Read all the AFC West previews:
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- San Diego Chargers
The Oakland Raiders are a team I'm very excited about in 2016.
The Raiders have a lot of young talent that I really want to draft, especially in dynasty and keeper leagues. The team went out and fortified their offensive line and made their defense better. The AFC West better be ready for the Las Vegas...I mean the Oakland Raiders.
With a nucleus of Derek Carr, Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper, Clive Wafford, and DeAndre Washington, the silver and black have no shortage of young guys that can make an impact in 2016. This may sound crazy today, but everyone will agree with me by the end of the season.
Derek Carr (QB) - 4000 yards, 32 TDs, 12 INTs.
Carr is a player I'm targeting in almost every draft. Even if I get Rodgers early or if Brees falls to me, I'm still taking Carr. If Carr takes the leap that I believe he will make, I will be able to trade him or my other starter for value. I'm not drafting Carr to trade but, rather, to blow up and be a must-start. He was just shy of 4000 yards last season, so I expect him to hit that mark in 2016. Carr will be on most of my redraft teams, and I'm trying to get him in all of my dynasty leagues.
Latavius Murray (RB) - 1100 yards, 7 TDs, 35 catches, 1 TD.
There are a lot of differing opinions on Murray, mine is simply that he's good, not great. If you're able to take him as your first running back, and you're drafting with a zero RB strategy, you're going to like your team a little better than if you start with one of the pass catching backs. Murray is a steady RB2 that could end as an RB1 if there's the massacre there was last season at the running back position. Murray isn't exciting, but he should be consistent all season.
Amari Cooper (WR) - 85 catches, 1200 yards, 9 TDs.
I was talking to a buddy of mine the other day about the top-three wide receivers in the NFL. Of course, we came to the easy conclusion that it was Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham. If we have that same conversation in 2018, I expect that Cooper to be part of that conversation. After a fantastic rookie campaign, Cooper has no where to go but up. Draft him where you can and expect nothing but the best from Cooper in 2016.
Michael Crabtree (WR) - 70 catches, 850 yards, 6 TDs.
I won't own Crabtree on any of my teams this year. I see where Crabtree can have production, but with Cooper becoming the focal point of the passing game and all of the other young talent on the Raiders, Crabtree will be a touchdown-dependent WR2. Crabtree has more value to the Raiders than he will to your fantasy team. He seems like a perfect "All-Vanilla-Team" candidate.
Sleeper - DeAndre Washington (RB).
With the improved offensive line, the Raiders not trusting Murray in all situations, and Washington's explosion, Washington could be special. He will start as the passing-down back and could add more snaps as the season go along. Draft him as a handcuff but know that he could be much more than that.
Bust - Michael Crabtree (WR).
I mentioned that Crabtree will have a down year in 2016 because of all the talent in this offense. He did lead the team in targets and catches in 2015, but you can't expect him to do that again in 2016.
Draft Crabtree as an insurance policy late, otherwise you'll be disappointed.
The Raiders are on the rise. Don't be afraid to draft their skill players. They won't disappoint.