Raiders tight end Darren Waller (left) and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow sit atop the AFC West. (Chris Unger/Getty Images)
STATS & ANALYSIS PLAYERS & TEAM EARNINGS

Boardroom Bye Week Status Report: Las Vegas Raiders

At 5-2, the Raiders enter their week off tied for the best record in the AFC — and dreaming of their first division title since 2002.

If you’re like most folks out there, Las Vegas is an exciting place to visit, but not the kind of place you want to set up shop — such a thing runs the risk of being ruinous to the body, the psyche, and the checking account.

(And not necessarily in that order.)

Indeed, sometimes you overstay your welcome long past checkout time in this infamous desert oasis. And that’s more or less what happened to Jon Gruden, the now-former Raider head coach who suddenly resigned Oct. 11 at the peak of a scandal involving massively inappropriate email exchanges dating back to his time as an ESPN analyst.

But somehow, despite all the distractions, the Silver and Black are riding high at 5-2 entering their Week 8 bye. They’re atop the AFC West, and nobody across the entire conference has a better record. With that in mind, let’s dive deep on the state of Raider Nation as they hit a valuable weekend off.

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The Silver and Black by the Numbers

Record: 5-2 (tied for No. 1 in AFC, tied for No. 6 in the NFL)

Rushing offense: 85.4 yards/game (No. 28 in NFL)

Passing offense: 307.9 yards/game (No. 2 in NFL)

Scoring offense: 25.7 points/game (No. 10 in NFL)

Rushing defense: 131.3 yards/game (No. 28 in NFL)

Passing defense: 222.7 yards/game (No. 9 in NFL)

Total defense: 354 yards/game (No. 14 in NFL)

Scoring defense: 23.7 points/game (No. 19 in NFL)

2021 Raiders Attendance Figures

The Raiders have played four home games versus three on the road. Let’s take a closer look at their attendance figures so far through seven games:

  • Vegas is averaging 60,547 fans per game (93.1% of capacity) at Allegiant Stadium, which ranks No. 28 in the NFL.
  • In 2019, the last season of full attendance pre-COVID — as well as the team’s last in the Bay Area before the big move — they averaged 52,549 fans per game at the Oakland Coliseum. The current season’s average represents a 15.2% increase over that number.
  • They’ve attracted 242,189 total fans to Allegiant this year, 11th in the league to date.

Raider ROI: Are the Expensive Players Producing?

The Raiders’ salary allocations for the 2021 season total $187,494,052 according to Spotrac, which ranks 11th in the NFL and sits just above the league-average spend of $186,294,932. Their highest-paid players this season by total compensation are:

  1. QB Derek Carr: $19,625,000
  2. DE Yannick Ngakoue: $13,000,000
  3. LB Cory Littleton: $11,661,754
  4. OL Kolton Miller: $11,500,000
  5. DE Carl Nassib: $9,500,000

Carr, the face of the franchise, is making this year count. In his age 30 season, the quarterback has 2,269 passing yards through seven games, which ranks just six measly yards behind Tom Brady for the No. 1 mark in the league. He’s completing better than two-thirds of his passes (67.7%), is fourth in both completions and attempts, and is top 10 in QBR.

And Vegas’ highest-paid defensive player? Mr. Yannick Ngakoue, who’s fresh off earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in his first season in the desert. He doubled his season sack total to four in Sunday’s win over the Eagles.

Looking down the balance sheet, however, the most value of all is coming from Maxx Crosby. A defensive end who’s making just $850,000 on his rookie deal this year, the Eastern Michigan product’s 91.4 Pro Football Focus grade is No. 1 among edge rushers across the NFL.

The capper? Crosby has 47 quarterback pressures on the season — a mark that not only leads the league, but is more than 10 entire teams can say for themselves.

Fantasy Outlook

At 131.66 points in standard ESPN-style formats, Derek Carr enters the bye as the No. 12 quarterback in fantasy football.

This owes to his head-scratching lack of touchdowns — he has just 12 on the year. New Orleans’ Jameis Winston has 13 despite throwing for more than 1,000 fewer yards than Carr.

Among skill players, Josh Jacobs is the No. 22 running back (75.4) in standard PPR, with Kenyan Drake not far behind (70.7). If you combined their fantasy exploits together, they’d collectively be the No. 2 running back in the whole game behind only the superhuman Derrick Henry.

Same story at wide receiver, where Hunter Renfrow (No. 29, 89.9 points) and Henry Ruggs (No. 31, 84.5) are neck and neck.

But the most buzzworthy fantasy player in Vegas this preseason? It’s got to be tight end Darren Waller, who’s having a respectable but far from spectacular campaign. The 2020 Pro Bowler ranks No. 7 in fantasy at his position; with two touchdowns to his name, he’s well off the pace for the nine scores he notched last season.

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