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Top 5 2013 Fantasy Football Players: Oakland Raiders

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Fantasy Football 2013: Top Five Oakland Raiders

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Fantasy football owners had to look hard to find the silver lining in the “Silver and Black” of the Oakland Raiders on draft day in 2012, but multiple players emerged and sustained some value depending on the roster depth and scoring format of your league.

Running back Darren McFadden again had problems staying on the field, but he did rush for 707 yards and catch 42 passes in the 12 games he played. Fullback Marcel Reece also turned into a viable fantasy option, particularly in PPR leagues, with 52 receptions. Other players that were usable for fantasy owners included quarterback Carson Palmer (4,018 passing yards, 22 touchdowns), wide receivers Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey and, most surprisingly, tight end Brandon Myers.

The Raiders made some changes during the offseason, most notably trading Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals and acquiring Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks to replace him under center. Myers and Heyward-Bey signed elsewhere in free agency, and players that can kindly be called unproven will be asked to fill their roles. The most intriguing of those youngsters, at least from a fantasy perspective, are wide receiver Rod Streater and tight end David Ausberry.

Oakland is again unlikely to offer a plethora of great options for fantasy owners in 2013, but those that don’t let the dismal state of the team alter their perception can still find some valuable contributors at a bargain rate on draft day.

With that, here are the five Raiders I think are the most viable fantasy options on the roster for 2013.

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5. K Sebastian Janikowski

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Janikowski had 118 points last season, continuing a downward trend for him (142 in 2010, 129 in 2011). But he did go 31-for-34 on field goal attempts (a career-best 91.2 percent), including 6-for-9 from 50 or more yards out. Even if the Raiders’ offense does not improve dramatically this year, “The Polish Cannon” is still a viable fantasy kicker at age 35 with added value in leagues that reward distance.

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4. FB/RB Marcel Reece

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Reece had nearly has many catches (52) as carries (59) last season, but he was productive on the ground in the four games McFadden missed from Week 10-Week 13 (261 yards on 54 carries). Rashad Jennings was signed in free agency to be Oakland’s No. 2 tailback, but Reece may be the better fantasy option and is a good choice as a handcuff to McFadden in PPR leagues.

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3. QB Matt Flynn

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Flynn has started just two games in his career, throwing for a combined 731 yards and nine touchdowns in those contests, and now finally gets a chance to start full-time. It remains to be seen how he will look in extended action, and when opposing teams have a chance to prepare for him, but the Raiders are likely to be playing from behind a lot and Flynn should be throwing the ball plenty. Based on pure volume alone, there are worse choices for a QB2 in 12 and 14-team leagues.

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2. WR Denarius Moore

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Moore led all Raiders’ wide receivers in receptions (51) and receiving yards (741), along with a team-leading seven touchdown receptions last season, and 2013 will be his third NFL season. Things seem to be coming together for Moore to step up as the unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver for Oakland, though his deep speed may be a poor fit and yield inconsistent production if Flynn proves to lack arm strength.

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1. RB Darren McFadden

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Mentioning McFadden at this time of the year is always in close proximity to the phrase “if he stays healthy”, but since he has yet to play more than 13 games in a season fantasy owners need to bet on at least a few missed games. But the Raiders have ditched the zone blocking scheme that looked ill-suited to McFadden last season (a career-low 3.3 yards per carry), and he should be plenty motivated in the final year of his contract.