QB Derek Carr | Oakland Raiders | 5th Year
2017 Stats: 3,496 passing yards, 22 TD, 13 INT
After a promising 2016 season, the Oakland Raiders fell off across the board last year. Derek Carr was the biggest symbol of that, with drops in completion percentage, yards per attempt and yards per game. New head coach Jon Gruden was notably hard on quarterbacks in his previous head coaching life and seems set to be so again, and to this point Carr has said all the right things about welcoming a push.
Carr suffered a back injury in Week 4 last year, but he only missed one game. Any lingering effects from the broken leg that ended his 2016 campaign early should also be noted. But despite being pressured on just 27 percent of his dropbacks last year (third-fewest in the league), Carr’s quarterback rating under pressure was the fourth-worst (both via Pro Football Focus). Add in seven interceptions on passes of 20-plus yards in the air (tied for most in the league), and a middle of the pack adjusted completion percentage (16th out of 29 qualifiers) despite Raiders’ receivers accounting for the second-most drops in the league, and it’s hard to find an area Carr did not regress significantly last year.
The Raiders cut Michael Crabtree this offseason, while adding Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant at wide receiver. The other notable skill position player added this offseason is running back Doug Martin, whose production in all facets has fallen off a cliff in the last two seasons.
Carr has acknowledged, obviously, how the back injury affected him the rest of last season. Better health, and being further removed from his broken leg, should only benefit him this year.
Carr only had three weekly finishes as essentially a fantasy starter (ESPN leagues) last year, and none after Week 7. From Week 7-Week 9 he has 417, 313 and 300 passing yards, and he had at least 287 passing yards in four of six games from Week 7-Week 13. But he had multiple passing touchdowns just twice in that “peak” span, and over his last 13 games Carr had multiple passing touchdowns three times.
Outside of Amari Cooper, Carr’s supporting cast doesn’t reek of upside and the Raiders seem likely to run the ball a fair bit. His current ADP is in the QB2 range (QB13, pick 9.05 on Fantasy Football Calculator; 12-team standard scoring), which is where it should be s.
Derek Carr 2018 Projection: 3,190 yards, 26 TD, 15 INT
Rebound Percentage: 55%
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