Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
Carr is heading into his fifth and arguably most important year for Oakland in 2018, but he regressed in nearly every statistical category this season. After an MVP-candidate season in 2016, we knew the numbers from a year ago would be hard to replicate – and he struggled. Carr was 6-9 as a starter this season with a 47.2 QBR, and he tied a career high of 13 interceptions. As a team, the Super Bowl hopeful Raiders struggled all season long, causing many dynasty owners to lose faith in Carr as their QB1.
Carr began this season with an 88.83 ADP, as the sixth-ranked quarterback. He was typically being drafted in the mid-seventh round in startup drafts. As the 2017 season wraps up, he now ranks 103.00 in ADP (average ninth round) and has significantly fallen on draft boards along with nearly the entire Raiders roster. He’s behind quarterbacks like Jared Goff and Jameis Winston. At 26 years old, Carr is still the franchise quarterback of this team but will need an upgrade in the run game to find success in 2018.
There will be quite a lot of turnover within the Raiders coaching staff this off-season as Jon Gruden returns to coaching. This should revitalize the young roster, the passionate fan base, and hopefully Carr’s quarterback play.
If you held on to Carr despite his struggles this season, you are sitting on a great investment. It may be difficult to find a suitable trade for him now with Gruden being announced as head coach, but you may find a few owners still doubting Carr’s potential long-term. The Raiders have multiple offensive weapons for Carr to utilize, and should rebound in the AFC in 2018.
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Manuel started one game this season in Carr’s absence. He threw for 159 yards including a touchdown, but only had a 50% pass completion rate. Set to be a restricted free agent in 2018, Manuel is not the worst backup option by any means. It would not surprise me if the Raiders signed him to another limited year contract. This aside, Manuel should not be taking over a starting job anytime soon unless Carr has more injury issues. He can be left on the waivers.
Cook was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 draft and has two years left on his contract. I would expect him to remain as the third string even if EJ Manuel is not re-signed this off-season. Unless tremendous improvement is shown in the preseason, Cook is not worth stashing, even in deep formats.
At 31 years old, Marshawn Lynch came into this season with an 81.33 ADP ranking (seventh round). Given his track record and the hype around his return, this was about as expected. After shedding the early rust (while still causing plenty of off-field drama) Lynch proved he can still play, but not at the level owners expected of him. With a year left on his contract, I would expect 2018 to be the final stop for Lynch and for him to retire with his hometown Raiders. He currently ranks 194.25 in ADP (16th round). To put things into perspective, even Eagles running back Corey Clement is holding a higher ADP than Lynch.
The market for Lynch is cheap right now. Owners are not sure what to expect next season and many are fed up with the drama or penalties he brings upon himself. I would expect the Raiders to have a much more fluid offense in 2018, giving Lynch more goal-line opportunities and utilizing his grit where it matters most. If the price is right, he may be worth buying very low in his retirement season. Lynch will want to go out on a high note with the Raiders.
Due to be a restricted free agent after the 2018 NFL season, the second year back will have to make some drastic changes to his game over the off-season in order to re-sign with the Raiders. Scarcely used in what many hoped would be a breakout season, owners were disappointed as he only carried the ball 56 times. He also fumbled the ball a career-high eight times. Yes, eight. While all were not lost, it is still a major red flag for a backup tailback.
With the unforeseen future of Lynch this upcoming season, Richard is a player to keep an eye on this off-season. A year ago he impressed in his reserve role both on the ground and through the air, finding the end zone three times in a limited role. Given he improves ball security over the off-season, Richard has the chance to be a second-string back. But he won’t ever jump into a starting role. If the Raiders take a chance on a young back in the draft, Richard can be left on the waivers indefinitely.
At the beginning of the 2017 season, it was unforeseen what kind of usage both DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard would split behind Marshawn Lynch. The opportunities were fairly equal for Washington and Richard. However, the production was where Washington came up short.
Washington rushed 57 times this season, with a dismal 2.7 yards-per-carry average and produced nearly half the receiving yardage of his counterpart. A year ago, he averaged 5.4 YPC and was heavily involved in the offense. In 2017, he failed to live up to expectations. The organization cannot be thrilled moving forward into 2018 with little production seen from the backup role this season.
Currently ranked as the highest back for the Raiders with a 169.00 ADP (fourteenth round) Washington is a dynamic runner who is no doubt worth keeping an eye on over the off-season. As stated previously, I assume the Raiders will invest in a young running back in the draft, so be aware that the second and third string roles could be in jeopardy for Washington.
