Carr or Pedestrian
Where will Derek Carr finish in the 2018 season?
The Oakland Raiders offense in 2017 was nothing less than a huge disappointment, posting only 5,185 yards on offense; almost 800 less yards than 2016, while also regressing in touchdowns from 46 to 36 in 2017. They also completely missed the playoffs after being bounced from the wild card game the previous season. This was one of the deciding factors into the Raiders coaching overhaul. These staff changes affect one player more than any other on the Raiders - Derek Carr. In 2017 Carr failed to three-peat as a QB1, finishing as QB18 in most formats. Can the Raiders get Carr back on track to form from seasons prior, or is he destined to remain a bottom end QB2?
Derek Carr’s Career:
The Raiders added Jon Gruden to not only shore up the dreadful defense the Raiders have been fielding the last decade, but to develop Derek Carr into more than just a Pro Bowl level quarterback. Gruden is heralded as a quarterback guru, hosted a television show coaching quarterbacks entering the draft or playing in the early stages of their career. He creates positive situations for his quarterbacks to succeed, he coached Rich Gannon to multiple playoff appearances and pro bowls. Brad Johnson also played to his ceiling with Gruden eventually winning a Super Bowl under Gruden.
Gruden’s system is predicated on the short passing game. Carr averaged only 3.6 air yards per completion in 2017. This isn’t necessarily bad, as he ranked #10 in pass attempt distance (8.5 p/a). The offense is centered around providing the quarterback enough time to read the field and get the ball out quickly. So he installs a type of blocking scheme that is centered around a short pass game. He’s one of the few coaches that utilizes a fullback and after swapping fullbacks with the Cowboys they add a player or excels at pass and run blocking. Coupling him with two blocking tight ends (excluding Cook) means the Raiders are definitely looking to keep Carr safe which will be key for Carr who has missed crucial times for the Raiders including the Wild Card loss of 2016.
Carr’s career numbers suggest that he, at his floor is a QB2. Averaging around 234 fantasy points in standard, around QB13 - A fringe QB1.The Raiders added Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant and Ryan Switzer to try and make up for Crabtree’s production. But the key lies in how his main target Cooper can handle the upcoming season. With the addition of Bryant and Nelson, two primarily outside receivers, Cooper will be able to man the slot where he has been significantly better from that position.
In 2018 Carr is projected by fantasypros.com
According to his career stats, this is Carr’s fantasy floor. The projections are basically last year’s stats with a slight inflation (potentially projecting less drops). Fantasypros is projecting Carr to be around QB17 again which is reasonable as half his career he has finished under QB17 and half he has finished QB10. Positional players should reach higher ceilings, while with the new coaching scheme Carr will be able to push past 4,000 yards for the first time in his career. However this won’t be enough to carry him to QB1 territory as he will need at least 29 touchdowns to compete for a top spot. He ends up as QB14 in an uptick year where the field is wide open as far for fringe QB1s. I don’t recommend drafting Carr in anything besides 2QB redraft leagues.