By Sean Weymouth
Tonight’s matchup with the Chargers and Raiders has a sneaky chance at being the best Thursday Night Football game of the season. The Chargers are coming off their best performance in over a month and Jon Gruden’s Raiders are .500 on the season! Let’s get into it!
Just some housekeeping, the way I structure this article I will list off everyone in my player pool on both sides and then give you my thoughts on how I’d deploy them. Maybe it will help you, I know my article on Monday had some hits for some folks – here we go:
Derek Carr – Captain $14,400, Flex $9,600
Josh Jacobs – Captain $14,100, Flex $9,400
Darren Waller – Captain $12,900, Flex $8,600
Tyrell Williams – Captain $12,000, Flex $8,000
Hunter Renfrow – Captain $7,500, Flex $5,000
Daniel Carlson – Captain $5,400, Flex $3,600
Jalen Richard – Captain $4,500, Flex $3,000
Zay Jones – Captain $3,900, Flex $2,600
Marvell Ateman – Captain $900, Flex $600
If you are going to start your build with a Raider in Captain, my pick is Derek Carr. Derek Carr rather quietly is having a career year. He has a 7:1 TD to interception rate over his past 3 games and is tied for the highest completion percentage in the league. He just has dialed in on Jon Gruden’s plans and has thrown for over 280 yards over those last three games. His price isn’t so high either that you aren’t able to fit in key other skill players either. He is my captains pick.
Now to Carr’s targets. Darren Waller is the obvious choice for targets, himself having a career year. “The Baller” however has been held to 50 yards or under over the last 4 games. I am not sure if he will break that trend. The Chargers have been good against Tight Ends actually ranked 4th best in the league. Despite this I think Waller will be a popular choice for a Captain or Flex play and while anything could happen, and he could go off, I think I may fade him in my lineups…
However one Raider I will not fade is Tyrell Williams. Despite likely drawing the coverage of Casey Heyward, I really like Williams chances for a deep ball as he is healthy tonight. He also is due for a touchdown having only one since week 4. Now granted he was hurt for 3 games – but still. I think Williams scores. I also like the discount of almost $1,000 from Waller that Williams gets you.
Savings which you will need for Josh Jacobs who is as ride or die right now as any other top back in the league. Jacobs who is averaging 92.9 yards per game is coming off a monster performance in Week 9 going 28 for 120 and two touchdowns. Now he gets the Chargers who are giving up 114 yards per game on the ground. If the Raiders are to win tonight, I think they will need to ride Jacobs to victory and now with no injury distinctions – ride away Chucky!! I will have Jacobs in every lineup I roll out tonight. I’ll eat the chalk.
About two weeks ago I would have called Hunter Renfrow a sneaky play tonight but not anymore. Behind Waller, I’d expect Renfrow to be the most popular receiver tonight. And for good reason – he has scored in both of the last two games and averaging 18 Fantasy points over the last two weeks. Also he comes in criminally under priced. Coming out of the slot into a formidable Chargers secondary, I don’t expect him to come away with a huge night but for his price I think he is a great play allowing you tons of upside with the rest of your lineup.
Oakland’s Kicker Carlson shouldn’t be forgotten either. The Chargers have been pretty good in the Red Zone and I don’t see Gruden getting stalled out in the RZ without points. Carlson has 3+ Field goal upside here but he isn’t as cheap as I’d want to see him. Therefore he may go overlooked and may come in under owned. He’d certainly be an interesting choice to run back a Chargers Focused Lineup.
Zay Jones, Marcell Ateman and Jaylen Richard I mention because these guys are involved even if on the lower side of the Snap Count. Ateman can always hit for a deep bomb. Jones is much more of a possession receiver but is very cheap and you can do a lot with your reminding spots with him rostered. Richard will likely a small snap share but he can be a great asset on third downs. I am not saying to play these guys but I am saying you do have options if you only have $1,000 or under left after stacking a pricey lineup – you have options.
