The Raiders haven’t been fantasy relevant for what seems like a long time. But the team made a move in that direction by signing a guy that won’t score many direct fantasy points. The Raiders signed FB Lorenzo Neal in a move that should be viewed as good news for RB Darren McFadden. The move might also give the Ravens a true No. 1 running back.
Neal is one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL, most recently leading the way for LaDainian Tomlinson from 2003-07 and helping the Ravens finish fourth in the NFL in 2008 rushing for 148.5 yards per game. The Raiders passed on offensive linemen in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, going with a veteran patchwork crew. Neal should definitely impact McFadden, who is currently ranked as the No. 25 fantasy running back by Michael Fabiano.
Does this move vault McFadden into the Top 10? McFadden still has injury issues plus a crowded backfield that includes Justin Fargas, Michael Bush and the newly signed potential touchdown vulture Gary Russell. I am not ready to make a complete leap of faith with any Raiders player, but I’m bullish on this move. McFadden is already a flex guy, but could have a high upside. Remember, McFadden was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and battled a toe injury. This is a good move for the Raiders.
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Le’Ron McClain is lining up at fullback during this weekend’s minicamp, creating space for RB Ray Rice. McClain was the Ravens’ leading rusher in 2008, running for 902 yards in a befuddling running back-by-committee by coach John Harbaugh. But don’t celebrate yet. Who is going to end up getting the goal-line carries? McClain had 10 rushing touchdowns last year.
Harbaugh is going to do it to us again, isn’t he?
- Lions RB Kevin Smith wants to be more involved in the offense this season, and he told the Detroit Free Press that he wants to catch more passes out of the backfield. Remember that, PPR guys. And with Jon Kitna moving to Dallas, Smith has taken the mantle of Lions player making outlandish predictions. Smith said on his website that the Lions will be in the playoffs this season.
- Good news for Steve Slaton: Offensive line coach Alex Gibbs will remain with the team, according to the Houston Chronicle.