Hard Knocks 2019: Black and Silver
All publicity is good publicity, however, HBO’s Hardknocks could actually be worse than the Madden curse.
The Oakland Raiders are about to become the 14th NFL team to be featured on the HBO series that started back in 2001. And they may be in store for a rough season. Of the seven teams to appear in the series since a break in 2011, only two teams went on to have a winning record. Those two teams, the Texans in 2015 and the Bengals in 2013, did make the playoffs but were each bounced in the first round – the Chiefs beat the Texans 30 to nothing! The combined record of the seven teams is 49 wins 62 losses and 1 tie – only a 44% win rate.
A review of BetAmerica Sportsbook has the Raiders tied for 8th worst odds to win the Superbowl – currently tied with the Giants and Broncos. So it’s fair to say that there are not many positive expectations for the Raiders going into the 2019 season.
So how is this going to affect the Raiders in terms of fantasy production? Let’s break it down by position – first up, running backs. Josh Jacobs is the rookie expected to take the lead role with spells provided by Doug Martin or Jalen Richard. You’re hoping your fantasy RB is ahead in games leading to more opportunities to run the ball. However, as the odds suggest the Raiders are not expected to win many games and probably won’t be ahead much either. That does open the door for potentially a little more receiving work as the team will need to pass late in games. Unfortunately, I’m not super high on either of these guys or the Raiders run game in general.
The Raiders’ receiving core is headlined by transplants the most exciting is, of course, Antonio Brown. Lining up outside along Brown is Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant, and J.J. Nelson. Antonio Brown should command his normal target share in the greater than 150 range and it is hard to tell what scraps will be available for anyone else. My biggest concern is the lack of scoring that the Raiders could be facing in 2019. This hampers Brown’s ability to be the fantasy beast we have known and loved – I still love him if you can get him as your WR2. As for the other receivers, someone will emerge at some point and I will consider them a waiver wire pick up once that happens.
Tight End Darren Waller has been getting some sleeper love especially in BestBall Leagues lately. But he is currently behind Luke Wilson and Derek Carrier. Similar to the wideouts after Brown, this tight end group is best left alone in until someone proves that they are the number one. And even then there might not be enough offense to make the Raiders’ TE valuable in most fantasy line ups.
Last but not least, the field general himself, Derek Carr. As much as I want to believe in Carr’s fantasy potential, I just don’t have high hopes for him for fantasy in 2019. There could be a boost in touchdowns given the sheer talent of AB84 but there are a lot of things that will need to click for this offense to fire on all cylinders.
I totally expect this season to be entertaining, especially Jon Gruden, but perhaps the most exciting thing for the 2019 Oakland Raiders after the filming of Hardknocks will be the 2020 season. Both the Browns and Rams have turned into princes after having toad years immediately following Hard Knocks.