The Chargers ￼
Phillip Rivers: $15,000 Captain, $10,000 Flex
Melvin Gordon: $10,800 Captain, $7,200 Flex
Keenan Allen: $13,500 Captain, $9,000 Flex
Mike Williams: $11,100 Captain, $7,400 Flex
Hunter Henry: $12,600 Captain, $8,400 Flex
Austin Ekeler: $10,500 Captain, $7,000 Flex
Mike Badgley: $5,700 Captain, $3,800 Flex
The Raiders Defense is sneaky. They have a decent pass rush and their secondary can get a pick six just as easily as get burned. As much as the latter of those two things is more likely Either way, I am not as high on Phillip Rivers as I am on Carr. Credit where Credit is due, the Chargers broke a 3 game slide in Week 9 and Rivers had a good game throwing for 294 yards / but no touchdowns. In fact Rivers only has 1 Touchdown over the last 3 weeks. Now that certainly could change but I just don’t thing he is worth being the highest priced Captains choice on the slate. Flex ok, stacked with his receivers.
That being said I actually don’t mind either Keenan Allen or Mike Williams as Captain or Flex. First Keenan Allen who has had a downright disappointing season to say the least being held to under 70 yards per game over the last 6 games. Also – no Touchdowns. Because of this and his higher price tag I expect him to not be very popular and at least from a Contrarian standpoint – he could be a great play. He is Keenan F’N Allen after all. Mike Williams on the other hand may end up being the slate breaker. The Raider’s secondary for all of the youthful exuberance shown on Hard Knocks, have been fooled deep and that is where Mike Williams lives. Coming off of a stellar game against Green Bay where he went 3 for 111, I expect Williams to feast and have multiple shots at TDs from 25 yards or more. He also is a bit of a value – $1,600 less than Allen and $100 less from Tyrell Williams. He may be chalk tonight but Mike Williams may be worth it. He could make for a sneaky Captain pick.
Behind Phillip Rivers tonight I think the most popular Charger will be Hunter Henry. But if you are playing Rivers, I don’t see how you don’t include Henry in the stack. Henry has no less than 6 targets per game since his return including a tremendous 84 yard performance in Week 9. Plus the matchup – the Raiders are 26th against Tight Ends. I think Henry gets a score tonight, maybe two. He is my favorite Charger for the Captains Seat and a great play. But he will be extremely Chalky, you will need some contrarian plays to offset.
So that is why I like Austin Ekeler tonight. I think after Melvin Gordon’s stellar week 9 performance a lot of people will be off Ekeler. However as much as I like Gordon who I assume has gotten his confidence back, I don’t think the Raiders will allow the same level of open holes like GORDON saw last week. Especially over the Goal Line. Both backs are in play and while I am sure GORDON will be Chalky and he does have 2 touchdown upside, I do like Ekeler as a contrarian flex choice. If it so happens that the Raiders go up in this game, Ekeler has a good shot lining up as a receiver. I don’t recommend it to everyone but for me, I like taking that chance. Please note I don’t recommend ignoring GORDON here but the Raiders are quietly 10th best in the league against the run. And while he has 4 touchdowns over the last two weeks, these came on Red Zone trips and goal line work. Again I am not saying to fade GORDON. I am just saying I prefer Eckler for the savings and the opportunity.
Lastly the kicker Mike Badgely should be on your radar. Especially with the Raiders being tough on the run and the Chargers play call favoring the run in the red zone over the pass, Badgely (like Carlson) could have a busy night.
Lastly – the Defenses. I don’t like the Defenses tonight as much as I have in the past in Showdown slates. However it may be a sneaky play to pair the defense with the QB, RB, WR stack from the same team. Then come back with the opposing kicker to follow the narrative that GRB defense you are playing are making things tough. Both Defenses come in aggressively priced and this could be a nice way to stack higher priced players as you want.
Good luck in your contests!!