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Las Vegas Raiders stock report: Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs heating up heading into Week 5

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Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a good week for Raider Nation after the Las Vegas Raiders (1-3) finally notched their first win of the season with a balanced performance in a 32-23 win over the Denver Broncos (2-2) last Sunday in Las Vegas.

The Raiders benefited from better play on offense and an even offensive game plan executed by head coach Josh McDaniels. McDaniels, who was taking a fair amount of heat over his play calling and game planning during the Raiders’ awful start, finally went to his bread and butter on offense — running back Josh Jacobs. Jacobs had a career-high 144 yards on 28 carries and two scores.

The Raiders don’t get a break as they head to Kansas City for an old-school AFC West rivalry game with the Chiefs on “Monday Night Football.” Las Vegas faces the NFL’s second-highest scoring team in Kansas City who don’t seem to miss former wideout Tyreek Hill — who was traded to Miami during the offseason — too much.

Related: NFL offense rankings – Who are the 20 best offenses in the league after four weeks?

In Week 5, the Raiders will need their stars to shine again, but who is primed for a great performance, and who is still trying to find “it” this season? Here’s our look at players on the rise and those that make you wonder what’s going on.

Las Vegas Raiders players with stocks on the rise

Josh Jacobs

las vegas raiders
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Jacobs not only had a career day in rushing yards, but he made much of the action happen himself. Healthy and not used as much as anyone would like, Jacobs is taking advantage of McDaniels’ wake-up call with a more balanced run/pass attack. Pro Football Focus has Jacobs ranked second in the NFL, with a grade of 87.2 overall — trailing just Nick Chubb. Jacobs ranks seventh overall in carries (70) yet fifth in yards (335). The importance of him, the Raiders running game, and the correct offensive approach will be key on Monday night in KC.

Amik Robertson

While my Silver and Black Today podcast co-host, and fellow Sportsnaut columnist, Moe Moton and I would love to take credit for Robertson’s big day, we can only give the young player a hearty congrats. Appearing on our show last week, Robertson talked about how things just “clicked” for him this season and that he was hungry to show what he can do. While no one is claiming Robertson is a Pro Bowl candidate like his teammate Nate Hobbs, his play is getting better and in coverage, he has shown significant growth. He’s got more work to do but it’s hard not to root for a guy like this who is building confidence and contributing when teammates are injured.

Derek Carr

las vegas raiders
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Carr didn’t put up big numbers for the fantasy groupies but he kept his offense moving and got back to using his legs to extend plays and even pick up first downs. Carr moving out of the pocket with a patchwork offensive line in front of him is a key to the Raiders moving the ball. Unlike Weeks 1-3, against the Broncos Carr ran the ball and made sure his team continued with positive momentum. I think Carr in this game manager role worked well. He’s getting more comfortable in the McDaniels system and will have to shine on Monday night in Arrowhead if the Raiders are to pull off the upset.

Andre James

As good as a job as rookie Dylan Parham did filling in for the injured James the past two weeks, having the veteran lineman back gave the Raiders some mature stability they lacked the past few weeks. James has been very good at protecting Derek Carr (75.2 grade in pass blocking from PFF) and anchoring the line against the Broncos shined a light on how much his presence means. Now, if McDaniels can settle on the remaining three offensive linemen, the Raiders might settle in upfront and that would be something to cheer about.

Raiders talent with stocks in decline

Alex Bars

Is Alex Bars bad at left guard? Not exactly. Is Alex Bars good at left guard? Not exactly. Put simply, he’s not the long-term answer and the Raiders need to think about who is going to play there the majority of this season. Bars ranked last on the Raiders so far this season with a PFF score of just 35.3. He’s subpar in pass blocking (51.2) and run blocking (40.4) and really struggled the past two weeks seeing time. You can’t get mad at the guy, he’s played multiple positions on the OL and he’s just doing his best but that’s not good enough now or in the long term. Look for Bars to go back to being a backup when the Raiders settle on their front five.

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