Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
In the next edition of the series, we head back to the AFC West and check out the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders were 5-11 last year, with an offense that scored 12.3 ppg (31st among 32 teams) and a defense that yielded 23.7 ppg (23rd).
The Raiders weren't the worst scoring team in the league, that "honor" goes to St. Louis, but at least the Rams had one quality fantasy starter in Steven Jackson. The same can't be said for the inept Oakland offense. There wasn't a single player worth starting in 2009 and that's likely going to be the same outlook this season, except possibly tight end Zach Miller.
Jason Campbell - Going to a JaMarcus Russell-led offense which scored just 197 last season, means Campbell should look like an All-Pro by comparison, at least to Raiders' fans. But for fantasy owners, it will be hard to imagine any way that he'll be "fantasy-worthy." If things go really well, you might be able to start him against Kansas City (twice) or St.Louis, but I wouldn't count on him for much more than that. He's currently the 25th quarterback off the board with an ADP of 185.
Darren McFadden - With Justin Fargas out of the picture, Michael Bush and McFadden will garner most of the carries. McFadden has the "name" and the big contract, which will likely get him the starting gig, but Bush might actually be the better runner. McFadden's main problem is that he can't stay healthy, which means if you draft him in the seventh round (ADP 83), you better have a backup plan, or Bush on your roster.
Michael Bush - Bush actually had a better average yards-per-carry than McFadden in 2009 (4.8 vs. 3.4) and there is some suspicion that he could win the job outright. However, no matter which running back starts, the other is likely to get enough carries to land both of them on your bench and not in your starting lineup. Neither Rock Cartwright nor Michael Bennett have any fantasy value.
Chaz Schilens - Schilens has the size and speed to become a solid NFL receiver, it's just that we've never seen him with an "NFL-caliber" quarterback. With Campbell under center, we should finally be able to determine whether Schilens, and for that matter Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy can play at this level.
Darrius Heyward-Bey - When the Raiders picked seventh in 2009, they had their choice between Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt or Heyward-Bey. They chose Heyward-Bey and were rewarded with nine receptions in 11 games. He'll certainly do better with Campbell at quarterback, but expecting him to becomes "fantasy-worthy" would take a giant leap of faith. Despite the low cost, ADP 233, I'd rather choose Schilens or Murphy.
Louis Murphy - If you simply must take a Raiders' receiver, Murphy might be your best value. With an ADP of 192, he has a nice upside and if he could duplicate his effort against the Steelers last year (4-128-2), he could reward you as a decent backup in case of injury to one of your starters.
Zach Miller - Miller has improved his production in each of the last two seasons, which couldn't have been easy given the limitations of the Raiders' offense. Since we know that Campbell likes throwing to his tight ends (think Chris Cooley and Fred Davis in Washington), Miller could become a low-end fantasy starter. He's currently got an ADP of 114 and is the 12th tight end off the board.
Sebastian Janikowski - Janikowski has a huge leg and in 2009 tied Josh Brown for the league lead in field goals made of 50 yards-or-more. Unfortunately, with just 17 extra points and 29 field goal attempts, you can't expect him to be among the points leaders and he finished 16th in fantasy scoring. Although the Raiders offense can only get better this year, they still won't give Janikowski enough opportunities to be a fantasy starter.
The Oakland defense/special teams finished 29th among 32 teams with just 77 fantasy points. They sacked the quarterback a decent amount of times (37), but 20 turnovers (12 fumbles, 8 interceptions) simply isn't enough. And not once did the defense or special teams return the ball for a score. Don't expect a big change in 2010 and look elsewhere for your defense.