Well, technically, the Las Vegas Raiders didn’t do anything this year. However, the Oakland Raiders took a big step forward in the second year of their rebuild under Jon Gruden. They didn’t do things conventionally and made some questionable decisions. In the end, they sat on the edge of the playoffs, which isn’t bad at all for the second year of a rebuild. Rumors swirl that Tom Brady might replace Derek Carr in Las Vegas. What should we remember from the last season in the Oakland Coliseum for the Raiders? Can the Las Vegas Raiders carry this stuff over to their first season in the City of Sin? What does this mean for fantasy football leagues?
What to Remember from the 2019 Oakland, now Las Vegas Raiders Season
- Fifth-year tight end Darren Waller broke out last season. He was a great story, as he overcame addiction en route to his break out season. However, for fantasy football, a split emerged when you consider the presence of rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. For the season, Waller ended with 1,145 yards on 90 receptions, scoring three touchdowns. However, starting in week nine (and taking a hiatus for an injury), Gruden installed Renfrow as the starting slot receiver. In those games, Waller’s targets dropped from 8.3 to 5.7, he lost about 20 yards per game, and he scored zero touchdowns. With Renfrow as the starting slot receiver, Waller averaged just 5.9/7.8/9.8 in standard/HPPR/PPR scoring. In the three games without Renfrow in the second half, those numbers jump to 9.8/13.3/16.8. Waller gets lots of buzz, but The Hunter Renfrow Problem looms large for his 2020 bust potentiality.
- Let’s turn our attention now to rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. He came on in the second half of the season, garnering seven targets in week nine en route to becoming the short area target for Derek Carr. At that time, Renfrow turned into a PPR machine. A rib injury cost him three weeks in the second half, but outside that, he lived up to expectations. He played on an 83 reception, 1,072 yards, 8 touchdown pace in the second half. Renfrow played like a WR3 or better in five-of-six healthy games down the stretch. The Raiders offense set him loose in the last two games, giving him 18 targets that he turned into 209 yards and two scores. In Renfrow’s second-half games, he had 41 targets. No two Raiders WRs received 40 targets combined in those games.
- I don’t want to start some undue Derek Carr hype, but we will keep this “second-half-with-Hunter-Renfrow” split going since it created some nice momentum heading into the offseason for the Raiders. In Renfrow’s healthy games in the second half of the season, Carr ended the week as QB12 or better in four of Renfrow’s six healthy games. However, this is a deceiving stat that you’re likely to hear. Why is it deceiving? Two of those games included rushing touchdowns from Derek Carr. He has three rushing touchdowns in his entire career. If Tom Brady doesn’t usurp him, he’s worth a shot in 2QB leagues but has limited upside as a top-ten QB.
- Tyrell Williams started the season extremely hot. He posted 105 yards in his first game and scored a touchdown in each of the first four contests. However, he never returned to his pre-injury form. He posted 91 yards on his return and showed up with a couple of 4-catch, 82-yard games in the second half of the season, but the set-and-forget starter from the first four weeks disappeared. Williams ultimately led the team in air yards, while garnering just 64 targets. He won’t have any reliable fantasy football value in 2020 if the Raiders bring him back. Derek Carr simply doesn’t pass enough: his 3,359 air yards ranked 24th in the league last season, behind guys who didn’t even start all season, like Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, and Kyle Allen.
- Josh Jacobs ended the season as RB17, but a lot of that has to do with missing three games at the end of the season with a shoulder injury. In reality, he had one of the most consistent workloads in the league, as he was one of just ten running backs to average more than 20 touches per game. He finished the season as a weekly RB2 or better in eight of his thirteen games, and that includes a week fifteen game where he gritted through his injury. He has top-ten RB upside next season.