Aug 28, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football Sleeper Watch 2014: Derek Carr

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One of the biggest fantasy football questions remaining after the preseason is will the Raiders give the keys to their offense to Derek Carr after a very impressive preseason or will they run Matt Schaub out there for a few weeks before giving the dynamic rookie a shot.  Either way, there will be weeks this season where Carr will be extremely fantasy relevant so let’s take a look at his sleeper potential.

Carr outplayed Schaub by miles this preseason and emphatically stated his case Thursday night in the final game going 11 of 13 for 143 yards throwing for three touchdowns. One of his impressive drives came against the Seahawks starting defense (which you may have heard is pretty good). Carr finished the preseason 30-of-45 for 326 yards, four touchdowns, and just one pick.

Not only has Schaub been outplayed all preseason, but he is also battling an elbow injury and is considered day-to-day at this point.  The Raiders invested big money in Schaub for this season, but there’s no guaranteed money beyond this year.  It now looks like they won’t even start with him this year as he has continued to struggle like he did last year in Houston when Case Keenum passed him on the depth chart.

At whatever point this season the Raiders decide to go with Carr as a starter, he has some serious QB2 upside with the weapons in the Oakland offense. Coach Dennis Allen likes to throw the ball and the receiving corps is pretty solid.  Carr already has shown a strong connection with Denarius Moore, and James Jones is a very solid option after signing this offseason from Green Bay.  Rod Streater and Greg Little have shown flashes in the past in their NFL career and could benefit from solid QB play like Carr has provided this preseason. The Raiders offense has the tools to make Carr a fantasy success in what should be some shootouts in the AFC West.

Aug 15, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) warms up before the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Before you go too crazy for Carr, there is one thing to remember: it is only preseason–don’t drop your starting QB for him just yet. If you’re in standard leagues, it’s only a situation to monitor for your bye week at this point. In dual-QB leagues, there’s definitely something more here. If and when Carr gets the starting job, he’ll be a QB2 consideration right away.

In general, there’s no need to move on Carr just yet unless you’re in an ultra-deep or dynasty league. However, make sure you’re watching what Oakland does since Carr will be a fantasy factor when the Raiders decide to give him the starting job which I think should be for week 1.  His role as a starter will also give a boost to the rest of the Raiders offense since there is way more potential with him under center than the struggling vet Schaub.

Until he’s named the starter, he’s still outside the top 25 in my QB rankings, but if Carr gets the nod he’ll jump to number 22.

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Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football Derek Carr Fantasy Football Preview Fantasy Football QB Fantasy Football Sleeper Matt Schaub Oakland Raiders

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