The secret weapon on the Raiders offense is ready to be unlocked

By Chinmay Kulkarni

The Las Vegas Raiders, over the past several seasons have not been a team to bet on making the playoffs. Being a hotbed for inconsistency, mediocrity, and notorious for being in the news for all the wrong reasons, the former team from Oakland is having one of its better seasons in 2021, vying for an AFC West title in an extremely competitive division chock-full of extremely talented rosters (and then the Broncos). The Raiders are very prone to finishing 3rd or 4th in the division, going 8-8, 7-9, and 4-12 over the past three seasons. This year however is looking different, with good play from Derek Carr, a good running game, and an improving defense, the Raiders are poised to make waves in the wild card race if they continue to win games.

The Raider’s field general, Derek Carr stands in the inevitable ‘no man’s land’ of are they elite QBs, with the likes of Joe Flacco, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Matt Ryan. This year, offensive team building seems to have clicked for the Raiders especially with their wide receiver group. With the removal of Henry Ruggs from Raiders organization, the backs and auxiliary wide receivers have been given the spotlight. A standout star, Hunter Renfrow, is best poised to make a potential leap to star, household name WR1, from an on field perspective, and fantasy football perspective.

Hunter Renfrow, judging from his Instagram, looks like a B-tier caddie that you see on TV during the Masters Golf Tournament.  However, don’t lets his 5’10’’ smaller frame fool you, this man runs routes like the best. Renfrow leads the Raiders wide receiver group in targets, only paling in comparison to Darren Waller, a top 5 tight end in the league, stand in good company. Renfrow leads the entire team in receptions, yards, and receiving TDs.

The Raiders are an extremely boring offense, only having like 4 or so things that they really do when possessing the ball. Here is my, probably wrong list of exactly that –

  1. Run the ball down the opponent’s throat using Josh Jacobs
  2. Derek Carr closes his eye and throws the ball to Darren Waller for a completion
  3. Checkdown to Hunter Renfrow
  4. Rail it deep to DeSean Jackson

This is my impression of the Raiders offense — in is a lesser version.

In typical short-yardage situations, Hunter Renfrow is the automatic target to get 1st downs. Carr averages 8 air yards per throw to Renfrow and has been exceptionally good at it throughout the season. Fantasy owners have Renfrow’s route running to thank for his production, and as a result has catapulted him to a top-30 WR in fantasy in all formats. In dynasty leagues he also stands as an excellent investment, on pace to shatter his previous single-season total yards, receptions, and TDs without a doubt.

Any great offense can be stopped by a great defense, and fortunately, the AFC West is mostly devoid of them – the Chiefs let up a ridiculous amount of points, the Chargers can’t stop the run to save their life, and the Broncos are hit or miss. Other games on this season’s schedule include the Bengals – who can beat the Ravens one week and then lose to Mike White – and the Cowboys, likely matching up Trevon Diggs with Renfrow. The outlook looks positive and Renfrow should have a great time to flousish in the Raider’s offense.

Hunter Renfrow is the quintessential don’t judge a book by its cover player. Some may laugh at his shortish appearance, but fantasy players everywhere should be on watch, this guy is someone that all players should look to roster if still on waivers.

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