Welcome to the thirteenth edition of “Who to Rep,” our ongoing series in which we recommend a player to rep for the upcoming week. Our selection process is rigorously unscientific, but we hope you like it anyway. This week's pick is the never-say-die quarterback of the Oakland Raiders, Derek Carr.
Sometimes, Who To Rep is about more than just stats. This is one of those times. That’s not to say that our pick for the week didn’t have strong stats—he did, with a 75% completion percentage and two touchdowns to no interceptions—but what really made Carr the no question pick this week was the degree of difficulty.
Early in the game, Carr lost his best passing option (Michael Crabtree) to a brawl with the Broncos’ Aqib Talib. Not too long after that, he also lost his second best passing option (Amari Cooper) to a concussion. With both of his starting wideouts suddenly unavailable, Carr hoisted the team on his back and played arguably his best ball of the season.
All told, Carr threw 253 yards to a total of nine different receivers, 244 of which were thrown to receivers other than Cooper and Crabtree. That Carr was able to do that against the Broncos still-strong (but not longer best in class) passing defense is even more impressive.
Despite a midseason slump, the Raiders suddenly look like a team that could gate crash the playoffs. It won’t be easy—for one thing, they’ve still got a date with the league-best Eagles to look forward to—but with division rival Kansas City suddenly slumping (and another game against them on the horizon with a tiebreaker at stake) Oakland are the masters of their own destiny.
They may not even need to win out; so long as they win their matchups against divisional competition (Chiefs and Chargers) they can likely afford to drop that Eagles game. Their other remaining games are against the eminently beatable New York Giants and the hobbled Dallas Cowboys. 4-1 is doable, even if the odds are a little long.
Though, come to think of it, are they any longer than toasting Denver’s secondary without a starting receiver? Rep Derek Carr this week and cross your fingers that he can keep beating the odds and lead the Raiders back to the playoffs.