The debut season of the Las Vegas Raiders has already produced several surprises. The team pulled off impressive wins over the New Orleans Saints and defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs while nearly doing so against the Buffalo Bills as well. Jon Gruden’s squad has finally seemed to carve out some kind of offensive identity while also putting together a defense capable of making field-tilting plays on occasion.
Still, parts of the Raiders remain difficult to fully decipher, particularly their quarterback. Derek Carr has delivered several big plays that depart from the traditional notion of what he does as a passer, connecting deep with Philadelphia Eagles castoff Nelson Agholor and first-round rookie Henry Ruggs III on numerous occasions. At the same time, his upside remains limited, contributing directly to Las Vegas’ 3-3 record. With bye weeks and injuries thinning out the ranks under center, Carr presents a difficult proposition for Sunday’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns.
Fantasy Football analysis: Raiders QB Derek Carr
While Carr remains far from an exciting fantasy option, he has delivered pretty consistent production. Unfortunately, that production has thus far maxed out in the mid-20s in standard-scoring leagues. For fantasy managers who just need their quarterback to not lay an egg this week, Carr makes some sense. For those who need a higher-upside strategy, this veteran signal-caller probably won’t meet the mark.
The matchup with the Browns defense doesn’t push that evaluation too much one way or the other. While the unit has allowed an average of over 300 passing yards and roughly 2.25 touchdowns, it has also produced seven interceptions over the first seven weeks. Carr’s conservative nature generally limits picks, but he has thrown one in each of the past two weeks.
Entering the weekend, only rookie wideout Bryan Edwards (foot/ankle, questionable) appears on the Raiders’ injury report among offensive players. Additionally, offensive tackle Trent Brown should come off the COVID-19/reserve list to beef up Carr’s pass protection. All of these developments bode well for Las Vegas’ offense.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
Start Carr as a back-end bye-week replacement quarterback.