After putting up career numbers a year ago, Crabtree regressed in 2017 and finds himself on the ropes within the Raiders organization. While the decline in production came from the team as a whole, Crabtree had multiple incidents both on and off the field with the Raiders, leading to the belief he will be cut this off-season.
This season, he hauled in less than 40% of his targets, catching 58 passes for 618 yards, and only found the end zone a total of eight times. The red zone production is huge for the 6’1” Crabtree, who has consistently scored eight or more touchdowns in the last three seasons.
The 30-year-old receiver has a year left on his four-year contract, with the Raiders holding the “team” option leading into the 2018 season. If the team does decide to keep Crabtree, expect to see him drafted within the fifth to the early seventh rounds of your startup drafts. He finished the season with a declining 69.00 ADP due to some nagging injuries and off-the-field issues. If released, Crabtree could be a hot commodity in the FA market and should remain a top 25-fantasy receiver in 2018.
Dynasty owners were left scratching their heads at the beginning of the season asking the same question we all were. “What happened to Amari Cooper?” The answer is still being searched for, but as stated throughout this article, the Raiders as a whole fell apart.
Cooper began the season as the third-ranked wide receiver in dynasty football with a 5.67 ADP. Expectations were high coming into his third season. However, he watched a career-high five dropped passes go through his hands and posted just 48 receptions for 680 yards. Frustrated owners watched all season long as Cooper was left with minimal targets, or simply found him running out of position routes.
However, Cooper ended the season with a career-high seven touchdowns, and despite the big drop in production, is still being drafted in the late first to early second rounds of dynasty startups (15.00 ADP). Expect big things to come from him in 2018 as he rebounds from a tough season. At just 23 years old, Cooper should be in line for a jump in production if Crabtree is cut from the Raiders roster. As the main playmaker in the offense, look for an increase in consistent targets as the offense will develop around him this off-season.
Finishing his third season in the league, Roberts posted a career high in receptions (43) to go with 455 yards. However, he scored just one touchdown. With increased upside this off-season due to turnover in coaching, Roberts is one player to keep an eye on as the Raiders will reboot this summer. If Crabtree is to be released, Roberts could receive more consistent snap counts with an uptick in targets in 2018. Until then, he should only be stashed in deeper leagues unless you have the roster space.
A true flex play, Patterson finished his first year with the Raiders with a career low in touchdowns (two rushing) leading to a quite ineffective season for the do-it-all receiver. The 26 year-old remains an interesting play on rosters as he can find the end zone in a variety of ways, but has not proven to be a starting asset since his rookie season in 2013. Patterson is best left on waivers unless a major shakeup occurs this off-season.
At 6’2” 204 pounds, the rookie receiver out of USC has both the size and the speed (4.3 40 yard dash) to make it in the NFL. He was promoted to the active roster in late November, but saw just 16 snaps and failed to make a reception in the final games of the season. He did not produce much in college and seems to be trending the same way in the NFL despite his measurables. Only in very deep leagues would Whitney be a valuable stash as he develops at the pro-level.
Holton enters the final year of his contract in 2018 and has done little from a fantasy perspective to hold value in dynasty leagues. He hauled in three touchdowns on only nine receptions this season, but also coughed up the ball three times to neutralize his effectiveness. Leave him off your rosters for the time being.
Cook enters his tenth NFL season in 2018, coming off a career year in 2017 where he caught 54 passes for 688 yards including two touchdowns. He began this season with a 223.33 ADP (18th round), but after finishing as the seventh-ranked tight end in fantasy with 125 points in PPR formats, Cook’s ADP has jumped to 188.25 (15th round).
Assuming he returns with the Raiders in 2018, Cooks will turn 31 over the off-season. His age and durability are the only lingering questions analysts have at the moment. Expect him to put up very similar numbers this coming season, with the upside of finding the end zone a few more times.
An unrestricted free agent this off-season, the reliable seventh-year veteran should re-sign with the team on a short-term deal to solidify the Raiders options at tight end. Having only caught 26 passes in three years at Oakland, Smith holds no fantasy relevance and shouldn’t be considered for your roster in the coming season.
The Raiders were high on the 6’5”, 245 pounder late in the 2017 season, but unfortunately he did not get any chances to showcase his ability. Brown had a history of dropped passes in college and often had trouble consistently run blocking. The Raiders seem to believe he has improved in these areas and could be willing to increase in workload in 2018 to develop his frame into a reliable target. Unless Lee Smith is left off the roster, Brown still has not shown us enough to be considered fantasy relevant.