Derek Carr is hoping for a rebound season this year after he struggled in 2017. Carr was the No. 8 Fantasy quarterback in standard leagues in 2016, but he regressed last year to finish at No. 17. Part of the problem was a back issue that cost him a game in Week 5. Part of the problem was a lack of talent around him, including an inconsistent season from his offensive line and star receiver Amari Cooper. The Raiders made some big changes this offseason to help Carr, including new coach Jon Gruden and new weapons in Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant, who will replace the departed Michael Crabtree. The hope is Carr can return to his 2016 form, but Fantasy owners should take a wait and see approach. Carr will not be drafted in the majority of one-quarterback leagues, but he could end up as a bye-week replacement or streaming option. If things go well for Carr early in the season make sure to add him off waivers because he could easily turn into a weekly starter in most formats.
Carr said he enjoys working with new Raiders coach Jay Gruden, Jerry McDonald of The San Jose Mercury News reports. There was some concern Gruden's intensity would irk the 27-year-old quarterback, but that doesn't seem to be the case so far. The bigger concern is the mystery surrounding the identity of Oakland's offense, as Gruden was aggressive in adding wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant to replace Michael Crabtree, yet also gave significant guaranteed money to a pair of blocking tight ends (Lee Smith, Derek Carrier) and a traditional lead-blocking fullback (Keith Smith). The offseason moves suggest Gruden wants to keep Carr in the range of 500-550 pass attempts while giving Marshawn Lynch more carries (207 last year), but the plan also requires improvement from an Oakland defense that surrendered a 68.1 completion percentage in 2017. For what it's worth, offensive coordinator Greg Olson is known for pass-heavy attacks, including during his previous stint with the Raiders, which featured 599 attempts from Carr as a rookie in 2014.
Carr acknowledges that the back injury he suffered in Week 4 of the 2017 campaign was something he had to contend with as the season progressed, CSN's Scott Bair reports. "I had to deal with it," Carr noted. "I had to do certain things to manage it, but I just didn't talk about it. I didn't want it to be an excuse." After suffering three transverse process fractures in his back on Oct. 1, it was originally estimated that Carr would miss 2-to-4 weeks, but he only ended up sitting out one contest. Though it would be a stretch to say Carr's back issue was the only reason for his statistical regression in 2017, it certainly didn't help his cause. Looking ahead, Carr now has a full offseason to heal up, plus he's excited to work with a new head coach in Jon Gruden. Carr indicated that he wants Gruden to be tough on him, and we suspect his wish will be accommodated by the intense coach, who the signal-caller has known since the two filmed a Gruden QB Camp segment in 2014. It's also worth noting Gruden has a 10-year deal with the Raiders, which effectively ends the team's recent coaching carousel, and we'd expect the team to make some tweaks at the skill positions, possibly at running back, where Marshawn Lynch's 2018 status has yet to be cemented, according to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez.
Carr, who completed 19 of 28 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's loss to the Chargers, finishes up his 2017 campaign with 323 completions on 515 attempts, 3,496 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 15 games. Carr connected with Amari Cooper for a 60-plus yard touchdown for the second consecutive week, but otherwise turned in another mediocre performance as the Raiders fell to 6-10. The fourth-year quarterback failed to live up to his lofty expectations throughout the season after making a case for MVP in 2016, posting his worst numbers since entering the league as a rookie in 2014. Looking ahead to 2018, the Raiders may elect to move on from offensive coordinator Todd Downing during the upcoming offseason after such a disappointing effort. On a more positive note, Carr's favorite targets in Cooper, Michael Crabtree and tight end Jared Cook are all slated to return as the group continues to build chemistry.
Carr completed 15 of 29 passes for 140 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in Monday night's 19-10 loss to the Eagles. Carr found Amari Cooper for a 63-yard touchdown during the second quarter, but otherwise he endured another dismal display. Over the last three games, Carr has failed to top 5.15 yards per attempt while completing just 55 percent of his passes. With five turnovers versus four touchdowns as well, the Raiders' three straight losses have seen them eliminated from playoff contention. Unfortunately for Carr, he'll face a team still fighting for its postseason life in Week 17, when Oakland travels to play the Chargers.
Carr completed 21 of 38 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns while rushing four times for 47 yards and a fumble during Sunday's 20-17 loss to the Cowboys. Not regarded as a mobile quarterback, Carr set a career high in single-game rushing yards Sunday and more than tripled the rushing total he carried into Week 15 (15 yards on 14 carries). On the other hand, his fumble through the end zone in the game's waning seconds effectively lost Oakland the game, and he was erratic with his throws, finishing with a season-low 55 percent completion rate. After starting the season with a respectable 65.2 clip through Week 10, Carr has dipped to 60.1 percent over his last five outings while dealing with injuries and suspensions to his top two receivers, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper (ankle). However, sheer volume has nearly made up for this dip in accuracy. In his first eight games, Carr averaged 33.8 passes for 244.3 yards, 1.6 touchdowns and 0.9 interceptions. In those five games since, he's averaged 37.6 passes for 231.8 passing yards, 1.4 touchdowns and 0.6 interceptions per game. He'll now travel to Philadelphia in Week 16 to challenge the Eagles' third-ranked pass defense.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||Los Angeles Rams||9||16.65|
|5||10/07||@Los Angeles Chargers||3||14.50|
|9||11/02||@San Francisco 49ers||27||21.00|
|10||11/11||Los Angeles Chargers||3||14.50|
|13||12/02||Kansas City Chiefs||25||20.41|
|17||12/30||@Kansas City Chiefs||25||20.41|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||62.5||3807||27||11||91||0||312|