QB Derek Carr Week 1 Starter: Fantasy Football Implications

I thought I hit the lottery in daily fantasy football with the price of the New York Jets‘ defense, but my confidence was rocked when Derek Carr was announced as the Week 1 starter for the Oakland Raiders

I don’t think Carr is the next Andrew Luck, but we know what Matt Schaub‘s work looks like, and the rookie quarterback instantly provides more upside to the offense. The Jets will send constant pressure to try and subdue any spark Carr can ignite, but what if he gets time to throw?

The secondary for the Jets is troubled to say the least. Cornerback Dee Milliner will most likely miss the Jets’ first game because of a high ankle sprain, converted safety Antonio Allen still needs to pass concussion protocol to play in Week 1, cornerback Dimitri Patterson was recently released and Kyle Wilson is in a make-or-break year after several under-achieving seasons. 

This situation creates a perfect storm for fantasy football players: An untested rookie quarterback, going against an impressive defensive line, while also facing a secondary ravaged with injuries and performance issues. We could just run away from this game completely and pretend it doesn’t exist, but I will take a crack at breaking down what we might be able to expect for our fantasy football purposes. I mainly want to look at if Carr has upside in his first game, as well as how this move will effect the Jets’ defense. 

First, I want to look at the quarterback situation for Oakland. I’m not going to use any of Carr’s preseason data, as that isn’t going to give us a clear picture for a real NFL game. What I will review, however, is the opportunities the Raiders gave Terrelle Pryor in the first game of the 2013 season. Even with his abilities to rush the ball, Pryor still attempted 29 passes against the 13th ranked pass defense of the Indianapolis Colts. The new Raiders’ quarterback wasn’t know for his rushing abilities in college, but he is known for throwing quick and accurate passes. His ability to throw the deep ball has come into question, but if he can find a rhythm in picking apart the secondary with short and intermediate passes, he could earn his owners a decent fantasy day. You can’t rely on last years’ data too heavily, but the Jets did rank 22nd against the pass. 

While this isn’t directly related to fantasy success, I do like the fact that Carr has been praised on his maturity and leadership ability at the ripe old age of 23. Having a wife and child will help build those skills. Again, I can’t say that transfers to fantasy in anyway, but it is nice to know the player leading your team has first-hand experience handling pressure, and getting advice from a brother who played as quarterback in the NFL doesn’t hurt either. 

The rookie quarterback also will have access to Maurice Jones-Drew‘s dual-threat abilities, as well as his skill as a pass blocker. I could see Maurice easily taking a quick dump-off pass to the house, and he may be someone you want to keep on your radar for Week 1.

Even with a nice matchup against the secondaries, the quarterback you probably planned on starting will do better than Carr in Week 1. However, if you are in any sort of daily league or SKYLLZONE league, I encourage you to consider Carr for his upside. I expect Carr to attempt 32-38 passes, but I also expect him to have a minimum of one interceptions. I really am a big believer in the fact that Carr will get a good amount of opportunities to throw the ball, and I think that will translate into a moderately-successful fantasy day. So, if you are in non-season long leagues looking for a serviceable option with upside and want to save some money for your other positions, Carr is cheap candidate. In a season long league, however, wait to see how he plays before adding him as a backup.

Now to the big question: Should you stream the Jets’ defense in Week 1? I like the pressure the line can bring, but even though the competition will be drastically different than what he saw in college, Carr did only fumble the ball once in his final senior season. Even if the line is able to force a few sacks and several questionable decisions, the poor secondary and the amount of passing attempts for the rookie worry me. I think this will still be a low scoring affair, but I don’t think this matchup is as juicy now that Schaub is out.You could do worse for streaming a defense in a Week , but I think the Jets have lost some of its upside for daily tournaments. 

For all you die-hard fantasy football fans out there, make sure you watch this game, as it will give us all insight into fantasy implications for the entire season. Who knows, you may even be able to add James Jones as a sleeper after Week 1. 

Actually… Lets’ not get too far ahead of ourselves. The game still has to happen. 

 

 

 

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