QB Matt Schaub is primed for a comeback-player-of-the-year-type season. He is still a guy who has passed for more than 4,000 yards three times in his career, and a change of scenery from Houston could be the re-energizing boost the Raiders’ new quarterback needs. His physical gifts and experience give Oakland a seasoned QB similar to Carson Palmer but with more mobility and better talent around him. The running game, being a legitimate threat with Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden, will open up Schaub’s bread-and-butter play-action passing game, which he’s already flashed in camp.
It’s not a good idea to depend on Schaub or the Raiders’ passing game in general, but it’s feasible that he works his way into a QBBC/streaming role if he can regain his confidence after a brutal 2013 campaign. The Raiders have a decent group of receivers, including Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, James Jones and Denarius Moore.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 11:24pm
Raiders training camp has claimed its first casualty as tight end David Ausberry, listed at No. 1 on the depth chart, will undergo a “procedure” on an injured knee Wednesday and “he may be out for a little while,” according to coach Dennis Allen. There is no timetable for Ausberry's return, which vaults Mychal Rivera, who started three games last year as a rookie, into the starting role while giving opportunities to Brian Leonhardt and Nick Kasa.
The Raiders' TE position is not a hotbed for fantasy value, but Ausberry's injury is noteworthy nonetheless.
At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Raiders WR Andre Holmes is four inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than Denarius Moore. Over the last seven games of the 2013 season, Holmes 25 receptions for 431 yards - an average of 17.2 yards per catch - and had a touchdown.
HC Dennis Allen noted the trend toward larger receivers league-wide and said of Holmes, “Sometimes you get these big receivers and they don’t play big. Andre not only has the physical stature but he plays to that stature,’’ I think he’s going to be a real factor for us this year.’’
Holmes is now on the radar as a serious late-round sleeper. He performed well in starter’s snaps over the final six games of the 2013 season, averaging 4.0-66-.17 (WR3-type numbers) in that span.
If Raiders WR Denarius Moore's body language could talk, it would say a lot of bad things. Moore, listed behind Holmes and James Jones at one receiver, is also second at punt returner, behind rookie TJ Carrie. After flubbing one punt return, Moore dropped to the field and did pushups.
The writing appears to be on the wall for Moore and the Raiders. He has slid down the depth chart and doesn't seem to be turning things around. He's a player to watch if he lands in a new situation, but things aren't looking up in Oakland.
Monday, August 4, 2014, 5:52pm
Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew is in the top spot at tailback with Darren McFadden behind him, perhaps because the Raiders think his mix of inside running and help in all phases of the passing game makes him a better fit for the first team.
Monday, August 4, 2014, 5:51pm
Raiders WR Andre Holmes is listed as a starter at wide receiver along with last year’s leading receiver Rod Streater, relegating newly-signed WR James Jones to the second team ahead of the team’s first preseason game this week.
Holmes had a strong close to last year, catching 22 passes for 366 yards and a touchdown, and it would seem the Raiders want to see if he can keep it up this year.
This version of that now-familiar ballad comes back to the Colts' running back being more "comfortable" with the offense in his first offseason under offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.
"The comfort level is so much better now," Richardson said, per ESPN.com. "I know the plays and I'm not playing so tight. I'm really comfortable with the offense, and the timing with the offensive line is coming. I know all my cuts and reads before snap."
The running back recently returned from a hamstring tweak that kept him out of the beginning of training camp. The health and familiarity with the game plan have the Colts once again singing the praises of 2012's No. 3 overall pick. TRich has looked good so far in camp which means a bounce-back season could prove to be a huge value for an owner who drafts him. However, Richardson's stock is climbing. We have him ranked 31st on our RB list, but his ADP of the 6th round is higher than guys ranked around him like Lamar Miller, Maurice Jones-Drew and Pierre Thomas, who can be had in the seventh round or later.
Sunday, August 3, 2014, 8:59am
"I really looked in the mirror at myself," Rivera said Saturday after the Raiders completed a controlled scrimmage. "I knew I could do a lot better than I did last year, even though people were surprised at what I did. I have high expectations of myself."
In his second year out of Tennessee, Rivera has his sights on a won-loss record far better than 4-12, and significantly better statistics than 38 catches for 407 yards and four touchdowns.
One of the highlights Saturday was the sight of Rivera splitting a seam between veteran cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers and hauling in a pass inside the 5-yard line from second-string quarterback Derek Carr.
Rivera later caught a pass from Matt Schaub in the end zone.
Rivera is ranked just 35th on our list, we we think there are much better options in drafts, even in deeper leagues.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 8:48pm
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson touched on a wide range of subjects, but one of the things that stood out was his excitement over the performance of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who could be a feature component of the Raiders offense in 2014.
Olson spent the 2012 season as the quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jones-Drew played in only six games before injuring his foot against the Raiders in Oakland and was done for the season. Jones-Drew averaged only 3.4 yards per carry in 2013, looking nothing like the back who had a career-best 1,606 yards in 2011.
