Where you should draft Raiders skill players in fantasy football leagues

USATSI/NBC Sports Bay Area

Where you should draft Raiders skill players in fantasy football leagues

The "autumn wind" again is in the air. The NFL preseason is in full swing, and teams are preparing to play their third exhibition game. 

For Oakland Raiders fans, their team has been at the forefront of the national landscape as the organization is featured on the latest installment of HBO’s “Hard Knocks”. And as the preseason reached its midway point, fantasy football slowly crept back into the minds of the nearly 60 million Americans who play each season.

With some high-profile players suiting up for the Silver and Black in 2019, there might be a propensity for fans to reach on their favorite team’s stars. But I’m here to give you the lowdown on where you should realistically look if you really want to draft some Raiders on your squad.

Derek Carr

ADP: 182, No. 23 QB

There's a lot of pressure on the Raiders’ signal-caller. After the team’s worst season since Carr was drafted, he'll be hyper-focused on trying to earn the nine-figure contract he signed with the Silver and Black in 2017.

Carr was gifted two immense skill-position talents in the offseason, with the Raiders acquiring Antonio Brown via trade and selecting Josh Jacobs in the first round to be the team’s new workhorse running back. That comes after Carr surpassed 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his NFL career, and hit career highs in completion percentage and yards per attempt.

If the team leaves all the television drama in the past once the regular season hits, Carr could be a surprising value as a QB2. However, unless you are a die-hard Carr fan, I'd suggest looking elsewhere for a backup QB.

Josh Jacobs

ADP: 36, No. 20 RB

Jacobs was a five-star talent at Alabama, but he was part of an embarrassment of the Crimson Tide's riches at running back, and never logged more than 125 carries in a college season. Therefore, he comes into the NFL much fresher than many other rookie running backs, and likely will getake tting the significant majority of the carries for Oakland.

Jacobs made waves in his preseason debut, gaining 21 yards on just four carries. With a diminished Doug Martin and veteran backup Jalen Richard being the projected other members of the Raiders' backfield, Jacobs rarely will come out of games when the regular season starts.

I’ve seen the rookie go as high as the third round in some mock drafts, and I can only recommend that strategy if every single person in your draft is taking running backs early. However, there is a lot of potential for Jacobs to have a big season, and Raiders fans shouldn’t let him fall past the fifth round in standard leagues.

Antonio Brown

ADP: 22, No. 9 WR

This is an aberration for Brown. The guy who has led the NFL in downfield targets over the past three seasons now is playing with a QB who rarely throws it long, and his rankings are adversely affected.

Many are labeling Brown as a bust after all the offseason drama with his helmet and feet, but people forget he also scored 15 touchdowns last season and has been a first-team All-Pro in four of the past five years. If he’s 100 percent healthy, he's absolutely unguardable 1-on-1.

I wouldn’t suggest using a first-round pick on Brown -- especially with all the talent at running back at the top of the board -- but he shouldn’t slip past the beginning of the third round.

Tyrell Williams

ADP: 125, No. 48 WR

Williams joins the Raiders after four seasons with the Chargers, where he was the No. 2 to another elite receiver in Keenan Allen. Williams did impress when Allen was sidelined in 2016 with a torn ACL, as he finished with 69 catches, 1,069 yards and seven touchdowns. After a nice season like that, Williams was 13th among wide receivers in total standard-league points.

Although he joins forces with another guy who dominates the targets and attention, Williams still should be able to make an impact in the passing game, especially with much of the defensive focus being on Brown. One thing going against both Williams and Brown is the Raiders' schedule, which works out to being the worst for fantasy passing offense.

Somewhere in the 10th round is ideal for selecting Williams, although he’ll likely be available later because of the general perception of the Raiders’ offense.

Darren Waller

ADP: 317, No. 33 TE

We’re really reaching here for draftable fantasy players on Oakland's roster.

While Jared Cook was a fantasy revelation in 2018 after finishing fourth in receiving yards among tight ends, the Raiders will not have the same kind of playmaker at that position in 2019. Waller has been lauded for his physical gifts, but he also has just 18 catches over three NFL seasons. He’ll have his opportunities, but don’t expect a volume of production early that would make Waller worthy of a draft pick.

