The Oakland Raiders are not an exciting team for fantasy football purposes. Sorry Raider fans, but you know it’s true. Darren McFadden is made of glass, and Maurice Jones-Drew may or may not bounce back and crack 1,000 yards rushing in 2014. However, there may be a bit of light at the end of the tunnel though in the form of WR Rod Streater.
I know that many people are excited about James Jones this year. Oakland acquired Jones this offseason and signed him to a three-year deal. Jones is intended to be the primary receiver for the Raiders after an impressive run with the Green Bay Packers. But was it really all that impressive?
Jones has only had one really good fantasy season in 2012, when he had 784 yards and 14 TDs. The 14-TD season was a fluke and Jones has only averaged 615 yards per season in his career. Jones was the third or fourth receiving option on his team last year behind Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley, and there’s plenty of doubt as to whether he can carry a team on his shoulders as the primary WR in Oakland.
While many people might draft Jones as a late-round lottery ticket, I’d rather take my chances with Streater if I had to pick a Raiders WR. At 26 years old, Streater will be entering his third season in the NFL. Most people seem to be forgetting that he had almost 900 yards and four TDs in 2013.
Jones is staggering 6-foot-1, 208 pounds. As a veteran with seven years under his belt, Jones can be a great possession receiver and help move the chains. But Streater is entering his prime, and at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, he is a more versatile player. He has the frame to fight for those jump balls and be a legitimate red-zone threat, and Streater has good speed considering his size, running a 4.46 40-yard dash at his Pro Day in 2012.
Of course, neither receiver is high on draft boards because of the QB situation. Matt Schaub is the expected starter, and he had an abysmal 2013 season with the Houston Texans. However, I think Schaub has the ability to bounce back and he may even be a slight upgrade over the tandem of Terrelle Pryor, Matt McGloin and Matt Flynn last year.
Despite Schaub’s horrendous performance last year, Andre Johnson still managed to have a decent year from a fantasy perspective. In games with Schaub last season, Johnson averaged 88 yards per game. The problem was that Schaub failed to connect with Johnson for a single TD in 2013 and Schaub threw for 10 TDs with 14 INTs for the year.
At the end of the day, it comes down to whether Schaub can recover from that mess of a season last year and return to form. I doubt Schaub throws for 4,000 yards in 2014, but I don’t think a 3,000-yard, 20-TD season is out of the question. If Schaub can keep it together, at least one Oakland WR could break out. My bet is on Streater.