2019 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Why You Should Draft Hunter Renfrow

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Let’s begin with a brief flashback to a simpler time, the 2016 NFL season. DeMarco Murray, LeGarrette Blount and Frank Gore are all top 12 fantasy running backs. The Raiders, Lions, Dolphins and Giants all made the playoffs.

But most importantly, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were, depending on the scoring in place, low-end WR1s or high-end WR2s. Derek Carr finished as the 10th best QB on the season on his way to supporting a very fantasy-friendly offense.

You may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with anything now. Well, it’s proof that when properly coached and while playing with a good team, Carr and his Raiders aren’t quite as useless as we, myself included, have deemed them to be.

Why You Should Draft Hunter Renfrow

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2019 Team Outlook

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The biggest thing holding back the Raiders fantasy performances were without a doubt the number of touchdowns the team could score. Carr’s season totals in 2016 were 3937 yards and 28 touchdowns. Last year his numbers were 4049 yards but only 19 touchdowns.

A big part of this was his clear lack of weapons for the majority of the season. I feel like this part is self-explanatory, but having just Jared Cook and Jordy Nelson in the twilight of their careers isn’t exactly a big-time offense.

But the other major issue addressed was the offensive line. Last year their starting tackles were both rookies and neither one was particularly great. But Brandon Parker and his 46.9 overall grade from PFF was very, very bad.

As much as I believe Trent Brown is overpaid, his overall PFF grade of 71.0 will be a huge improvement. And with the defense still projected to be sub-par, there is plenty of reason to believe Derek Carr can throw for at least 3900-4000 yards again. The question becomes, who’s going to catch the passes.

Expected Role for Hunter Renfrow

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Obviously it’s Antonio Brown‘s team to lead, should he decide to play. And as a firm believer in Tyrell Williams, I believe he can be a solid WR2 for this team. But beyond that, there’s basically an open competition for expected production.

The Raiders have a whopping 328 vacated targets to account for, as the only return players of note are Jalen Richard, Doug Martin and Darren Waller. So the volume is there for all three wide receivers to have fantasy relevance.

Even when we project AB to have as many as 10 targets a game there are still enough vacated targets for Renfrow and Williams to both have flex consideration. And should Brown’s helmet drama/frostbite get in his way of production Williams and Renfrow could see far more stable production.

When you consider defenses having to be concerned with Brown and Williams, Renfrow should rarely if ever deal with excessive coverage. It wouldn’t surprise me if Renfrow played a similar role to Mohamed Sanu and ended with similar production.

The Math

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The main stat I consider when evaluating a slot receiver’s opportunity is the success of his quarterback between 0 and 10 air-yards. This is the depth of target most likely to go to the starting slot receiver and it best predicts the opportunity a new player can expect.

According to Pro-Football Focus, in his first year with Jon Gruden, Derek Carr completed 241 passes on 295 attempts in this range of the field. Which makes for a fairly impressive 76% completion rate.

That was very similar efficiency and volume compared to other much more heavily valued offenses.

These numbers show the subtle efficiency of the Raiders short-range offense. Should these numbers remain consistent there is a possibility of volume similar to much more sought after receivers.

PFF stats also reveal that Carr had a 73.8% completion rate and 15 TDs to only 2 INTs when he wasn’t pressured. This is compared to a 52.7% completion rate and only 4 TDs to 8 INTs while under pressure.

So if he finds himself behind a stronger line this year, there is reason to believe that Oakland can be even more efficient.

My Final Sales Pitch

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According to Fantasy Pros, Renfrow’s ADP in .5PPR is currently WR132. That’s 71 wide receivers after Jamison Crowder, who has a similar situation in New York. And it’s shocking to me that someone who, if AB doesn’t play, has top 25-35 upside is going undrafted in pretty much any league.

In a world where Trey Quinn, Maurice Harris, and Willie Snead all have ADPs in the top 100 receivers, it may be time to show some interest in the forgotten Raiders.

Renfrow has no major injury history, solid college production, and has been praised by Gruden. So while the floor may be low, the ceiling is higher than you might have expected.

Edit (9/5/19)

Antonio Brown has just now gotten into what is apparently a very heated confrontation with GM Mike Mayock.

He is likely facing a multi-game suspension and reportedly jeopardized his guaranteed money. So it is unclear how many games he could miss or if he will even be welcomed back as part of the team.



Renfrow could become dramatically more valuable but it is worth waiting to hear the news from the Raiders officials before deciding anything.


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About Bobby Shepherd

Bobby has played fantasy football since he was first tall enough to reach a draft board. He eats sleeps and breathes stats and is always excited to share his findings.

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  1. Pingback: 2019 Fantasy Football Bold Predictions: F6P Staff Picks - Fantasy Six Pack

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