Sunday, June 3, 2012

32 in 32: Oakland Raiders

This team wasted no time not changing their ways after the unfortunate passing of Al Davis. That trade for Carson Palmer was pretty bizarre, considering that Jason Campbell was not doing especially poorly before he got injured. That all being said and completely true, Carson Palmer could actually be a significant QB2 next season. I really couldn't care less if the guy throws 32 interceptions last season as long as he also throws for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns a game. Considering that Palmer plays Denver, Kansas City, and Carolina over the last three weeks of the fantasy season, I would say this old man might be able to actually win you a fantasy season. That's right, I said it. Carson Palmer could win you a fantasy season. Now if he sucks all year long then cut him, but you might end up looking like the fantasy guru if you draft this guy late and then hold on to him all season. Suppose you draft Vick and need a guy who will be able to step in and score significant points for the 4-6 games he misses; I love Palmer in that role. There are a lot of QBs who are going to be drafted higher than Palmer who will be far more risky. I'll have to wait and see how the fantasy rankings line up, but Palmer could be a perfect example of a player you don't want on your favorite football team but love on your fantasy team. I wouldn't be shocked if he surpasses the 4,000 yard and 30 touchdown marks this season, but 3,500 and 20 is far more reasonable.

The guys he will be throwing to are a complete crap-shoot. A lot of fantasy analysts are picking Denarius Moore as a break-out or sleeper candidate.I am a little less confident about him. He caught 33 balls in 10 starts (13 total games) in his first season in the league. That does not give me a whole lot of confidence about his ability to be a huge player. He did rack up an impressive 18.7 yards per catch, but do I really want to draft a guy who I am expecting to catch 3-4 balls per game? It could burn me, but I think I am going to be passing on Moore, unless he falls to the 12th or 13th round and there is no one better on my receiver board. Darrius Heyward-Bey was an anomaly when he was drafted, but he caught 64 passes last season. I could waste both of our time by listing a whole bunch of big name receivers who caught fewer balls (DeSean Jackson anyone?) but I'll just say that I expect him to break 80 catches next season. That translates to 1,300 yards and 8-12 touchdowns. All of those yards and TDs I'm predicting for Palmer have to come from somewhere. That is actually a great point. Be very wary of predictions that don't add up. If someone tells you that Michael Crabtree is going to get more than 1,000 receiving yards make sure to ask them exactly who they think Alex Smith is. Even last season he wasn't that productive. I saw big games from Palmer last season (He averaged 274 yards per game played and nearly 300 yards per start) and from DHB (he had over 430 receiving yards in the last 4 games with Palmer). Always go with players you think can score points. If they don't you can always drop them later. Receivers are expendable.

Running backs aren't, and I have recently been questioning whether I even have McFadden on my draft board. Darren McFadden has been injured every season he has played. His total carries in those four seasons are 113, 104, 223, and 113. I want my stud running back to get as close to 300 carries as possible, and I don't know if this guy can even get there. I feel a lot more confident that Shonn Greene will still be playing in December than Run DMC. I also feel more confident that Greene will reach 300 carries. How can I draft this guy? Well the answer is that if he does reach 300 carries that would translate to over 1,600 yards. In his last 336 carries he has averaged 5.27 yards per carry. That adds up to 1,771 yards, not to mention the 661 receiving yards he would have amassed. So this is totally an eye-of-the-beholder thing. If McFadden is available to me in the second round, I'm probably going to grab him. He just has way too much potential to pass on at some point. You just need to determine where he becomes a value pick for you before the draft and stick to it. You should not draft any players you aren't excited about.

I have always loved Sebastian Janikowski. I would not fault anyone who drafts him as early as the 5th round. If the Raiders have a decent offense, and I think they will this season, then Janikowski will score more points than any other kicker. He had 10 attempts from beyond 50 yards last season and made 7 of them. That is 35 points. 35 points your opponents won't be getting. I could target him, realistically, as early as the 10th or 11th round, because he is just that valuable. If my kicker averaged 12 points per game, I'm happy as a clam. Don't draft the Raiders defense though. Those 32 interceptions will kill their stats (only joking Palmer).

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