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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
Raiders OL Menelik Watson ruptures Achilles, out for season
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:57 am ET) The Raiders' offensive line took a big hit Sunday, when starting right tackle Menelik Watson ruptured his Achilles tendon in the first half. He will miss the entire 2015 season, per the San Francisco Chronicle

"He was having a great camp for us and really playing well," Raiders coach Jack del Rio said. 

Watson will be replaced by sixth-year veteran Austin Howard, who started at guard for Oakland last season.


Report: Bills name Tyrod Taylor starting QB
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:34 am ET) After a wide-open quarterback competition, the results are apparently in for Bills coach Rex Ryan. According to FOX Sports insider Jay Glazer, the Bills are prepared to name Tyrod Taylor their starter for Week 1. 

Taylor has performed well in the preseason, earning the edge over EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel, perhaps due to his threat as a runner in addition to his passing ability. 

Taylor has yet to make an NFL start, appearing in 14 games in four seasons as a backup with the Ravens. 


Bengals release WR Denarius Moore
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:08 am ET) The Bengals have waived receiver Denarius Moore, whom they picked up in the offseason in an attempt to add more speed to their receiving corps, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. 

Moore was expected to click with Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, his former coach with the Raiders, under whom he caught 97 passes for 1,436 yards in 2012-13. But Moore struggled in camp and caught just one pass in the preseason. 

The move puts veterans Greg Little and Brandon Tate in a better position to hang on to a roster spot. 


Report: Texans acquire OL Chris Clark from Broncos
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:00 am ET) The Texans made a move to shore up their offensive line, reportedly acquiring veteran tackle Chris Clark from the Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round pick, per the Denver Post

Clark has been in the league for eight seasons, the last five of which were with Denver. His addition helps a Houston offensive line in need of depth. 


Report: Jaguars trade K Josh Scobee to Steelers
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(10:29 am ET) Kicker has been a trouble spot for the Steelers this preseason, and with their second player going down at the position, the team has reportedly reached a deal with the Jaguars to acquire veteran Josh Scobee, per The Florida Times-Union

The Steelers lost incumbent Shaun Suisham to a torn ACL in the Hall of Fame game, and Saturday, replacement Garrett Hartley injured his hamstring on a kickoff, putting Pittsburgh in desperation mode. 

Scobee had been with the Jags since 2004, and was 20 of 26 on field goals last season. 


Bills release veteran RB Fred Jackson
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(10:22 am ET) In a somewhat surprising move, the Bills released running back Fred Jackson as part of their roster trimming on Monday, just days after the veteran returned from a hamstring injury and looked sharp, per the Buffalo News

Jackson was scheduled to make $2.35 million this season. Jackson had been with the Bills since 2006, and although he only had one 1,000-yard rushing season (in 2009), he was always a valuable resource out of the backfield. 

Jackson figures to draw attention from several running-back needy squads in the next few days. 


Lions release injury-prone WR Ryan Broyles
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(10:03 am ET) The Lions are finally cutting ties with receiver Ryan Broyles, whose three-year stint with the team was marred by injury, per MLive.com.

Broyles had asked for his release two days ago after playing sparingly during the preseason. A second-round pick in 2012, Broyles tore his ACL in his rookie season and then ruptured his Achilles' tendon in 2013. 

Last season, Broyles had just two catches for 34 yards, playing in just 34 snaps all year. 


Redskins name Kirk Cousins Week 1 starter
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(9:57 am ET) The drama never stops in D.C. and according to CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, the Redskins have informed players that they are planning to have Kirk Cousins start their Week 1 contest against the Dolphins and not Robert Griffin III, who is apparently battling a concussion problem. 

There are reports of a rift between the football operations and ownership regarding Griffin, who has struggled this preseason before getting injured in the team's second preseason contest against Detroit. Griffin was cleared to play in the team's third preseason game before an independent neurologist reversed course, saying Griffin was still dealing with concussion-related symptoms.

Cousins has played well during the preseason, going 40-for-53 for 435 yards. 


Colts cut 14, including OL Donald Thomas
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(9:39 am ET) The Colts made their first wave of cuts Monday, trimming 14 to get to 76 players on the roster. Included in those moves was the release of guard Donald Thomas, once thought to be a key figure on the offensive line, whose effectiveness was cut short by injury, per the Indianapolis Star

The guard last played in a game in September of 2013, and he had just been activated from the physically unable to perform list Friday. In addition, cutting Thomas saves the Colts $3.75 million against the salary cap. 


Lions acquire TE Tim Wright from Buccaneers
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(9:28 am ET) The Lions have reportedly made a deal with the Buccaneers to acquire tight end Timothy Wright, in exchange for rookie kicker Kyle Brindza according to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport and confirmed by both teams. 

Wright had re-joined the Bucs after a season in New England in which he caught 26 passes and six touchdowns. Now, he will join a crowded tight end field in Detroit, where Joseph Fauria, Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew are in the mix. 


 
 
 
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