Raiders vs Colts
During the Raiders’ bye week, the organization made another drastic change to the future of the franchise. The team traded away former first-round pick Amari Cooper to the Cowboys for their first in the 2019 draft. Head coach Jon Gruden has started the rebuild of the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have had a devastating season, resulting in a 1-6 record and are in a prime spot at a top 3 pick in the 2019 draft. With the pick that acquired Cooper, they now own two top ten picks in the 2019 draft. These are in addition to the two first round picks (2019, 2020) acquired from the Bears in the infamous Khalil Mack trade. The Raiders are most likely not done either, as they have announced that second-year safety Karl Joseph is on the market for the right price. All that being said, they still have half a season left and in Week 8 will face the red-hot Andrew Luck and the Colts.
Per game averages
266. 7 (21st)
P. Yards Allowed
R. Yards Allowed
Derek Carr and the offensive line will look to outmaneuver and overpower the Colts defensive line. In last game in Week 6 Carr finished as QB30 and is currently QB26 on the season. Similarly, after the Week 6 loss, the offensive line was graded as 27th in the league according to Pro Football Focus. The Colts, however, don’t wield a serious threat to rushing the passer, ranking 22nd according to PFF.
The Raiders skill positions look a bit depleted with the losses of Cooper and Lynch but will look to produce against a lackluster Colts coverage unit. Although, the Colts do boast a promising rookie linebacker in Darius Leonard, as the Raiders prepare for Week 8 he is the player to scheme against. Coach Gruden has named Doug Martin the starting running back but has alluded to using Jalen Richard a bit more. They will be facing a Colts team that has allowed 18.47 fantasy points to running backs per game which is hovering below league average at 17th. With Cooper, gone the Oakland wide receiving corps is without a true go-to guy. This, however, opens an opportunity for Martavis Bryant and Seth Roberts to see a bit more targets come their way. While Jordy Nelson will continue to see play outside, slot duties will be vacant and ripe for the taking. Tight end Jared Cook should see an uptick in his workload to as he is already the team’s leading contributor through the air. However the competition against the Colts may prove overbearing as they allow only 7.96 fantasy points per game to tight ends and the Colts coverage unit (linebackers, defensive backs) was graded the 13th best unit so far according to PFF.
Andrew Luck and the Colts offensive line will clash with the Raiders porous pass rush after coming off a four touchdown performance against the Bills in Week 7. Luck comes in as QB4 despite a lack of weapons or a concrete offensive line. The offensive line has been shuffling and reshuffling all year to find the best fits around rookie first-round pick Quenton Nelson. They have been surprisingly good, coming in at tenth according to PFF. The Raiders finished 31st in the league in pass rushing grading out to a 58.3.
Colts running backs and receivers alike will devour a Raiders defense which allows 23.27 fantasy points to opposing running backs per game and 29.3 ppg to receivers. Which is good for 7th and 5th worst, respectively. Hilton was coming off an injury last week against the Bills and the team eased him back in, only throwing his way four times despite converting two into touchdowns. Tight end Eric Ebron also looks to take advantage of a Raiders pass defense unit that has been graded dead last essentially all season. Another huge addition for the Colts was Marlon Mack from off the injury report only to have the game of his life. The second-year back carried the ball 19 times for 126 yards will tallying two receptions on three targets for 33 yards while piling on two touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Nyheim Hines will also be involved as the Colts view him as one of the team’s better receiving options however against the Raiders, but they may use Wilkins more to spell Mack.
A few major notes that need to be kept in mind.
START or SIT
Chester Rogers/ Ryan Grant
Most of the Raiders will be must sits. After coming off such an eventful bye in a season without a sustainable offense it will be difficult to pick any Raiders. If this week the injury bug or the bye week blues are affecting your running backs, Martin will receive the volume in order to be a viable flex play. He will look to take over the Lynch role and has natural pass catching ability. With the Raiders surely playing catch up, Jalen Richard will also be viable against the Colts - at least as a flex play. Cook is the only other start that is worth considering at such a shallow fantasy position. Without a main target, Carr may funnel targets towards Cook.
Mack is not scheduled to miss any more time, however if he is unable to practice this week the Colts will be forced to use Hines and Wilkins again. In this scenario, Hines would be the startable asset due to his pass catching ability. I have Rogers as a flex start this week as he comes in as the closest thing to a second receiver Luck has outside of Ebron. This defense has had its ups and downs in the fantasy realm but against the raiders they will look to get back on track.