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Offseason Primers: Oakland Raiders

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Raiders were filled with disappointments in 2012. Darren McFadden? Injured and failed to produce in a new offensive scheme. Denarius Moore? Didn't take the leap many hoped in his sophomore campaign. Carson Palmer? Too many interceptions.

It feels like the same old story in Oakland.

There were some bright spots with the emergence of Brandon Myers, who finished the year as a Top 10 Fantasy tight end, and Marcel Reece as a capable backup for McFadden. Rod Streater also showed flashes as a third receiving option, and Terrelle Pryor might be the future at quarterback.

2012 Touches Leaders
1,005 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Darren McFadden 258 (216 car., 42 rec.) 25.6%
Marcel Reece 111 (59 car., 52 rec.) 11.0%
Brandon Myers 79 rec. 7.8%
Denarius Moore 52 (1 car., 51 rec.) 5.1%
Mike Goodson 51 (35 car., 16 rec.) 6.0%
All Others 454 45.1%

But for Fantasy owners, the key players struggled, especially McFadden. The good thing is the Raiders are clearly behind him as the focal point of their offense. Greg Knapp, who ran the zone-blocking scheme that caused McFadden to struggle, was replaced by Greg Olson, and the change should help McFadden improve.

We're also expecting Moore to have a breakout year in his third season, and hopefully Streater can step up as a quality Fantasy option. He has the chance to start with Darrius Heyward-Bey now gone.

But beyond McFadden, Moore and potentially Streater, the Raiders are looking for new faces to help Fantasy owners. Matt Flynn was added at quarterback with Palmer gone, and he's excpected to compete with Pryor for the starting job. And they need to find a new tight end with Myers now with the Giants.

Pryor has the most upside if he can beat out Flynn for the job. He is the kind of quarterback captivating the NFL right now with a similar skill set to guys like Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. If he gets a chance to start then we could have another potential Fantasy starter, and we like Pryor much better than Flynn.

Darren McFadden -- Bounce-back candidate

2012 Target Leaders
629 pass attempts
Denarius Moore 114 18.1%
Brandon Myers 105 16.6%
Darrius Heyward-Bey 80 12.7%
Rod Streater 74 11.7%
Marcel Reece 73 11.6%
All Others 183 29.0%

From a talent perspective, McFadden might be the best running back in the NFL. From a health perspective, he might be the worst. McFadden comes into this season once again trying to prove he can be an elite running back. He missed time again in 2012 -- this time it was four games with an ankle injury -- and struggled with Oakland's zone-blocking scheme. He had a career-low 3.3 yards per carry and finished with 216 carries for 707 yards and two touchdowns and 42 catches for 258 yards and one touchdown. It was a miserable year, but the Raiders remain committed to McFadden. The zone-blocking system is gone with Olson replacing Knapp as the offensive coordinator, and McFadden will now try to stay healthy for the first time in his career (he's never played more than 13 games). We still have optimism for McFadden, but there are obvious red flags. Because of that he should only be drafted with a late-second round pick at the earliest. Your best bet is to get McFadden in the third round and hope he surprises you like he did in 2010 (1,600 total yards and 10 touchdowns). We'd all take that McFadden, and we hope he shows up this year.

Denarius Moore -- Third-year breakout

Moore had a career season in 2012, but it feels like he underperformed. He finished the year with 51 catches for 741 yards and seven touchdowns, but he never materialized as a must-start Fantasy option. Part of the problem was he scored six of his seven touchdowns in his first 11 games, and he had only one 100-yard outing. But Moore now has the chance to shine this year, which will be his third season in the NFL and typically when receivers have a breakout campaign. He should be considered the best receiver for the Raiders, and he does have 12 receiving touchdowns to start his career. Moore will likely be a late-round selection in the majority of leagues, and he has the potential to have a breakout season. Put him on your draft list, and if he's still there after Round 10 then consider him a steal.

