Not much went well for the 2012 Oakland Raiders. That includes the defensive side of the ball, especially in terms of fantasy production. In ESPN standard leagues, the Raiders ranked 29th with only 36 fantasy points.
They were one of only two teams in the NFL without a defensive or special teams touchdown last year. They also had the second-fewest sacks in the league and allowed the fifth-most points. ESPN, in fact, expects them to be even worse this year, pre-ranking them dead last in the league.
Because of this, the Raiders will most certainly be no part of your fantasy football plans in 2013. The only possibility is if they stay competitive throughout the first half of the season. There is a stretch from weeks 12-16 where they play mediocre offenses including the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets and San Diego Chargers. So if they prove to have any sort of value, they could be considered a late season waiver claim, but even that is a stretch. Let’s look at what that would take.
The secondary is very experienced and will provide the most stability amongst the Raiders defense. With Mike Jenkins, Charles Woodson and Tracy Porter, hopefully they can force a few turnovers in the backend.
The projected starting defensive line had only 5.5 sacks combined last season, so it would be a reach to say they will improve in that category.
Hopefully an improvement on the offensive side of the ball will help the defense. If they can cut down on turnovers and improve their time of possession, it will put less pressure on the defense in short-field situations.
Put it this way, you’re probably not sitting pretty if the Raiders are your starting fantasy defense. But keep an eye on them towards the middle of the year just in case.