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Does the Raiders Offense Have Any Fantasy Value?


From KFFL.Com

By: Jim Hohmann; Edited by: Ryan Dodson 

The Oakland Raiders have signed quarterback Daunte Culpepper (Miami Dolphins) after he passed a physical with the team. Culpepper signed a one-year contract worth $3.2 million with $750,000 in guaranteed base salary.

Culpepper still has the talent to perform well. He hasn’t had much recent success, though, as his seasons in 2005-06 were shortened by serious damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament in his knee. However, the last time he was able to play a full season, he threw for 4,717 yards and 39 touchdowns.

Table: Daunte Culpepper‘s Stats from 2004-2006



Pass Yds



Comp. Pct.

Rush Yds






















Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin said the decision to bring in Culpepper was partly due to the absence of their first overall draft pick, quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Russell is holding out of training camp, and contract negotiations have been slow with him. It has been said that the team is still weeks away from signing Russell, making it very doubtful that he would be ready for the start of the season.

Culpepper does not have much competition if Russell’s holdout continues much longer. He will have to compete with quarterbacks Josh McCown and Andrew Walter, who have been splitting time with the first-string offense. McCown has more starting experience, most notably with the Arizona Cardinals in 2004. In that season, he played in 14 games, passing for 2,511 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Walter, who was drafted by the team in 2005, started in eight games last year and threw for 1,677 yards with three touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Neither McCown nor Walter has shown they have the talent to succeed in the NFL.

The team will likely turn to wide receiver Jerry Porter as their No. 1 receiver after trading Randy Moss to the New England Patriots. While Porter did almost nothing in 2006, mostly due to a conflict with head coach Art Shell, he was a productive player in 2004 and 2005. He hit the 900-yard mark in both seasons. Ronald Curry is expected to be the team’s No. 2 receiver this season. He did well last year, catching 62 passes for 727 yards with one touchdown. There are some risks with Curry, especially after he spent most of the 2005 season on Injured Reserve with a torn Achilles’ tendon.

The team has Mike Williams, who they acquired from the Detroit Lions, as a No. 3 option. Williams has been a disappointment but can’t be written off yet, especially since he will be reunited with Kiffin, who worked with him at the University of Southern California. They could also turn to four-year veteran Doug Gabriel or Johnnie Lee Higgins, who they drafted in the third round out of the University of Texas at El Paso.

The team drafted tight end Zach Miller, who was highly rated coming out of Arizona State, in the second round of this year’s draft. The team cut starter Courtney Anderson loose for Miller to take over. While he isn’t expected to be a big factor this season, he could be one in years to come.

One of the biggest concerns for Oakland’s starting quarterback is the offensive line. The team easily had one of the worst offensive lines last season as they allowed 72 sacks. Even mobile quarterback Aaron Brooks was sacked 26 times in eight games. If the offensive line improves, it will likely be due to experience and improved health.

The only major addition made to the offensive line was tackle Cornell Green, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year and has not started a game since 2003. Green is expected to start for the team. The team also signed center Jeremy Newberry (San Francisco 49ers), who isn’t a very reliable option after he missed the entire season last year with a knee injury.

To make things harder for Culpepper if he does start, the team does not have much of a running game to take the pressure off the quarterback. Expected starting running back LaMont Jordan simply hasn’t shown he can be very efficient, with a 3.8 yards-per-carry average in his two seasons with the Raiders. The team’s No. 2 running back will likely be Dominic Rhodes once he finishes his four-game suspension. Even though he is well-known for his Super Bowl heroics, Rhodes wasn’t very efficient last year either as he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry.

Fantasy Impact

Even though Russell has not signed a contract yet, it still would not be a surprise to see him become the team’s Week 1 starter. The addition of Culpepper, along with the continued holdout, slightly lowers Russell’s fantasy value in single-season leagues, which wasn’t very high anyways. Culpepper’s role with the team has not been clarified and until it is, he should be seen as someone with very little fantasy value.

Even if the Raiders start Culpepper for Week 1, his value is very limited with little in the way of quality talent around him, a poor offensive line and no running game to speak of. Depending on how his situation turns out, he could be a late-round flier. However, expectations for him shouldn’t be too high, and he should not be drafted as anything more than a No. 3 fantasy quarterback.

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