QB Carson Palmer (QB - #20) - Over the Hill (decreased production)
Palmer's production in his first season with the silver and black didn't justify the hefty price the old Oakland regime paid for his services. New coach Dennis Allen is committed to keeping the former Bengal as his starter. But expectations need to be tempered for a QB who threw more picks than TDs in an abbreviated 2011 campaign. Palmer will also be learning a new system under a new offensive coordinator; he could be looking at another mediocre year.
RB Darren McFadden (RB - #6) - Stud (low risk)
Run DMC averaged more than 100 rushing yards per game and was having a career year before a Lisfranc sprain cut his 2011 short. Injuries have plagued him throughout his brief NFL career, but he's had plenty of time to recover from this one and should be back to full speed in time for training camp. He'll be the focus of Oakland's offense and will have the chance to pick up where he left off last October.
RB Mike Goodson (RB - #53) - Low Potential
After a strong 2010 (that included back-to-back century mark games midseason), Goodson only saw the field once last year and battled hamstring injuries. He'll need to stay healthy, overcome a fumbling problem and separate himself from Taiwan Jones before he'll have any fantasy relevance. His size and pedigree play in his favor.
RB Marcel Reece (RB - #77) - Deep-league Only
Posted at least 25 receptions for 300 yards or more in each of the last two seasons, but wasn't a factor in the running game. How he fits into the new coaching staff's game plans remains to be seen.
RB Taiwan Jones (RB - #83) - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Jones has a window of opportunity following the off-season departure of Michael Bush. He'll likely start out as a change-of-pace back and will have to distinguish himself in that role before he can be considered a viable backup to McFadden. Undersized, his explosive speed could eventually make him a real difference maker.
WR Denarius Moore (WR - #30) - Sleeper (undervalued)
On a team of speedsters Moore is one step ahead. He was Oakland's best deep threat last year and earned high praise from Carson Palmer. He'll reprise his role as a homerun hitter and will tempt those owners willing to sacrifice consistency for the promise of occasional monster games.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR - #40) - Quality Backup
Despite a mysterious mid-season disappearance that saw him spend two games catchless, Heyward-Bey had his best year as a pro in 2011 and looks to be a player on the rise. If the new coaches show faith in him (and his chemistry with Palmer continues to improve) Heyward-Bey will be in line for a big uptick in production.
UPDATE (8/10): Heyward-Bey has not yet heard from the league regarding discipline for his April 7 DUI arrest and subsequent no contest plea. A suspension is highly unlikely.
WR Rod Streater (WR - #86) - Not Draft Worthy
Undrafted rookie Rod Streater has a decent chance to work himself into Oakland's receiver rotation and will likely start the season as Denarius Moore's backup.
TE Brandon Myers (TE - #22) - Deep-league Only
Kevin Boss surprisingly flamed out in Oakland and was released this offseason. That leaves overachieving Brandon Myers as the de facto number one. New coordinator Dennis Allen likes using two-tight end sets, which could give Myers a bump towards fantasy usefulness.
PK Sebastian Janikowski (K - #3) - Solid/Safe Pick
Janikowski has a strong leg and modest accuracy. Despite missing a game, he finished last season eighth in the league in individual scoring. If you believe the Raiders will top their 8-8 mark of a year ago, you should trust that Janikowski will put up better numbers this season as well.
Oakland Defense (Def - #29) - Deep-league Only
Defense was generally a weakness for the Raiders in 2011, though they did excel at forcing interceptions. With little offseason player movement of significance (and a rookie defensive coordinator now calling the shots), Oakland may once again struggle to keep opponents from putting points on the board.