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Mining your way to fantasy gold - Raiders Edition

I come to you on this lovely Sunday Evening, and if you are reading this, keep in mind, the 16-man Yahoo! League I'm running is drafting right now (ok, in 2 hours, but did you get worried?)!  Today, because of Friday's game bumping the Colts back a day, the AFC West is where I look to forecast some fantasy gold (Chaz Schilens FTW!).  I was going to go with the Broncos, since we just played them, but instead I've decided to go with the Raiders.  When it comes to drafting fantasy players, avoid the Al Davis draft strategy.

The Raiders being drafted:

  • Darren McFadden RB - Avg. Selection* 79; 100% drafted
  • Zach Miller TE - Avg. Selection 96; 100% drafted
  • Darrius Heyward-Bey WR - Avg. Selection 137; 6.7% drafted
  • Justin Fargas RB - Avg. Selection 118; 3.3% drafted

*-100th selection = 10th pick round 10 (10 man); 6th pick round 9 (12 man); 3rd pick round 8 (14 man)

After the jump, I steer you away from DHB and towards guys like Miller and McFadden...

Worth Consideration

Darren McFadden

I'll be 100% honest, I was high on McFadden last season and expected more than what the rook produced in '08.  This year, you'll be able to drafted McFadden later than season, and I certainly like the thought of it.  While McFadden didn't put up big numbers, he showed signs of being a complete back catching 29 passes to go along with his 499 yards rushing.  The Raiders have a sexy backfield with Justin Fargas, Michael Bush and Darren McFadden; and while its hard to see McFadden explode, I think he'll produce most of the three.  McFadden's fantasy value will be very good around pick 79, and he'll serve nicely as your RB3 for most of the season.  Fantasy Forecast: 900 total yards, 7 TDs

Zach Miller

If Jeff Garcia overtakes JaMarcus Russell, Miller becomes an even better selection.  However, even if Russell remains the starter for all 16 games, Miller has pretty good value later than a handful of higher profile tight ends.  In 2008, Miller caught 56 passes for 776 yards and 1 TD; I would hope the 6'5 big fella can score more TDs in 2009.  I'm not going to tell you can't find a better TE later than Miller, but he certainly has a high ceiling being the Raiders most reliable target.  I'm not going to bet the farm, and predict a huge season, but I think Miller will have a consistent 2009.  Miller had 6 games of 60+ yards in 2008, and I think he can improve upon that.  He also had 11 games with 3 or more receptions, which is also promising.  Fantasy Forecast: 900 total yards, 2 TDs

Step Back, Calm Down

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Hey, at least DHB is signed and in camp, right?  Well, at one point the joke was Crabtree has caught just as many passes in camp as Heyward-Bey.  I'm not sure we can take that analysis literally, but it does illustrate that the rookie is having problems catching passes.  DHB didn't even put up very good fantasy numbers at Maryland, so it's hard to envision him being an immediate fantasy impact in 2009.  Could Heyward-Bey shock us all and make Al Davis look brilliant?  No.  If you are in an extremely deep league, and need a rotational WR, I'd still suggest otherwise.  I think DHB will have 1 or 2 decent games in 2009, but won't really produce much otherwise.  Fantasy Forecast: 500 total yards, 3 TDs

The name is Schilens, Chaz Schilens, [site decorum]

Chaz Schilens

Bonus points if you know what movie I'm referring to with the above line.  Now, I'm not expecting Kramer Schilens to produce a massive amount of fantasy points, but I don't expect him to get bounced off the ceiling and die either.  I actually deep down in my mind believe that Chaz Schilens of all guys will lead the Raiders WRs in yards and catches.  Having said that, I don't expect him to a super sleeper like Chicago's Earl Bennett.  Schilens may be worth a look over DHB in the deeper leagues, and his size is certainly appealing (6'4 225).  With Russell throwing passes, the leading WR on the Raiders won't have 1000 yards, but Schilens should do ok.  Fantasy Forecast: 700 total yards, 4 TDs

* all fantasy stats are based on 2007-2008 Yahoo! Standard Public league scoring