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. The Oakland Raiders have overhauled their linebacker group after some disappointing results last season. They have seven-year veteran Tahir Whitehead, who they signed last year to man the middle of the defense. He has been everything they could ask for and now this year, they get him some help on each flank. First, they signed Vontaze Burfict, formerly of the Bengals, to be their starting strongside backer. I have already written an article on this acquisition, so be sure to check it out. Their next move was to sign former Denver Bronco Brandon Marshall, to be their weakside linebacker. This signing is the one will talk about in this piece.
In his six years in Denver, Marshall was a key piece to their defense, but the only issue was him failing to stay healthy. He missed 10 games over the last three seasons, but when on the field he was a playmaker. He was having a solid year last season when a knee injury hampered part of his season. In his full seasons with the club, he was a lock for one hundred plus tackles, with seventy-five of the solo variety.
He didn’t provide a lot of pass rush, but that wasn’t what they asked him to do. They wanted him to stop the run and be a solid defender in pass coverage, and that’s what he gave them. In those three full seasons, he produced twenty-six tackles for a loss and six and a half sacks. To go along with that, when he dropped into coverage, he would record two interceptions and seventeen pass deflections. A very active three-down linebacker, who they relied on heavily.
This is exactly what the Raiders hope they can get from a fully healthy Marshall when they signed him to a one year deal worth up to $4.1 million. With him, in place, they now have a veteran linebacker group that they can rely on. All three bring a completely different style, and I believe they will complement each other very well. With a rebuild of what Gruden wants in Oakland is in full swing, the linebacker group will be counted on to provide the veteran leadership and stability for the defense. Marshall will be replacing Marquel Lee, who was ineffective as a starter. This will be a homecoming of sorts for Marshall, who is a Las Vegas native, as he will step in as the starter and give them that playmaker presence they have been needing.
What does all this mean in the world of fantasy? Well, fantasy owners should expect a solid return investment if they can acquire him cheap. I would grade him as a high-end LB3 option right now. This will allow you to maximize his value for him. He’ll provide some solid, reliable IDP play and as long as you’re not counting on him as one of your top 2 options at linebacker, then you should be perfectly fine. If he stays healthy, one hundred plus tackles isn’t a stretch, and anything extra after that should be considered a bonus.
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 several different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers. #IDPNation