When asked about the shelf life of a running back and the amount of carries Jones-Drew has had at age 29, Olson said he didn’t know if the wear and tear was a factor.
“But I know this. When I was with the kid two years ago, and I’ve told him so I’m not saying anything I haven’t said to him, he held out through training camp. I didn’t even meet the kid. I didn’t meet him until the week before the first game,” Olson said. “His body (now is completely different. He was running the ball well that year, he got hurt after six games, but he was heavy and a little lethargic looking. He looks like a different player.”
When it was suggested the Raiders didn’t have a true big back other than second-year player Latavius Murray, Olson referenced Jones-Drew, the story said. And Olson went on to say the MJD plays like a big back because of his low center of gravity, and is difficult to tackle. It remains to be seen how MJD will be used with Darren McFadden. It's shaping up to be a committee but these comments would lead one to think MJD could get a little boost in value if his size is used at the goal line.
HC Chuck Pagano had this to say on Trent Richardson’s progression through camp: “No. 1, he’s healthy. I think some of the runs that you’re talking about you are starting to see the hard work, a full offseason, comfort with the scheme, terminology, being around the offensive guys, the guys that are lined up in front of him, and you are starting see (Richardson) put a foot in the ground, see a hole and burst through the line of scrimmage.”
Writer Kevin Bowen’s Analysis: We’ve seen Richardson full-go for the last three practices (two of them in full pads) and he looks like a guy the Colts need desperately in 2014. He had several “significant gains” during Saturday’s practice and is showing off some cuts that we didn’t see earlier this offseason. Pagano seemed very pleased with where Richardson is currently at, as camp reaches the halfway point. Richardson’s return has also allowed the Colts to lessen the load for Ahmad Bradshaw, which is nice for a veteran that has battled injuries throughout his career.
Richardson continues to get positive reviews in camp, and if the Colts can get anything out of him in 2014 it will create some balance with what should be a potent passing attack. Richardson ranks 31st on our list, but his ADP is the 6th round. Drafters seem to be taking a gamble here and if you want TRich, you likely will have to as well. We have Richardson ranked near guys like Lamar Miller, Pierre Thomas, Maurice Jones-Drew and Steven Jackson - and all of their ADPs are the 7th round or later.
Monday, July 28, 2014, 2:26pm
It’s worth mentioning the early returns have been positive on Raiders rookie second-round pick Derek Carr. He has tremendous arm strength, a quick release and good pocket feel. Look for the Raiders to run a lot of shotgun with him on the field. That’s where Carr’s most comfortable.
Author Tom Pelissero called Matt Schaub the unquestioned Week 1 starter at QB but liked what he's seen from Carr thus far.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 3:19pm
This year the Raiders are considering using running back Darren McFadden as the point man in the read option. McFadden filled the role at times at the University of Arkansas, and he ran some Wildcat early in his career with Oakland. The possibility of taking snaps directly from center excites him.
“I always tell people I really was supposed to be a quarterback, I just ended up being a running back,” McFadden said. “It’s always fun to me, being able to get back there behind center. It takes me back to my old roots. The first position I ever played was quarterback. It was my first love.”
Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden split reps at running back with the first-team offense. Although competing for the starting job, don’t expect to see a lot of them in the preseason. First off, each has a recent history of injuries, and the Raiders want to make sure they’re as close to 100 percent as possible entering the regular season. Secondly, the staff wants to get a look at youngsters Latavius Murray, a 2013 sixth-round pick who missed all of last season with a foot injury, and Kory Sheets, a star CFL performer who rushed for 2,875 yards and 23 touchdowns over the past two seasons with Saskatchewan.
MJD is far from a lock, but given his 8th/9th round price, there isn’t a whole lot of risk here. He’s a good bet to win the starting job in Oakland, and at 29-years-old, we’re not convinced that he’s over the hill. He averaged 4.8 YPC as recently as 2012 and doesn’t have the mileage of a typical 29-year-old back since he was a part-time player for his first three seasons in the league. Rashad Jennings had success down the stretch for the Raiders in 2013 and MJD played ahead of Jennings while in Jacksonville. DMC is the underdog in this race.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 10:54pm
MJD is far from a lock, but given his 8th/9th round price, there isn’t a whole lot of risk here. He’s a good bet to win the starting job in Oakland, and at 29-years-old, we’re not convinced that he’s over the hill. He averaged 4.8 YPC as recently as 2012 and doesn’t have the mileage of a typical 29-year-old back since he was a part-time player for his first three seasons in the league. Rashad Jennings had success down the stretch for the Raiders in 2013 and MJD played ahead of Jennings while in Jacksonville.
A big key is getting more production from the starting running back position.
Bradley said this week Gerhart is faster than the coaches saw on tape, which will allow him to break more long runs.
Toby Gerhart has touched the ball 15+ times in seven career games and has averaged low-end RB1 numbers (12.6 FP) with that type of workload. The former Heisman candidate will start for the Jaguars and should see a lot of work in that role. Gerhart has fantasy RB2 potential as a lead back. For a more in-depth look at Gerhart's potential production, click here.