is projected for nearly 26 points in fantasy, and honestly, the way he's looked this offseason, he could have 26 fantasy points before the Raiders' Week 8 bye. I would consider Moreau a great tight end to draft in later rounds, especially in deeper 14-team leagues. He's is the true definition of being "slept on" in fantasy, as he's only currently rostered on 0.2 percent of rosters on ESPN. Better go get him before it's too late.
- ESPN Fantasy Football D/ST Ranking: 30
- ESPN 2020 Fantasy Points: 9
- ESPN 2021 Projected Fantasy Points: 59.61
Yes, you read this correctly: Don't sleep on this year's Raiders defense.
The Raiders are projected by ESPN to be the 30th best fantasy football defense this season, as only one other team scored less fantasy points than the Raiders last year. But if you closely look at all the changes the Raiders defense have made this offseason, it may be irresponsible to project them this low.
For starters, they finally have a healthy combination of veteran leadership, rising star players and young developing players who mesh well. The Silver and Black gave a glimpse of how stout their new-look defense will be in their two preseason victories against the Seahawks and the Rams, and arguably the biggest addition to the Raiders was defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who has done a great job of bringing in a streamlined defense that makes it easier for his players to fly around and create turnovers.
As for special teams, the Raiders have one of the fastest men in the league in Henry Ruggs III. If he's leveraged as a return specialist and can get some blocks downfield, he could very well get a few touchdowns for the Silver and Black. Yes, once again I understand the reservation of picking up the Raiders defense, but this year just looks a little different to me. Yannick Ngakoue, Maxx Crosby, K.J. Wright, Trayvon Mullen Jr. and rookie Tre’von Moehrig could very well turn this defense into a mid-tier fantasy football defense. If you don't want to take a late round pick on them, wait until the fruits of their labor start to pay off during the season and pick them up in free agency.
The Raiders return to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center as they gear up for their primetime matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.