Fantasy Football Implications of Derek Carr in New Orleans

Mar 07, 2023
Fantasy Football Implications of Derek Carr in New Orleans

Free Agent action has begun for the 2023 offseason and we start with something we all pretty much knew was going to happen. QB Derek Carr signed a 4-year, $150M deal with the New Orleans Saints on March 6th after spending nine seasons with the Raiders. While Carr isn’t the most exciting QB free Agent on the market, this appears to be a solid move for both parties, reuniting the 31-year-old with former Head Coach Dennis Allen, who drafted the QB in 2014.

Let’s dive into the fantasy football implications of Carr’s move to the Big Easy.

Derek Carr: Perennial Fantasy QB2

Real-life football and fantasy football can be two different things in terms of production and let’s face it, Carr is not a great fantasy football QB. He’s only finished as a QB1 in fantasy points per game one time in nine seasons and it was right at the cutoff at QB12 (17.2 pts per game). The rest of his campaigns have ended with three QB20 finishes, one QB22, two QB24s, and two seasons that ended with a rank of QB30, all in fantasy points per contest.

While his acquired weapons are exciting and he plays in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL with currently the worst collection of opposing QBs, Carr’s fantasy outlook is about the same as it has been for close to a decade.

Without that rushing ability, Carr is entrenched in QB2 land and there’s nothing to indicate that will change drastically in New Orleans. His current ADP is in the 12th round (137.5) but considering the move to the Saints was highly anticipated, there shouldn't be much if any fluctuation in draft stock due to the move.

What About the Rest of the Saints' Offensive Arsenal?

Chris Olave had an impressive rookie campaign, hauling in 72 receptions for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns in 15 contests. The 22-year-old saw 119 targets mostly from Andy Dalton, which ranked 20th among WRs last season. Some good news for the talented sophomore is that Carr has supported one or two wideouts with at least 128 targets in five of his nine seasons, with Davante Adams garnering 180 balls in 2022 which was second to only Justin Jefferson’s 184.

Looking at the metrics, Carr is an upgrade over Dalton across the board, as the new Saint boasted a QBR of 55.5 (14th) while Dalton ranked 21st last season (50.7). According to Next Gen Stats, Carr’s average completed air yards (CAY) were ninth in the NFL (6.4) while Dalton ranked 18th (6.0) and Carr also bested the Red Rocket in average intended air yards (IAY) by 17 QB spots, which bodes well for Olave’s downfield prowess. Already a third-rounder, Olave could get too pricey with Carr in town, but he certainly has fantasy WR1 potential in 2023.

Alvin Kamara ended last season as the RB22 in fantasy points per game and saw 223 carries along with 77 targets. We need to monitor his legal issues this offseason, but if on the field, the 27-year-old should benefit from Carr’s presence. His new QB should toss more balls underneath in an offense with higher potency from 2022, plus with Taysom Hill likely seeing fewer QB snaps, Kamar’s rushing numbers could see an uptick.

The remainder of the New Orleans pass catchers are still up in the air as Michael Thomas could be moved by the start of the season, and Marquez Calloway (restricted), Juwan Johnson (restricted), and Jarvis Landry (unrestricted) are all free agents.

Bottom Line

Derek Carr landed in a great spot in terms of division competition, coaching staff, and surrounding players. Some guys will benefit while others may stay exactly the same in terms of fantasy output.

  • Carr has a firm grip on fantasy QB2 territory and will most likely remain there in 2023. He’s currently being drafted in the mid-12th round in Underdog best ball leagues.
  • Sophomore WR Chris Olave gains the most value with this signing, as he gets a better downfield passer and will be the team’s clear WR1, which Carr loves to target. Olave’s Underdog ADP is currently 28.4 as WR15.
  • You may get a discount again this year on Alvin Kamara, as he could be facing a suspension, but if he plays a significant amount of games, could see an increase in output with Carr in town. Kamara heads into the spring as the 27th RB off Underdog draft boards with an eighth-round ADP.
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