Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Derek Carr in Week Eleven?

Going into this year’s draft season, Derek Carr stood on the precipice of fantasy football greatness. He was just shy of 4,000 yards last year and carried an impressive 28:6 TD:INT ratio. He was growing alongside a young, talented wide receiver in Amari Cooper, had a no-doubt sure-hands chain mover in Michael Crabtree, and he had arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. To that, they added Marshawn Lynch to bowl people over and keep the offense churning and talented tight end Jared Cook to disappoint them with all the drops what is even going on with his hands. Ahem, talented tight end Jared Cook. He was drafted by people expecting a nice season from him, as the seventh QB off the board (69 overall). Things haven’t gone as expected this year for Carr, and he gets the defending champion New England Patriots in Mexico City this week.

Derek Carr hasn’t been exceptionally great this season, partially due to a stretch where he didn’t score double-digit fantasy points between week three and week six. That can at least partially be attributed to missing a game in week five after the Denver Broncos hit him and broke bones in his back. I hurt a ligament in my wrist and I’m complaining about typing these words and he played with a fractured back. While that doesn’t excuse his dismal week three, he gets a full pass for weeks four through six from me. Since week six, however, he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire. He had thirty points against the Chiefs but managed to combine for just about the same in his next two games at Buffalo and at Miami. Let’s look at those three matchups in the scope of where they rank in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. The Chiefs allow the sixth-most points, the Dolphins the twentieth and the Buffalo Bills are all the way down at #24 (by the way that Dolphins rank is after Cam Newton flayed them alive on Monday Night Football to be just the second QB to get 20 fantasy points against them this year). Since his he came back from his break from his break in his back, Carr has been extremely matchup dependent.

Good news, Derek Carr fans. The Patriots represent literally the best matchup in the NFL this season for opposing fantasy football quarterbacks. They allowed seven-straight games to opposing quarterbacks of at least seventeen fantasy points to start the season. They broke that streak over the last two games, but handling Philip Rivers a fantasy football dud this season isn’t an achievement. The other quarterback was Brock freakin’ Osweiler. The Patriots defense has cleaned up from being all-time bad, but some of that is a schedule-based dead-cat bounce, and Carr should be able to take care of that. Outside of this little statistical reasoning, there are some soft factors, like the Patriots being on the road for nine-straight days (last Saturday through this Sunday) going into their matchup versus the Raiders, who will have gone fourteen days without a game at kickoff.

Ultimately, Derek Carr isn’t as bad as he’s looked this season, and the Patriots aren’t as good as they have looked lately, either. The Raiders quarterback has one of the best matchups possible this week, and should be able to take full advantage. I would fire up Carr if I owned him anywhere, as long as I’m not starting him over some of the no-brainers out there.

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