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Thursday Night Football Preview: Chargers at Raiders

– Thursday Night Football Preview –

Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders

Spread: Chargers -1 | Over/Under 49.0

The NFL season is entering Week 10 and that means it’s time for another showdown on Thursday night football. The 4-5 Chargers are coming off an impressive home victory over the Green Bay Packers to head to the Bay Area to take on the 4-4 Oakland Raiders. This is a matchup that is extremely close on paper. If we recall the last time these teams met in 2018, the Chargers won both games versus the Raiders. They won 26-10 in Week 5 and 20-6 in Week 10 of the 2018 season. However, things are different this season with the Raiders boasting a vastly improved offense from their 2018 counterpart. The Oakland offense ranks second overall in third-down conversion rate (49.49%) and ranks third in yards per play (6.2).

Now the Chargers offense is also different from last season as they have not been nearly as good.  However, things seemed to get back on track last week with new offensive coordinator Shane Steichen taking over playcalling duties. The Chargers had become the first team in the Super Bowl era to rush for 40 yards or fewer in four straight games, but they had a season-high 159 one week ago.

Let’s take a closer look at Week 10’s Thursday Night’s Game.


Over the past three weeks, Derek Carr has been the QB14 in fantasy football averaging 19.6 fantasy points per game. However, he has faired very poorly versus this Los Angeles Chargers defense in his past four games against them. He has never passed for multiple touchdowns versus them in four career starts with a just a high of 268 passing yards. The Chargers pass defense also just completely shut down Aaron Rodgers and company after he had thrown for 11 touchdowns and just one intercepti0n in the three games prior. Only two quarterbacks have scored over 20 fantasy points versus the Chargers this season. Over the past two weeks, the Chargers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Carr has also been much more of a fantasy star on the road than in home games this season. Carr averages 13.7 points per game at home versus 18.1 points per game on the road.

Meanwhile, Philip Rivers enters Week 10 leading the league in passing yards (2,609), but with just 12 touchdown passes. This season Rivers is averaging just 15.2 fantasy points per game. However, this Oakland pass defense is downright putrid as they have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks over the past four weeks. The Raiders at home have also have been attacked through the air; they have allowed the third-most passing attempts per game (38.7).

Rivers in the past has had success versus the Raiders throwing for over 300 yards in two of his last three games and throwing for at least two touchdowns. Interestingly enough this is Rivers’ 11th start on Thursday night football with him entering 8-2 against the spread and 7-3 straight up. Rivers is the superior fantasy play between the two quarterbacks in this matchup. Also with Rivers coming off a rare zero touchdown game last week that bears the question…what has been the follow-up trend for him under those conditions? In games where Rivers has started following a game where he threw zero touchdowns, he has averaged exactly two touchdowns (26-game sample size). Just this season in the two games that Rivers has thrown for zero touchdowns the following game he has thrown for at least 318 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. Lock in Rivers for 300 passing yards and two-touchdowns for Thursday night football.

Running Backs

Josh JacobsJosh Jacobs has been an absolute star this year thrusting himself into the offensive rookie of the year considerations. Jacobs is averaging 5.2 yards per carry under center, ranks eighth in yards created, tenth in evaded tackles, eighth in juke rate, and ranks seventh in explosive runs over 15 yards. And unlike Carr, Jacobs has continued to smash at home like we saw last week. 23.4 fantasy points per game at home versus just 11.7 points per game on the road. The matchup is also great versus the Chargers who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points and fifth-most rushing attempts to running backs over the past four weeks. Jalen Richard is interesting in a PPR format with bye weeks very present this week.  Richard led the Raiders in receiving yards last week (59) and set a new season-high with 70 total yards. He is primarily used on third-downs and obvious pass-catching formats so he does have value in formats that reward receiving production. The matchup also favors a pass-catching running back. Over the past four weeks, the Chargers have allowed the fourth-most receptions, seventh-most targets, and sixth-most yards to running backs. In his two games, last year versus the Chargers Richard averaged 5.5 receptions for 52.5 receiving yards. Easy 10-12 fantasy points in PPR formats. Great punt play in DFS Formats.

As for the Chargers, Melvin Gordon is finally starting to look like himself. The addition of Russell Okung back to the starting lineup helped the offensive line create space for Gordon to run for a season-high 80 rushing yards. Gordon also saw 24 touches as the bell-cow back with Austin Ekeler receiving 16 touches. He did that on a very limited 24 snaps. However, from a yardage per play perspective, Ekeler had 5.81 yards per touch versus Gordon’s 4.5 yards per touch. However, the majority of touchdown equity is still in Gordon’s wheelhouse with him receiving 15 red zone touches in just five games. 14 of those red-zone touches have come in just the past three weeks. Ekeler has nine red zone touches in that same time span. Both of these guys are in play as starters in Week 10. Over the past four weeks, the Raiders have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to the running back position. Specifically, they have allowed second-most passing touchdowns to running backs over the past four weeks. Both should be involved in the passing game.

Wide Receivers

Keenan Allen has been extremely disappointing over the past month and a half. He has not surpassed 61 receiving yards since his Week 3 explosion. However, if there’s ever a game for him to find himself in a get right spot it is against the Oakland Raiders who have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers over the past four weeks. Allen also has a great track record versus the Raiders with at least nine targets in his last six games against them in addition to at least 89 receiving yards in three of those six games. Mike Williams is also a prime candidate for regression with him still sitting on zero touchdowns this season.

For the Raiders, it’s a Tyrell Williams #revengegame for Thursday night football. His fantasy production this year has strictly been tied to his touchdowns, but he has seen a decent target share as operating as the number one option on the Raiders’ offense. More of a low-end WR3 play this week versus the Chargers who have been better versus wide receivers. Ninth-fewest fantasy points allowed to receivers this season. Hunter Renfrow has seen one more target than Williams over the past two weeks with again production coming from touchdowns. Do not love starting Renfrow this week.

Tight Ends

A Thursday night football matchup with two elite tight ends in both Darren Waller and Hunter Henry. I will give the slight edge to Henry who has the better matchup with the Raiders allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends over the past four weeks. The Chargers’ defense has been much better versus the tight end ranking second-best over the past four weeks. Henry has also seen an average of eight targets per game over the past three weeks versus Waller’s six targets per game over that same timespan. Waller and backup tight end Foster Moreau have seen more work in the red zone over the past three weeks. In that time they have combined for six targets and five touchdown receptions.

Defense/Special Teams

With no Arden Key and the Raiders’ defense just generally horrible, the Chargers D/ST is the best play here. Trent Brown and Rodney Hudson are dealing with injuries and the Chargers D/ST has seven sacks over their past two games. On the side for kickers, Mike Badgley is back and healthy so he would be the option to go with. The Chargers are third in the NFL in field-goal attempts per game with Oakland ranking third to last in that category.

Final Thoughts

The Chargers are not clearly the superior team, but I think they show up in this spot. The Raiders defense is just so bad, I am not sure they can make enough stops to hold off the Chargers’ offense. Ultimately the Chargers are more likely to stop the Raiders’ offense when the game gets tight.

Final score prediction: 30-21 Chargers over Raiders.

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