Last week, we previewed some of the 49ers players who could be of value for your fantasy team this season, and today we're going to take a look at some of the Raiders top fantasy options.
The Raiders have even less fantasy impact options than the Niners, but they still do have a couple of guys that could pay some dividends for your team in 2009. Darren McFadden is their featured offensive fantasy option, and the young back should improve drastically on his 2008 rookie season in which he totaled just 784 yards from scrimmage and four scores. He did split time in the backfield with Justin Fargas though, and also missed 3 games with injuries, so he it's not like he was getting the full-time load. This year, he's going to be sharing some carries with Fargas again, and Michael Bush figures to get into the mix as well, but I'm still expecting McFadden to get around 1200 yards from scrimmage and should find paydirt at least 6 times in 2009. Justin Fargas, the other running back who figures to have some fantasy value, at least early in the year, will likely see his work load decrease a little bit in 2009. Fargas has rushed for 1862 yards over the last 2 seasons for Oakland, but was pretty inconsistent last year, and averaged just 3.9 ypc. I'd steer clear from Fargas, as I doubt he'll get more than 10-12 touches per week in the crowded Oakland backfield.
As far as other players who you should keep an eye on during your draft, there really aren't many. I really like Zach Miller, and JaMarcus Russel seems to be really comfortable going to Miller. The only downside with the Raiders tight-end, is that he's playing on a sub par offense and doesn't get many opportunities in the red zone (56 catches w/ 1 TD in '08). I still think he'll find pay dirt a few more times in '09 with an improved Russel at the helm and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Miller turn in 900+ yard season with 5 scores. Speaking of Russel, he could have some value as a QB2 in deeper leagues, as he'll likely continue to develop and improve upon his 2008 totals, but the Raiders still lack big time talent in their receiving corps. Derrius Heyward-Bey is penciled in as the teams #1 wideout, with Javon Walker and Chaz Shillens (when he gets healthy) right behind him on the depth chart, but I don't see any being a real legit fantasy option right off the bat. Defensively, the Raiders could be used in favorable match-ups, like vs. Denver in week 3, but I wouldn't keep them as my main fantasy defense. Also, I'd steer clear of Sebastien Janikowski. The Raiders don't have a good offense, and he's just been very mediocre over the last couple of years.