The Las Vegas Raiders opened some eyes in 2021, making the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. Although they lost in the first round, there is optimism heading into the 2022 season, especially with All-Pro wideout Davante Adams now in tow. He’s joined by new head coach Josh McDaniels. However, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Raiders’ win line set at 8.5, which would be a step back from last year’s 10-win campaign.
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.
Here’s a look at our picks to win the training camp battles for the Las Vegas Raiders ahead of your 2022 fantasy football drafts.
Josh Jacobs vs. Kenyan Drake vs. Zamir White
The Raiders didn’t pick up Jacobs’ fifth-year option, meaning he’s a free agent after this season, and they likely won’t lean on him as a true bell cow back following a year in which he mostly played through myriad ailments. However, I’m skeptical that his job as the Raiders’ lead RB is in real jeopardy. He is unquestionably more talented than Drake, who has already been more athlete than a football player, and White, a rookie who profiles best as a bruising, goal-line back type. Jacobs’ stats weren’t great last year — 872 yards on 217 carries in 15 games — but he did play behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league and was rarely healthy. He’s still only 24 years old, is a good pass-catcher and a quality running back, even if he no longer has that top-end speed he entered the league with.
Our pick to win: Josh Jacobs
The more intriguing battle in this backfield will be between Drake and White. Given Jacobs’ injury history, the winner there turns into a very interesting handcuff. Drake won’t be ready for the start of training camp after breaking his ankle in December.
Demarcus Robinson vs. Keelan Cole vs. Mack Hollins
Quarterback Derek Carr targeted Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller on more than one-third of his passes last year. Jacobs picked up 64 targets, too. All of those guys will remain involved in the passing game ... and now here comes Davante. How much will be left for these three? Likely not much until someone gets injured. Robinson, who never did much of anything when Patrick Mahomes was his quarterback, was signed in March to a one-year deal. The early reports on him have not been glowing. Cole and Hollins were both brought in after nondescript seasons with the Jets and Dolphins, respectively.
Our pick to win: Keelan Cole
The runner-up choice was “nobody?” But Cole’s ability to stretch the field gives him an edge here. He averaged 16 yards per catch last year in New York. Carr is not one to push the ball deep downfield often, but when he does, Cole can go get it. Hollins is more of a special-teams player. Fantasy-wise, it’s probably not worth investing in this trio.