Huddlegeeks.com Fantasy Football: Silver and Black Makeover
Have you ever watched one of those home makeover shows where the ‘crew’ from whatever show it is, takes a seemingly ordinary house or room and makes it into some fantastic dream room that the owner usually is ecstatic about? Al Davis must have watched a few of these shows while his team was sitting home for the playoffs and decided he could do the same for his offense. He followed the same basic premise but spent a little more than the usual show and their ‘crew’ does.
The Raiders offense in 2004 had enough talent to be average, but never really made fantasy owner think, “I’m drafting some Raiders this year!” They finished ranked 18th in the league in total scoring offense, scoring an average of 20.0 point per game. They had an offense that could win some games if they played above average defense. Problem was, Oakland finished ranked 30th in total defense so more offense was needed in Raiderland and in a hurry.
The Raiders had some building blocks for a good offense like a strong-armed quarterback in Kerry Collins, a stud of a LT prospect in Robert Gallery, some athletic tight ends in Doug Jolley and Teyo Johnson and a playmaking WR in Jerry Porter. The biggest problem was the fact that the Raiders did not have a guy in the backfield that they could hand the ball to 25 times a game and make a difference. They also needed another receiver to take the pressure and coverage off of Porter. Defenses could concentrate on shutting down the talented receiver and not worry about getting burned by any of the other Raiders receivers. At times, defenses would drop seven defensive backs into coverage to stop Porter because they had no fear of the Raiders ground game.
What a difference and off-season makes!
The Raiders head into the 2005 season as, on paper, one of the most improved teams in the NFL and possibly one of the most explosive offenses in the league as well. Their biggest acquisition, by far, was the trade of LB Napolean Harris and a first round draft pick for Minnesota WR Randy Moss. Moss is the biggest playmaker at the wide receiver position in the game today. He is the kind of player that is tailor made for the traditional Raiders downfield attack. Opposing defenses are no-longer going to be able to concentrate on shutting Porter down when they have to worry about the big play ability of Moss.
Both receivers will allow the Raiders offense to stretch the field and create other opportunities for members of the offense. Safeties will not be able to cheat up to the line of scrimmage for run support because of fear of the deep ball that Collins can deliver to Porter or Moss. This should also open up the middle of the field and allow the tight ends to make plays when matched up on slower linebackers.
The Raiders other big acquisition was running back Lamont Jordan. The Raiders signed Jordan to a 5-year contract to be the feature back in their offense. Jordan was a very productive back when he was given opportunities with the Jets. He was the primary backup to Curtis Martin and the Jets ground game seemed to never miss a beat when Jordan was toting the rock. He rushed for a total of 479 yards with a gaudy 5.2 yards per carry average. The only question about Jordan is if he can produce at that level for an entire season when he is getting 25-30 carries a game. He will certainly get an opportunity to do that as a Raider where his main competition for carries will be either Amos Zereoue or Justin Fargas. Neither seems likely to put up much of a fight.
Jordan and many of his teammates should be a hot commodity come time for your fantasy draft. The Raiders offense figures to be explosive and their defense still figures to be a sieve. This is a great recipe for fantasy production! I just can’t wait for that first Raider vs. Chiefs game. I’m thinking to the over/under on that game to be somewhere near 100!
So, the money has been spent and the improvements have been made. Only time will tell if the improvements will satisfy the owner. One thing is for sure, in the eyes of fantasy football owners the Raiders seem to have completed an extreme offensive makeover.
About the Author
Jason is the editor and webmaster for Huddlegeeks.com, a respected fantasy football analysis website.