29. Las Vegas Raiders
2020 Record 8–8
Key Additions: Yannick Ngakoue, Casey Hayward Jr., Solomon Thomas, Karl Joseph, Quinton Jefferson
Fantasy Football Starters: Johnathan Abram, Yannick Ngakoue
Gus Bradley will have his hands full as he attempts to improve the defensive unit. Expectations will be high as Gruden enters year 4 in his second stint as the Raiders head coach.
They made it clear they would beef up the secondary by bringing day 1 impact player DB Casey Hayward. The veteran will be expected to shut down the #1 WRs of T. Hill, K. Allen, and C. Sutton, twice… and that is just in his own division. DB Johnathan Abram will be lined up on the line and in the secondary, there is even talk of moving him to LB. When he’s healthy he’s capable of having a high point total.
DL Yannick Ngakoue will be reunited with Coach Bradley and should pace the team in sacks. DL Clelin Ferrell has yet to live up to his 2019 4th overall pick, but has the start over DL Maxx Crosby who underwent off-season physical surgery and treatment. Essentially the fate of their defense, and season, will rest on how much pass rush they can generate.
LB Cory Littleton had an under performing year and will need a bounce back year. Having a large defensive tackle in DL Quinton Jefferson should help ease the pressure.
It will be difficult for the Raiders to keep pace with the back-to-back AFC Conference Champion Kansas City Chiefs, but they did beat them once, and nearly did it twice. I also expect the L.A. Chargers and Denver Broncos to be improved, regardless of who is the QB for the latter. The Las Vegas Raiders have a high probability to start the season 0–3 and still have 6 division games. They will be lucky to split their divisional games, 3–3… implicating they would need to essentially win 7 of the 8 remaining games for a playoff spot. Do not expect great things from the Raiders this year.