Opening Week for the NFL is underway and is capped off by a pair of Monday night games. In the late game, we finally get to the Raiders play football. After an offseason filled with Antonio Brown drama, Oakland moved on from him just before its first game, leaving the offense in rough shape. Let’s look at some players to target in the six-man Showdown slate, and who to use in the critical Captain slot.
Broncos Defense ($7,800): It’s hard to imagine the Raiders’ offense having much success this season. The offense was built under the idea the passing game would improve with the acquisition of Antonio Brown from the Steelers. At the time, the move seemed a bit risky from a personality standpoint, although nobody could have predicted how the situation would unfold. The Broncos have had one of the league’s premier defenses for a while and scoring in Denver has been a difficult task for years. They finished last season ranked fifth in Defensive DVOA, putting an undermanned Raiders passing game in a bad spot. Denver is a home favorite and the 42.5 point total is one of the lowest on the board for Opening Week.
Tyrell Williams ($11,100): Somebody has to catch the ball for the Raiders. Last season’s top receiver, Jared Cook, is now in New Orleans and the short lived Antonio Brown experiment was a failure of epic proportions. This leaves Williams as the defacto go-to guy in the passing game. Even though the matchup is difficult, the opportunity for Williams and potential for double-digit targets helps to offset the situation. Williams has broken a handful of big plays in the past and, at a modest price, it might only take one play for him to payoff his salary.
Phillip Lindsay ($9,000): Predicting regression for Lindsay has been a popular narrative in the offseason. I don’t buy it. The primary knock against him is that he’s going to be sharing a workload this season. While that is likely true, he wasn’t exactly a workhorse last season. Lindsay only had one game with over 20 touches in his rookie year and still averaged 15.5 DKFP per game. I also think it’s notable that his touches slightly increased as the season progressed, leading me to believe he could see a bigger workload this season despite the narrative. He opens the season in a positive matchup against the Raiders, who ranked 22nd in Rush Defense DVOA last season.
Courtland Sutton ($8,000): Sutton is poised to have a breakout season for the Broncos. Last season, he showed promise as the No. 3 receiver and now steps into a bigger role. Demaryius Thomas is no longer on the roster and it’s questionable how effective Emmanuel Sanders ($9,800) will be coming off a torn achilles. This could leave Sutton as the No. 1 receiver in a slightly upgraded Broncos passing attack. Even though I don’t think Joe Flacco ($10,000) is a world beater (or elite), he figures to produce more than what Denver got out of Case Keenum last year.
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