Fantasy Power Rankings No. 32 — Oakland
Welcome to the 2014 fantasy power rankings, where we’ll try to make sense of one of the most nonsensical phenomenas in sports writing: power rankings. This series will rank the NFL teams from No. 32 down to No. 1 in terms of what they offer fantasy football owners.
The fantasy power rankings series takes a statistical approach to ranking the teams, using a mix of 2014 projections and data from 2011-2013. The statistical approach is meant to eliminate as much bias as possible from the ranking process.
The rankings assume a points-per-reception (PPR) league with a starting roster of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end and one flex. Kickers and defenses are not included in these power rankings, so keep that in mind. For what it’s worth, even if kickers and defenses were included it would have made little to no difference in the overall rankings, but I will make note of it a team has a kicker or defense is worth mentioning.
The rankings do not simply count the number of viable fantasy options a particular team has. Rather, each individual player received a “value” grade. The values were determined by each player’s position, projected points and projected finish within the position (i.e. No. 14 overall running back).
The values were then normalized using recent historical data (2011-2013). For example, 2014 projections say the 22nd highest-scoring receiver will score about 69 percent the amount of fantasy points the highest-scoring receiver is projected to score. However, recent history says the 22nd highest-scoring receiver only scores about 58 percent the amount of points as the highest-scorer. Discrepancies like this are factored into each player’s “value” score in order to balance estimates with hard data.
The projected top 24 quarterbacks, top 48 running backs, top 60 wide receivers and top 24 tight ends all received fantasy value grades for this series. While this does not cover every single player the league, it covers the players that will be in fantasy lineups or will serve as top backups. “Sleeper” potential is not factored into these rankings as there is no way to put a numeric value on it.
With no legitimate fantasy starters to speak of, the Oakland Raiders pull up the rear in the 2014 fantasy power rankings.
Rod Streater was fantasy’s 33rd highest-scoring receiver in PPR leagues last season, and Rashad Jennings was the 24th highest-scoring running back, making those two players the best Oakland had to offer. Streater remains on the team — but his value has diminished because of the addition of James Jones and Oakland’s uncertain quarterback situation — and Jennings is now in New York, meaning Oakland retained just half of its already poor fantasy provisions from one year ago.
Oakland’s fantasy firepower checks in 60.8 percent below the league average. In a similar vein, Oakland offers just 22.2 percent of the fantasy firepower the NFL’s best team offers (we’ll get to them later).
Since Oakland doesn’t have much to give fantasy owners, there isn’t a whole lot to say. We don’t even know who the team’s quarterback is going to be, and considering it’s a debate between Matt Schaub and Derek Carr I’m not holding my breath.
Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew offer a nice one-two punch on paper, but each figures to eat into the other’s snaps so often that each player’s ceiling is essentially cut in half. Despite the familiarity of both of those names, Oakland has just the 29th best backfield in the league from a fantasy perspective.
The wide receiver situation is even worse, as Oakland checks in at No. 30 in that department. As previously mentioned, the team added Jones in free agency, a familiar name and touchdown threat from Green Bay. However, with no Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball he could soon turn into the “ex-touchdown threat.”
Jones, Jones-Drew and McFadden are what Oakland figures to bring to the table in terms of starters and bench players. One of those players (McFadden) has been an annual letdown, two of those players are fresh to the team (Jones and Jones-Drew) and two of those players will be competing against one another for snaps (McFadden and Jones-Drew). That — coupled with the uninspiring quarterback situation — is not a recipe for fantasy success.
It should be noted that running back Marcel Reece and the aforementioned Streater barely missed the cutoff, meaning their impact on Oakland’s fantasy offering is not included in this study. It should also be noted that neither of those two players are being drafted right now, and even if we included their impact the Raiders would still be last.