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Derek Carr details what must get fixed to reignite Raiders offense

Derek Carr details what must get fixed to reignite Raiders offense

ALAMEDA – The Raiders stink. They’re a terrible team after blowout losses against the Jets and Chiefs despite being truly amazing just over a fortnight’s past, when they were coming off a three-game winning streak that made them NFL darlings and a resurgent playoff contender.

That’s the same team we’re talking about, One coming off dramatically different results that have a once confident fan base pulling its hair out heading into Sunday’s vital matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

A win against them at Oakland Coliseum and all is right in the world (again). Lose and it’s apocalypse now.

“I’m excited we get a chance to go compete against a really good football team,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “That’s the beautiful thing about this game. You rewind two weeks ago, we were the greatest story in the NFL and two weeks later we suck again, so I think we’ll be alright. (laughter) We are just going to keep grinding. We’re going to stick to what we do.”

Carr admits they’ll have to do better, especially on offense. The passing game is stuck in neutral, revving its engine without moving an inch.

That’s large part receiver issues – Jon Gruden says he’s shaking up that position group this week – and some lackluster quarterback play with two pick-sixes in the last two games. Can’t have that, plain and simple. The Raiders can’t afford the penalty issues plaguing them recently. They can’t afford the nine-quarter touchdown drought that stretched from the Bengals game through the Jets contest and deep into the Chiefs embarrassment. The Raiders beat the Bengals but have been outscored 74-21 in two losses since.

“We’ve had a rough two weeks,” Carr said. “I’ve had a rough two weeks. It’s time to get back on track, it’s time to get back in our stadium, it’s time to be efficient on offense, it’s time to win. I’m excited we get a chance to go compete against a really good football team.”

The Raiders' offense must find a groove after hitting a rough patch, but let’s not forget this unit posted 24 or more points for six straight weeks. They can get going again by finding old magic. The key, Carr says, is staying on schedule and staying balanced. They have to start strong – they aren’t built to overcome large deficits – and avoid major mistakes.

[RELATED: Carr can't say enough about rookie Jacobs' toughness]

That’s how the Raiders did it before. That’s how they can do it again.

“Our execution has not been good enough at all,” Carr said. “Like executing the plays to every detail hasn’t been good enough at all. Turning the ball over myself. I don’t do that. I don’t want to do that. Never been something I’ve wanted to do or been a part of my game and so it doesn’t matter how it happened or why it happened, it happened, and we have to eliminate the turnovers and that starts with me.”

Johnathan Hankins loves being leader to young Raiders' defensive line


Johnathan Hankins loves being leader to young Raiders' defensive line

ALAMEDA -- Johnathan Hankins isn’t even 28 years old yet feels like an old man working on the Raiders defensive front. The starting line features two rookies off the edge and a second-year man working next to him inside.

He is an elder statesman in that crew, with plenty of experience in his seventh year out of Ohio State. Hankins is having a blast with a young, developing crew, knowing he must anchor the defensive line and help those around him make plays.

“I’m just trying to do my best to lead the guys,” Hankins said on this week’s Raiders Talk podcast. “I’ve been here longer than most of the guys on this unit, and I try to show them what it takes to be a professional and pass along all the information I learned from the veterans I worked with way back when.”

Hankins is paying it forward now with words and action. His role at defensive tackle often helps create opportunities for others pushing the pocket back and shutting down the opposition’s interior run game.

The Raiders are better in that area thanks in large part to Hankins’ improvement within the system and are certainly thankful last year’s in-season signing has become a permanent fixture upfront.

Hankins was in a weird spot before joining the Raiders last year, cut just a year into a big three-year contract with Indianapolis because the Colts changed defensive schemes.

He found a proper fit in Oakland and was happy to re-up with them this offseason.

“There was a lot going on after I got released by the Colts, and I was trying to find a place that fits well with me and finding an organization that wanted me,” Hankins said. “That’s what it boiled to, and it has really worked out with the Raiders.”

[RELATED: Mullen's confidence grows as he develops on the job]

Hankins considers it destiny that he’s Raiders, the same team name he had as a 6-year old running back and kicker growing up in Detroit and nearby Dearborn, Mich. That’s where he grew (quite literally) into the dominant defensive force that earned an Ohio State scholarship and a second-round NFL draft slot.

“I’m just enjoying this ride,” Hankins said. “I’m trying to be at my best and show everyone watching that I’m still one of the best defensive tackles in this league. The goal is to get to 12 years, and I think I’m on my way.”