Last updated: November 6th at 5:45pm ET.
Team Totals: Raiders 24.5, Chargers 23.5
Winners of two straight in non-cakewalk tilts at Chicago and versus Green Bay, the Chargers now visit Oakland on a short week to face a Raiders pass defense that’s been ethered for top-six fantasy results in five of its last seven games while managing the NFL’s eighth-lowest sack rate (5%) and second-lowest QB Hit Rate (10.4%). Even as Philip Rivers’ 2019 box-score production has been lame – his top fantasy result is QB9, and Rivers is this year’s QB19 in per-game scoring – the friendliness of Thursday night’s matchup suggests we should expect Rivers to beat his usual scoring expectation as a high-floor QB1 play. … It took over a month and several losses in between, but Week 9 finally delivered a vintage Melvin Gordon game under rookie OC Shane Steichen, who fed Gordon season highs in carries (20), touches (23), and snaps (63%) in last Sunday’s 26-11 defeat of Green Bay. At long last, Gordon looks to be in legitimate football condition following his unsuccessful holdout. The Raiders’ run defense has been stout – holding enemy backs to 169/628/7 (3.72 YPC) rushing – but Gordon’s upward-trending usage and dominance of scoring-position work has vaulted him into high-end RB2 territory with an average of 17 touches over his last three games. Despite having played for only five weeks, Gordon already ranks top ten in the NFL in carries inside the ten-yard line (7). … Steichen also made impressive Week 9 use of Austin Ekeler, whose 16 touches were his most since Week 5. With 80-plus total yards and/or a touchdown in 8-of-9 games, Ekeler has earned every-week RB2/flex deployment with continued RB1 upside in PPR leagues.
Rivers’ Weeks 6-9 target distribution: Hunter Henry 33; Keenan Allen 31; Mike Williams 26; Ekeler 19; Gordon 14; Virgil Green 4; Jason Moore 2; Justin Jackson and Geremy Davis 1. … Since returning from injury four games ago, Henry leads all tight ends in targets, Air Yards (351), receptions (25), and actual yards. The Raiders have allowed the NFL’s third-most fantasy points to tight ends this year. … Allen runs over half of his routes inside, where Oakland has coughed up completions on 59-of-80 slot targets (74%) for 730 yards (9.1 YPA) and five touchdowns. Allen’s box-score results have been a roller coaster, but only five NFL wideouts have commanded more Air Yards over the last month, and this is one of the best matchups he’ll catch all year. Helpfully, Allen popped as this week’s No. 5 buy-low wideout in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. … The Raiders have been rocked for wideout lines of 6/172/2 (Demarcus Robinson), 2/133/1 (Marquez Valdes-Scantling), 4/132/1 (Kenny Golladay), 8/126/1 (Marvin Jones), 7/120/0 (Courtland Sutton), 11/109/0 (DeAndre Hopkins), 7/97/2 (Allen Robinson), 5/86/1 (Emmanuel Sanders), 4/72/0 (Zach Pascal), 4/61/1 (Mecole Hardman), 3/55/1 (Adam Thielen), and 2/54/1 (Jake Kumerow). Williams leads the Chargers in receptions on 20-plus-yard downfield targets, while Oakland has surrendered a league-high 42 completions of 20-plus yards. Coming off a season-high 111 yards and still positioned for positive-touchdown regression, scoreless Williams is a high-ceiling WR3 at Oakland.
Thursday night sets up for another Josh Jacobs eruption as a home-favorite bellcow hosting a Chargers defense that allowed a crisp 127/570/4 (4.49 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs over its last five games. Imposing its will up front, the Raiders’ offensive line should manhandle Los Angeles’ injury-wrecked defensive interior, while Jacobs has 17-plus touches in five straight games. Even as his receiving usage continues to underwhelm, Jacobs offers high-end RB1 upside in this plum spot. The Chargers are without first-team DT Justin Jones (shoulder), while critical run defenders NT Brandon Mebane (knee) and MLB Denzel Perryman (knee) are questionable. … Derek Carr has shown minimal upside with one fantasy outcome above QB12, while 7-of-9 quarterbacks to face the Chargers have undershot QB12 results. Although Carr has developed into a high-floor option with three-straight top-16 finishes, Carr is rarely a ceiling play as a short-area passer and game manager who adds nothing on the ground. He’s a fine two-QB-league play but a weak streamer. … Jalen Richard belongs on one-game DFS-tournament radars after Richard led Oakland in Week 9 receiving yards (3/56/0) and parlayed his five touches into 68 scoreless yards. Jacobs is the Raiders’ clear bellcow back, but Richard dominated for stretches in last Sunday’s win over the Lions and might command a bit more usage on a short week.
Carr’s 2019 target distribution: Darren Waller 59; Hunter Renfrow 37; Tyrell Williams 34; Richard 17; Foster Moreau 16; Jacobs 15; DeAndre Washington 11; Derek Carrier 10; Zay Jones 6; Marcell Ateman 2. … Waller’s Week 10 matchup is poor on paper – the Chargers have allowed the NFL’s eighth-fewest catches to tight ends (31) – but Waller is a bet-on-usage player whose teammates’ recent success will benefit him in the long run. The Texans and Lions clearly game planned to take Waller away from Carr in the last two weeks, only for Jacobs, Williams, and Renfrow to step up and make them pay. … Renfrow’s consecutive box-score lines are 4/88/1 and 6/54/1, notable for one-game DFS slates and PPR-specific WR3 deep leaguers. Renfrow operates inside, where struggling Chargers slot CB Desmond King has submitted completions on 24-of-27 targets for 274 yards (10.1 YPA) and two touchdowns. … For one-game DFS slaters, Week 9 Raiders routes run were distributed as follows: Jones 29; Williams and Waller 26; Renfrow 22; Moreau 8; Ateman 4; Carrier 2; Trevor Davis 1. All told, the Chargers are surrendering the NFL’s eighth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. … Williams is the likeliest Raiders receiver to command Casey Hayward’s shadow, unideal since Hayward has permitted 211 yards and one touchdown on 32 targets (6.6 YPA) this season. Williams is a boom-bust WR2/3 option for Week 10.
Score Prediction: Chargers 27, Raiders 24