Terrelle Pryor -- Dynasty-league selection

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Matt Flynn Undrafted
Terrelle Pryor Undrafted
Darren McFadden 19-25 overall
Marcel Reece 166-172 overall
Denarius Moore 119-125 overall
Rod Streater Undrafted

Pryor got the chance to start one game for the Raiders in 2012, and he turned some heads in a Week 17 loss at San Diego. He should now get the chance to compete for the starting job with Flynn, who was acquired via trade in March, and we wouldn't be surprised if Pryor wins the battle. In that game against the Chargers, Pryor displayed nice athleticism, which is all the rage for quarterbacks today. Pryor was 13 of 28 passing for 150 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and he added 49 rushing yards and a touchdown. He is a sneaky pick with a late-round selection in deep leagues even if he loses the job to Flynn in training camp, and if Pryor does take over this season he could make an impact. In dynasty leagues, put Pryor on your wish list because he could end up as the starter in Oakland, potentially for many years if that one game sample size is a glimpse of what he can do.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Emmanuel Sanders expected back Saturday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:28 pm ET) Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is expected to return to preseason action Saturday against the Texans, after missing the team's previous game against the 49ers with a quad injury, the Denver Post reports. 

Von Miller expected to make return Saturday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:24 pm ET) Broncos linebacker Von Miller should make his preseason debut Saturday against the Texans, almost exactly eight months to the day since he tore his ACL, the Denver Post reports.

"I've had a lot of practice at full speed," Miller said. "And with all the practicing here with the Texans, I think it will help make the game seem a little easier. I'm excited."

The Broncos have been practicing with the Texans in recent weeks. Miller is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season, and Saturday could be the only tuneup he needs, with just one preseason game left. 


Montee Ball ready for preseason action
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:18 pm ET) Broncos running back Montee Ball is expected to make his preseason debut Saturday against the Texans reports the Denver Post, after missing out on the first two preseason games due to an appendectomy.

Ball was able to practice in full beginning Thursday, just a few days after he was medically cleared for action. 


Arrelious Benn out of practice Saturday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:57 pm ET) Eagles wide receiver Arrelious Benn was not a participant in Saturday's practice, as he deals with a concussion suffered in Thursday's preseason game. Benn will have to be cleared through the league's concussion protocol, and there is no timetable for his return to action. .  

Ravens missing top three corners for third preseason titlt
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:36 pm ET) The Ravens will be without their three top corners Saturday against the Redskins, as the Washington Post reports Lardarius Webb (back), Jimmy Smith (chest) and Asa Jackson (ankle) have all been ruled out. 

Eagles announce 14 cuts Saturday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:29 pm ET) The Eagles trimmed their roster to 76 players Saturday, as they announced the waiving of 14 players.

Among those waived are: wide receivers Kadron Boone and B.J. Cunningham; tight ends Emil Igwenagu and Blake Annen; offensive lineman Michael Bamiro, Karim Barton and Donald Hawkins; linebacker Jake Knott; defensive backs Daytawion Lowe and Davon Morgan; defensive linemen Joe Kruger, Frances Mays and Alejandro Villanueva; and kicker Carey Spear.  

The team still has to make one more cut before Tuesday. 


Chris Polk not an IR candidate
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Eagles running back Chris Polk might not need to go on the short-term injured reserve list, coach Chip Kelly said Saturday, despite Polk dealing with a partially torn hamstring.

Polk has been aiming to practice within the next week, though it is not clear if he will be cleared to play by the start of the regular season. 


Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy among Eagles practicing Saturday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:59 am ET) Eagles coach Chip Kelly announced Saturday that defensive backs Cary Williams (hamstring) and Brandon Boykin (hamstring), along with running back LeSean McCoy (thumb) and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (knee) will all practice Saturday, despite missing time in the previous preseason game due to their various maladies. 

Antonio Allen officially diagnosed with concussion
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:54 am ET) Jets quarterback Antonio Allen was diagnosed with a concussion Friday, after taking a hit to the head during Friday's preseason game against the Giants. Allen will have to go through the league's concussion protocol before he can be cleared to play, and seems unlikely to return in time for Thursday's preseason finale against the Eagles. 

Geno Smith officially named Jets starter at QB
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:52 am ET) The Jets officially named Geno Smith the team's starting quarterback Friday, a move that does not come as much of a surprise given his usage in the preseason.

"I think he's taken off from where he left off [last season]," coach Rex Ryan said after announcing the decision. "I expect great things in the future."

Smith has been working almost exclusively with the first time offense during training camp and preseason, as Michael Vick hasn't made much of a push to start. Smith made the decision easier with his solid preseason play, completing 69.7 percent of his 33 passes, for 268 yards and a touchdown. He added a rushing touchdown while turning the ball over just once.

Smith started all 16 games as a rookie, completing just 55.8 percent of his passes and finishing with 12 passing touchdowns to 21 interceptions.


 
 
 
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