Kenyan Drake Signs with Raiders: 2021 Betting & Fantasy Football Outlook

Kenyan Drake signs with Raiders: ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the Las Vegas Raiders have signed RB Kenyan Drake to a two-year deal worth $11 million with a max value of $14.5 million including incentives.



Kenyan Drake Signs with Raiders

Let me get this straight. The Las Vegas Raiders have traded away RT Trent Brown, G Gabe Jackson and C Rodney Hudson, all starters along their offensive front. So what is the Raiders’ answer to a now questionable offensive line and a defunct defense?

Sign a running back.

Not just any running back. Kenyan Drake, arguably a starter on many NFL teams. Moreover, the Raiders already employ Josh Jacobs, an upside starting back with a similar skill set. I’ll tell you one thing, Las Vegas HC Jon Gruden is really taking advantage of his 10-year plan.

Enough with the sarcasm. Drake is a good NFL player with a solid track record in the league. My question is, why did the Raiders sign a back of Drake’s caliber when they already employ Jacobs? They aren’t paying him roughly $5.5 million a year to ride Jacobs’ coat tails and get 8-10 touches a game. Drake will be a factor in the Las Vegas offense.

At first glance, I thought that perhaps, Jacobs was jammed up with a previous DUI charge. However, those charges were dropped in January. So if Drake isn’t a hush-hush insurance policy on Jacobs, the logical explanation for the signing is usage.

In each of the past two seasons, Raiders running backs received 389+ rushing attempts and 86+ receptions on 112+ targets. The opportunity-share is there for sure. Last season, the Raiders ran with Jacobs, Devontae Booker and Jalen Richard. While Richard remains on the team, Booker has departed via free agency to the Giants. We are looking at a Las Vegas backfield that features Jacobs and Drake, who can both catch the football garnering the bulk of the touches while Richard is mixed in on true passing situations.

In the past two seasons, the Raiders finished 11th in team running plays per game. 27.3 (2.08 pace) in 2019 and 28.6 (2.15 pace) in 2020. With Las Vegas’ wide receiver position in question, locked and loaded with young and unproven assets — their best pass-catcher is TE Darren Waller — we could see a significant increase in running back opportunities, especially with the changes along the offensive line and a quarterback in Derek Carr, who remains one of the greatest enigmas in football.

The Raiders are built like a poor man’s Browns offense. Factoring in their defense, the Raiders’ philosophy might be to run the football to protect Carr and keep their defense off the field as much as they can.

Last season with the Cardinals, Drake rushed for 955 yards and 10 touchdowns on 239 carries in 15 games. He also caught a meager 25-of-31 targets for 137 yards and no scores. Meanwhile, Jacobs rushed for 1,065 yards and 12 scores on 273 carries while hauling in 33-of-45 targets for 238 yards and no scores. Drake and jacobs both averaged 4.0 yards per carry and 3.9 yards per carry respectively.


Raiders 2021 NFL Betting Outlook

Raiders AFC West Winner (+1200)

(Odds courtesy of PointsBet)

  • Chiefs (-450)
  • Chargers (+450)
  • Raiders (+1200)
  • Broncos (+1600)

I don’t know what the Raiders are doing. I question if Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden have a clue as well. While the Raiders are slated with the third-best odds to win the AFC West (+1200), it would not surprise me if they fall to the four-spot and flip with the Broncos (+1600). The Broncos have a clue but don’t have a quarterback. If they get one this offseason, I’d certainly bolster their odds ahead of Vegas.

I’m punting the Raiders here. The Chiefs are your best bet to win the West… again.

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Kenyan Drake 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook

While adding Kenyan Drake to a backfield that already includes Josh Jacobs is a solid football move if the Raiders are opting to go in a direction similar to the Cleveland Browns duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, from a fantasy football perspective, this hurts both players.

Sure, Chubb and Hunt both finished as RB1s last season — Hunt was the PPR RB10 while Chubb was the RB11 — we don’t exactly know how Las Vegas will deploy their talented pair of backs. We can assume that they aren’t paying Drake pretty good money (for a running back) to play a change-of-pace, 8-10 touch role, but then again, this is Jon Gruden’s team.

Last offseason, both Drake and Jacobs were viewed as fringe first-round picks. That won’t be the case in 2021. Because these two backs could eat into each other’s upside, their ADP should regress into the third or fourth round — I can see Jacobs still going in the latter portion of the second, however, depending on offseason rumors and coach-speak.

I would still view Jacobs as the primary rusher, but don’t discount Drake or the reason why the Raiders brought him in. Although Jacobs has only missed three games in the first two years of his career, he does play through injuries. Drake could be there to give Jacobs additional rest, which, of course, eats into his workload.


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