|By Shawn Larabee, Wednesday, August 28, 2013|
QB Matt Flynn - Gamble (high risk)
Flynn was brought in to Seattle last season as the presumptive starter, but was upstaged by Russell Wilson. Wilson's otherworldly play made Flynn (and his large contract) expendable. The Raiders were quick to pounce and now have Flynn slotted in as their starter, though he'll once again face competition. We don't yet have a clear picture of Flynn's NFL capability, and the fact he will be playing in Oakland's weak offense makes him far from a sure pick in fantasy drafts.
QB Terrelle Pryor - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Don't discount Terrelle Pryor making an appearance under center at some point this season. Honestly, he may be the best playmaker of the three quarterbacks on the roster. There was some doubt he'd even play quarterback at this level, with suggestions that a switch to wide receiver or tight end made more sense. He ran his 40 in under 4.4 seconds, hard to believe for a 6'4"-man weighing who weighs more than 230 pounds. The last pick of Al Davis's eons-long tenure as Raiders owners, Prior has worked hard this offseason to rebuild his throwing motion and unlock his upper body to improve his accuracy. He has flashed well and showed promise in the preseason -- both through the air and on the ground. Could be a sleeper in the Oakland offense, since, well, they're likely to be behind in most games.
RB Darren McFadden - Solid/Safe Pick
A change in offensive coordinator will mercifully move McFadden away from the zone blocking scheme that hamstrung his production in 2012. After averaging just under 59 yards per game in Greg Knapp's scheme, he'll be looking forward to more north-south running under new OC Greg Olson. His numbers will improve, but he likely won't make the leap to elite status until Oakland shores up its offensive line.
RB Marcel Reece - Bye Week Fill-in
Reece was a quiet PPR star last season. The sometimes fullback caught 52 passes for nearly 500 yards while chipping in 4.6 yards per carry on the ground. He's certainly done enough to earn a role this season and may take over third down duties from McFadden.
RB Rashad Jennings - Deep-league Only
Jennings famously crapped out in Jacksonville after being handed the starter's job during Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout. He'll wear last season's 2.8 yards per carry average like an albatross around his neck and likely won't see extended action.
WR Denarius Moore - Sleeper (undervalued)
Moore caught 51 balls last year and 30 the year before. Those are solid numbers for any second year wide receiver, especially considering he wasn't the clear cut #1 in the offense, sharing time with new Colts WR Darius Heyward Bey. Is it time for a breakout season 3? Could happen, but don't count on it. Ongoing instability at QB and on the offensive line will make it tough for Moore to complete the leap to fantasy stardom. We like him, we just wish he had a better quarterback throwing him the ball. Don't discount appearances by as many as three different starting quarterbacks this season as Oakland tries to find a way to win games.
WR Rod Streater - Bye Week Fill-in
Streater was a serviceable fill-in as a rookie and should get the chance to show what he can do as a starter in his second season. The off-season release of Darius Heyward-Bey leaves a vacancy opposite Denarius Moore.
WR Jacoby Ford - Bye Week Fill-in
Ford has missed a year and a half with foot problems. If he's fully recovered from surgery to start this season, he could be a sometimes explosive weapon out of the slot. Like all Raiders receivers, he'll have trouble posting good numbers for a bad offense.
WR Josh Cribbs - Deep-league Only
Except in 2011, Cribbs has generally not been a factor in the passing game. He may get more run at wideout with the Raiders, but his real value is as a kick and punt returner, where he has scored 11 career touchdowns (compared to just seven TD receptions). Worth a flyer in leagues that count return stats.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
TE David Ausberry - Not Draft Worthy
No other TE on the roster is much of a threat in the passing game. However, Ausberry's lack of blocking ability means he likely won't be on the field enough to be a fantasy asset, even in deep leagues.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
PK Sebastian Janikowski - Stud (low risk)
Janikowski connected on a career-high 91 per cent of his field goal attempts last season and didn't miss at all from inside the 50-yard line. Though strong-legged and reliable, his scoring could be limited by Oakland's middling offense.
Oakland Defense - Deep-league Only
It will take more than the return of 37-year-old Charles Woodson to shore up this leaky defense. Oakland's D may have occasional value as a spot play but likely won't be worth drafting in standard fantasy leagues.