Put Your Trust in Derek Carr
Editor’s Note: This guest post on why you should draft Derek Carr at his ADP was written by Bobby Korecky. Follow him on Twitter @BobbyJK28. …
If you’re looking for QB1 production in the middle rounds of a 2QB league look no further than Derek Carr. Using the current ADP values from this site, we see Carr going off the board as the QB12, essentially the end of round six.
I want to show you how valuable a commodity Carr can be for the depth of your team, allowing you to focus elsewhere earlier in the draft and still land strong QB play. First, let’s look at the young quarterback’s progress through his first two seasons and what may be in store for 2016.
Carr improved in major categories from year one to year two:
- Completion % — 58.1% to 61.1%
- Passing Yards — 3,270 to 3,987
- Touchdowns — 21 to 32
- Rushing yards — 87 to 138
- Fantasy points per game — 12.00 to 17.08
These improvements came in a year with a new coaching staff and two first-time wide receivers in the offense, one a rookie. It doesn’t get mentioned enough when projecting Carr for 2016, but a full offseason working in the same scheme with the same personnel is as important as everything else.
|2015 Season||Games||Att.||Comp. %||Yards||TDs||INTs||Rush. Att.||Rush Yds.||Rush TD|
|First 8 Games||8||273||0.64||2,094||19||4||11||33||0|
|Last 8 Games||8||300||0.59||1,893||13||9||22||105||0|
*Editor’s note: These are the writer’s personal projections.
Results and Expectations
The table above tells a tale of two seasons. The way Carr and the Raiders played in the first half was something the fantasy world was getting accustomed to. Things obviously changed and, watching from the couch, fans saw a young team that suffered a hiccup and didn’t know how to respond. Below you can see Carr’s first and second half splits thanks to the RotoViz Games Split App.
Two things jump out at me when I try to rationalize the difference between the two halves. First, Carr’s pace in the first eight games is remarkable, and he did it missing nearly all of Week 1, leaving the game with an injury after only 12 pass attempts for 61 yards. This next splits image shows a pace of over 4,600 yards and 43 touchdowns when you exclude his early exited Week 1 game:
The second thing that jumped out to me was the leg injury to Amari Cooper later in the season that resulted in near-zero production in three of the wideout’s last four games. A quarterback’s top target becoming nothing more than a decoy is rarely a positive scenario.
Given the situation described, I’ve settled on 2015’s first half pace as a fair expectation of Derek Carr and the Raiders in 2016. An improved offensive line (Pro Foootball Focus ranks them second-best heading into the season), the addition of pass-catching running back DeAndre Washington, a full calendar year in the same regime, and his early-season showing last year is more than enough for me to count on Carr for a higher-end fantasy season in 2016. Let’s also not forget the ever-so-meaningless week in football, known as Week 17, will be played against the ferocious defense of the Denver Broncos. That tough divisional match-up taking place in a fantasy wasteland helps Carr from a strength-of-schedule standpoint.
How To Draft Carr
My projection for Carr, coupled with his ADP, allows me to be comfortable drafting higher-end skill position guys earlier in drafts, while still maintaining solid production at quarterback. Here are the quarterbacks currently going ahead of Carr in ADP:
As I look at the ADP breakdown I feel confident the top five are solidified as the quarterbacks to target for the best production. After that, there are cases to be made for any of those players to finish sixth, including Carr. Looking at 2015 2QB ADP, six quarterbacks drafted as the QB12 or later finished as top-10 scorers (excluding Week 17) — Tom Brady, Blake Bortles, Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kirk Cousins, and Eli Manning.
My draft strategy is to stock up on the RB/WR talent being avoided early in 2QB and Superflex drafts, then grab Derek Carr in round six as your QB1. If you trust this strategy, you will have an opportunity to grab a strong QB2 play sometime in the next four rounds after Carr. Here are some of the signal callers going near or after Carr you can target:
Two-quarterback formats are becoming more popular because they add an extra level of strategy for each owner at the quarterback position. Waiting to draft passers appeals to those who want to find each season’s hidden gems at the position. Derek Carr could be one such gem this year, and waiting to draft him allows his owners the flexibility to bolster other positions early. Carr’s early-season pace in 2015 showed his upside, and another offseason of experience, a healthy Amari Cooper, and an improved offensive line point to a continuing breakout for Carr in 2016.
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