The Las Vegas Raiders have been a headliner all offseason with new Head Coach Josh Mcdaniels and the acquisition of Davante Adams. These headliners have not left the defense room to be seen or heard, and now that things are settling, we start to see the more important defensive players than we did throughout the summer.
Patrick Graham enters his first season with the Silver and Black in 2022, bringing with him his 13th year of experience in the NFL, including three years as defensive coordinator. Graham brings in his 4-2-5 defensive scheme, quickly becoming the new normal in football all over the country, from high school to the NFL.
Crosby is coming off a 2021 performance of 56 tackles and eight sacks in 17 games, an effort that landed him a big payday with a four-year extension worth $95 million with $53 million guaranteed. His consistency got him paid because his numbers are not eye-popping. Crosby has not missed a game in his three seasons while averaging eight sacks a year. This season I expect a mid-DL2 performance with the upside of high DL2. Trade for him for the consistent plug-in with a high upside performance is always possible.
Chandler Jones is at the ripe old age of 32 and has double-digit sacks in seven of the last nine seasons. Although 2020 is an outlier, he missed 12 games due to injury. However, the most intriguing stat aside from the sacks is his ability to strip the ball, which is uncanny. He had six in 2021 and eight in 2019, with a career average of four FF per season minus the 2020 season. Chandler should be starting on any team with DL as long as he plays in the NFL. Do not trade any future assets; more move a depth piece you have to acquire him.
Divine looks to have secured the weak side linebacker position over Jayon Brown to start the season. He is eligible to play linebacker/ defensive back, a cheat code in the fantasy game. Using the ability to start an LB at DB is clutch when you have to start a safety/corner underperforming is a great way to get ahead of your competition.
Perryman is the leader in the middle of this defense, and last season, PFF ranked him 16th among linebackers in run defense last year and second in pass rush, but his coverage grades (41st) slot him as the 26th-ranked linebacker overall. Denzel looks to be a mid-low LB2 because of his coverage skills, so keep an eye out for third downs. Worth trading for if you need a starting LB that shouldn’t cost an arm and leg.
Johnathan Abram/ Duron Harmon
Abram has dealt with injuries since setting foot in the NFL, although he put together a solid 2021 performance amassing 114 tackles. It’s not his tacking ability that worries me. His coverage skills are lacking, and he has become a liability on passing downs, which won’t do in the league. I think we see more of Abram in the box and passing situations keeping him on and taking off an LB, then putting Duron on the backside of the defense to help sure up the pass. They cant he deny the pass rushing and tackle ability Abram brings to the table and don’t want to lose that on passing downs. Furthermore, Abram is a low-end DB2 or high-end DB3, and Duron is more DB3/ bye week filler until we see what the Raiders are going to do.
Moehrig started all 17 games in his rookie season at free safety. His numbers don’t suggest that he will be helping your team outside of bye week fillers and injuries. Although, he can be a low-end DB3 hitting and missing throughout the season.
Bringing in Jones makes this front seven so much better regarding fantasy points. He is a force that will give players like Crosby, Deablo, Abrams, and Moehrig who will see a significant uptick in their fantasy performance. Also, the Raiders play in the toughest division in the NFL, with quarterbacks Mahomes, Herbert, and new to the division Russell Wilson. In conclusion, this means six games will be in shootouts more than likely, and those are the games in that IDP makes the most significant impact.
Make sure you subscribe to the #NerdHerd, where you get exclusive content, dynasty/rookie/devy rankings, buy/sell tool, and a bonus podcast too. Dynasty Nerds also recently launched the #DynastyGM tool, a complete game-changer in the fantasy industry. Click here for a free trial. We truly are your one-stop shop for all your fantasy football needs!