Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Lots to like in Oakland, but not Marshawn Lynch's return

Beast Mode is coming to Oakland. Well, at least the merchandise is.

No disrespect to Marshawn Lynch, but I'm finding it more and more difficult to get excited about a 31 year-old running back who didn't play in 2016 and was bad/hurt in 2015. If we're talking range of probability, it seems like him getting a starter's workload, being good and staying healthy has to be pretty low in that range, right? That's while I'll be avoiding him if his 4th or 5th round ADP holds.

But that doesn't mean I'm down on the Raiders offense. Far from it. They've got everything in place to be the class of the AFC West and the biggest challenger to the Patriots. Let's take a look at the expectations:

*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.

Oakland Raiders
Player Expected FP Position Rank Expected PPR FP Position Rank
172.18 259.19
138.4 20 222.4 18
119.2 30 135.2 35
318.4 15 318.4 15
70.3 24 107.3 25
84.4 46 120.4 40
74.9 52 102.9 50

Breaking down the touches

This will be the third year together for Jack Del Rio and Derek Carr, but the first with new offensive coordinator Todd Downing. Downing hasn't give any indication that he has big changes in plan so I'm still expecting pretty close to a 60/40 split in favor of passing plays. If anything I could see the Raiders with more positive game scripts in 2017, which could lead to fewer pass plays. But I don't think the change will be significant. 

The addition of Jared Cook may mean they throw to tight ends slightly more than the 14 percent they did in 2016, but I wouldn't expect more than the 18 percent they had in 2015. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree should still dominate targets. Here's what I'm expecting in terms of touches for the offense:

Raiders Touches
Player RuSHARE RuATT ReSHARE TGT REC TOTAL TD
Marshawn Lynch 42% 178 4% 21 16 8
DeAndre Washington 21% 88 6% 37 28 2
Jalen Richard 21% 87 8% 48 36 2
Amari Cooper 0% 0 22% 130 87 8
Michael Crabtree 0% 0 24% 140 84 8
Seth Roberts 0% 0 14% 81 48 4
Jared Cook 0% 0 11% 64 37 4

Of note:

  • I would love it if one of the young backs in Oakland would establish himself as the clear handcuff to Lynch, but for now I'm expecting a three-headed monster.
  • There's a bit of a third-year leap built in here for Cooper. I believe he's elite and this is the year he starts performing like it. 
  • The impact Jared Cook has on Seth Roberts will be interesting. I'd be thrilled if more of Roberts targets went to someone else.
  • I feel like I'd be remiss if I didn't address Derek Carr's low ranking above. I show a 24 point difference between the No. 6 QB and the No. 16. If Carr is your preference, he's a fine starting quarterback.

The Leftovers

The backup running backs in Oakland are two of the most interesting. On an efficiency basis, Washington and Richard were both very good last year but that may have been because of their low usage. That's a compliment to the coaching staff, if nothing else. There's a decent chance that at this stage in their career one or both is a better running back than a 31 year-old Lynch. Their draft cost is almost nothing and I like both as late fliers. 

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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