By Chad Bellin. The Oakland Raiders make what could be their final trip to San Diego for a while to take on the Chargers in a classic AFC West romp. This week has been punctuated with talk of the Raiders possibly staying in the Bay Area, and it’s well known that both the Raiders and Chargers could end up in new markets sooner rather than later.
For now, the Raiders will look to rebound from last week’s disappointing loss to the Chiefs. They will need Derek Carr to get back on track and get the offense clicking, while the defense, led by Khalil Mack, will look to put enough pressure on Philip Rivers to force him into bad decisions. That’s been easy enough of late.
The challenge for the Chargers will be to simply put enough healthy guys on the field. The hope lies on the defensive side, where decent numbers and solid play have kept the Chargers in some games this season.
The Raiders need this game badly to keep pace with the Chiefs and remain in contention for the division title and a first round bye. The Chargers simply don’t have enough gas left in the tank.
Raiders 31 | Chargers 20
The stars seem to align for Dontrelle Inman, and he is a TFG Start ‘Em this week. Inman appears to have emerged as the go-to receiving threat in the Chargers attack, and is putting up the numbers to prove it. Inman goes against a soft Raiders secondary, so if Rivers has time, he will make the connection.
It’s difficult not to recommend starting Derek Carr, but the match-up isn’t awesome. A division game against a respectable defense when you’ve just come off a division game where another opponent held you in check. This means everything to fantasy owners looking to hoist the trophy. Carr has gotten you here. Unless you have a clear better option, you can start him.
Philip Rivers’ numbers are very similar to Carr’s from a passing standpoint. But Rivers does not have an amazing line in front of him, and will face a stiff pass rush. Combined with the lack of healthy playmakers, Rivers could well replicate his 2 touchdown, 3 interception performance from last week. Yet, unless you have a clear better option, you are starting him. Rivers does have the better match-up from a fantasy football perspective as do the other Chargers play makers.
In most leagues, fantasy owners are still rolling with Latavius Murray. Some weeks this works out. Other weeks result in 65 yards on 13 carries. Murray seems to run a little hot and cold, but if he gets enough touches he usually makes it worth your while. It’s a favorable match-up so view Murray as a must as an RB2 at a minimum.
Amari Cooper is one of the most talented receivers in the league. Yet, he and Michael Crabtree can put up great numbers or poor numbers occasionally, and there doesn’t seem to be much logic to it. The Chargers are good at keeping star receivers in check, and the matchup by the numbers this week leans towards unfavorable for Cooper and Crabtree. Yet, start them because Carr will look their way first in the passing game.
The Chargers’ leading receiver this year has been Tyrell Williams. More of a chunk yardage guy than possession receiver, Williams has improved his play, and is a factor both on the field and for your fantasy team. The Raiders will look to shut him down. Williams can be considered in 10-12 team leagues.
With Gordon injured, Kenneth Farrow came into the game last week in relief and put up some respectable numbers, and more importantly, looked good doing it. Farrow is not a must-start, but he has a good matchup against a weak rush defense. He will also have opportunity, as there isn’t anyone pressing him for touches. So, if you need a sleeper to rescue your championship hopes, his name is spelled F-A-R-R-O-W. He’s best used as a flex-play.
It’s tough to take a healthy Antonio Gates out of your fantasy football lineup. Gates had 71 yards last week, and remains a vital part of the Chargers’ offense. But upstart Hunter Henry caught the touchdown. Yuck. There are worse options than Gates, but other guys like Cameron Brate have better matchups.
Melvin Gordon is injured, and not expected to play.
The Raiders’ Seth Roberts will break your heart. Just when you think he’s out of it, he’ll tease you with a touchdown. Then when you think he’s on, he plays like he played last week against the Chiefs. This is not championship material.
Clive Walford and Mychal Rivera must remain on the bench in all but the deepest of leagues. Neither is a consistent fantasy scoring threat.