It’s that time of year when we see old faces find homes in new places. Sometimes a change of scenery can be bad, but it also can be good. I think in this case that we’re about to discuss, it’s a win-win for both player and team. The news broke late Tuesday evening that the Raiders had signed linebacker Vontaze Burfict, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals.
We all know the history of Burfict’s questionable play during his seven-year stint in Cincinnati. While many dislike him and his style of play, let’s not forget that between the dirty play and suspensions, that Burfict was a formidable player. Therein lies the problem. He’s only played sixteen games twice in his seven years and those were his first two seasons in the league. He’s proved that when he can stay out of trouble and remain on the field, he can make a big impact both in NFL and fantasy. At his peak, he racked up one hundred and seventy-one tackles in sixteen games back in 2013 and most recently tallied one hundred and one tackles in eleven games, during the 2016 sixteen campaign.
The bad is that he has been a repeat offender which has resulted in multiple suspensions. Over the last five seasons, he has missed thirty-eight of a possible ninety-six games played, making him untrustworthy. No denying he can play, but he just can’t be trusted to stay on the field. Now that Marvin Lewis is out as head coach, an overhaul has begun, and with that, the writing was on the wall for Vontaze’s release.
Despite his checkered past of play, it didn’t take long for him to get some interest. One day after being cut by the Bengals, he would be on his way for a visit with the Raiders. Less than 24 hours after being cut he would have a new home, signing with Oakland. Think about it; it makes Burfict sense! Hear me out. His former defensive Coordinator, Paul Gunther, now has the same role in Oakland, so there is a familiarity with each other and the system. Burfict played some of his best ball under Gunther. His best season was in 2013 when he recorded one hundred seventy-one tackles, three sacks, one interception, and seven pass deflections, with one forced fumble and two recoveries. Granted that was almost six years ago, but keep in mind that with all the suspensions, he doesn’t have a ton of wear on his tires.
His violent style of play does take a toll and should be considered. How does he fit on the Raiders? Their linebacking group is less than desirable, with only Tahir Whitehead as the star of the group. Lining Burfict up at ILB next to Whitehead gives Oakland a formidable duo. While they have contrasting styles of play, I believe they will complement each other very well. Outside of Whitehead, there are only a couple of young guys and some journeyman, so Burfict should step in and start right away. It’s a Burfict fit as I think his style is a throwback to the Raiders of old! Al Davis must be doing cartwheels, with excitement and flashbacks to the old days!
As for fantasy, let’s not get too carried away. As I mentioned above, his violent play has taken a toll on his body and how much can you trust him to stay on the field? If you think he can, then I believe he will put up some good fantasy numbers, but if you’re wrong, he can be a total loss. This could be just what he needs to get his career back on track, and his maybe his last chance to do so. He’s not going to lead the league in tackles, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him average around seven or eight per game. He’s also going to give you some big plays; It will be interesting to see how the Raiders use him. With that said, I am thinking he’s a great buy-low option right now and is worth taking a flyer on. Don’t overpay and I think you’ll be fine and get a decent return. All hail the Raiders!!!!
Thanks for reading my article and if you enjoyed it, you can read more of my articles at dynastyfootballfactory.com. You can also follow me on social media, on Twitter at Hollywood@DFF_DWin, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub I’m user KingTitan1, and you can tune in each week and listen to the IDP EdgeCrushers podcast that I co-host, on some different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers. #IDPNation