Jacoby Ford back at practice for Raiders, sparking renewed interest for fantasy leagues

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After missing 24 games in the last two seasons, Ford is hoping to finally be healthy again. He returned to practice on Saturday, but is there hope for a full season for fantasy owners?

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Jacoby Ford found himself in a familiar place during training camp this year when he missed five days of practice with a muscle strain in his left leg, but Ford was back at practice on Saturday and reportedly looked quite good out there. CSNBayArea's Scott Bair noted that Ford looked "as agile as ever" during "several quality reps" with the team.

Ford has barely worked with head coach Dennis Allen, after having missed all of 2012 with a foot injury. So Allen and new offensive coordinator Greg Olson are getting their first real opportunity to work with the speedy receiver and still discovering the best ways to utilize him in a new offense.

The Raiders fired offensive coordinator Greg Knapp after one season and replaced him with Olson, the former offensive coordinator of the Lions, Rams, and Buccaneers. He spent last season as the assistant head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, but is now looking to turnaround a Raiders offense that finished 18th in yards and 26th in scoring in 2012. Allen is hopeful that the additions of Olson, quarterback Matt Flynn, and the return of the receiver Ford are enough to dramatically improve Oakland's offense.

Fantasy Impact: The most important question for the Raiders and for fantasy owners of Ford isn't whether or not he has the ability, but whether or not he can stay healthy. After gaining 470 yards on 25 catches in his 2010 rookie season, Ford missed eight games in 2011 and then all of 2012. He has started just 12 games in his three-year career, but could now be relied upon as a critical cog in an offense that will require big play ability on short and intermediate slant routes.

That happens to be Ford's specialty, but will he be able to play more than a handful of games? Getting back to practice on Saturday was the first step.

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