Carson Palmer was the 13th best fantasy quarterback in 2010, averaging 17.6 points per game. He was the 15th best fantasy QB in 2009 at 15.9 points per game. That gives one optimism that he can still be serviceable. Just how serviceable is what we all want to know.
What we do know is that the Raiders are a run-based offense and have Darren McFadden to lead that attack. Oakland has attempted the second-most carries in the league this season (160) and the 10th-fewest pass attempts (179).
The Raiders’ receiving corps, due to injuries, due to it being a run-based offense, due to their abilities, has been an inconsistent bunch. Only three times has an Oakland receiver scored in double digits this season (Denarius Moore in Week 1 and Darrius Heyward-Bey in Weeks 4 and 5).
We also know that Palmer has not played since the end of the 2010 season. So we don’t know what kind of football shape he will be in. We know his arm is not what it once was. We know that he has a penchant for throwing interceptions, averaging 12.5 per year.
Will he play this week against a Kansas City team that is 12th worst against fantasy quarterbacks? Doubtful. Even if they do roll him out there against the Chiefs, would you take the chance?
The Raiders have a bye in Week 8, and we will probably see Palmer’s debut Nov. 6 against Denver. So he could serve as a bye-week replacement for those losing QBs in the final two bye weeks (Weeks 9 and 11). Assuming his debut is against Denver, Palmer will face five teams currently in the bottom 12 against fantasy QBs to close out the fantasy season, including Miami (26th), Green Bay (30th), Detroit (6th) and Kansas City (21st) in the four playoff weeks.
Bottom line: Pick him up if you have the room. A combination of a legitimate running game, a number of playmakers, albeit inconsistent, and a favorable schedule make him a good back up that could emerge as a 16-25-point guy per week and even more in the playoff weeks. Plus, if you have the room, hoard him for now and see if you can use him as trade bait later on.
By Corby Yarbrough, @Corby_Yarbrough