Update September 4: Tyrell Williams has been ruled out for the year with his shoulder injury, and that means people will be piling up on Bryan Edwards as the Raiders’ top X receiver. The rookie appears to have solidified himself as a better option than Hunter Renfrow and could be a long-term starter alongside Henry Ruggs.
Update August 31: Williams is questionable to play in Week 1 because of his shoulder injury. The Athletic’s Tashan Reed says Edwards appears to be the top pick for the starting X receiver spot. The rookie is likely to start alongside Ruggs. Edwards could be a top-notch hidden gem worth keeping an eye on for the later rounds of your fantasy draft.
Update August 24: Edwards is rising fast and getting a large share of first-team reps. Derek Carr has had good things to say about the rookie, and it appears like the South Carolina product could knock off Renfrow. Tyrell Williams has a torn labrum, but will attempt to play through it after some rehab. The Raiders’ rookies could be heavily featured in 2020.
In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.
The Raiders added some speed and depth to their wide receiver group when they drafted Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. Last season Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow were the top two wide receivers, but Darren Waller ended up leading the team in targets.
Ruggs is a first rounder and should be able to walk into the starting lineup next to Tyrell Williams without a problem. After those two, Renfrow has the upper hand after a productive rookie season, but Edwards was taken in the third round while Renfrow went in the fifth last year. I expect Edwards at least has a puncher’s chance at taking Renfrow’s job.
Edwards is a player who should be ready for playing time from the jump, so I expect him to make a run at Renfrow’s spot. The question is, does he have enough time to beat him out by Week 1? And the answer is probably not.
Whoever wins the camp battle, if there truly is one, will have plenty of competition for targets from an average quarterback. Waller, Williams, and Ruggs should lead the way in targets while the third wide receiver will have trouble in an offense that wants to run the ball.
Both Renfrow and Edwards have upside as players, but I expect Renfrow to win the job while Edwards works to cut into his snaps, which he very well could. This situation is one to stay away from.