Last updated: October 31st at 8:15am ET
Team Totals: Packers 25.5, Chargers 22.5
On absolute fire as fantasy’s No. 2 quarterback behind only Deshaun Watson over the last five weeks, Aaron Rodgers’ trajectory continues to point upward with Davante Adams (toe) due back against the Chargers. Green Bay’s offense looks better every week under first-year OC Matt LaFleur, with Rodgers on pace for a five-year high in yards per attempt (8.2) and his most passing yards per game since 2011 (290.5). Even facing a respectable L.A. pass defense that has held 6-of-8 enemy quarterbacks below top-12 fantasy results, Rodgers has earned matchup-proof treatment, especially with his top wideout back. … While we must acknowledge Jamaal Williams isn’t going away from Green Bay’s RBBC barring injury at this point, NFL touchdown leader Aaron Jones (11) has finally emerged as the Packers’ clear lead back after out-snapping Williams 63% to 48% and out-touching him 20 to 10 in last Sunday night’s road win over Kansas City. Deployed quite similarly to 2017-2018 Todd Gurley under LaFleur pal Sean McVay, Jones is dominating on swing passes and outside-zone runs designed to get him on the edges. Jones has at least four catches in five straight games and gained the vast majority of his Week 8 receiving line (7/159/2) after aligning at wideout. Generously yielded 4.49 yards per carry to enemy backs, the Bolts resurrected David Montgomery’s season (27/135/1) on the ground last week. Jones has earned elite RB1 treatment, while Williams projects for 8-12 touches as a low-end to mid-range flex play at L.A.
Adams’ return will create a muddled situation behind him after the Packers used a four-man WRBC in Week 8 with Allen Lazard running the most routes (32), Geronimo Allison second (29), Marquez Valdes-Scantling third (28), and Jake Kumerow fourth (19). None of them cleared 50 yards against the Chiefs, and LaFleur’s increased commitment to featuring his running backs in the passing game bodes poorly for Green Bay’s ancillary receivers. … I’m treating Adams as a risky WR2 in his first game back from a month-long absence. I’m not certain about his health and role, and Adams will very likely draw Chargers top CB Casey Hayward, who has allowed just 211 yards and one touchdown on 30 targets through eight games. L.A. is yielding the NFL’s eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers. … Once Adams gets fully up to speed, my best guess is we’ll see him starting outside with Allison in the slot and a rotation of Lazard and MVS on the opposite side. With minimal usage clarity and five wideouts capable of playing extensively, this is a wait-and-see fantasy week for the entire corps. … Jimmy Graham’s wild ups and downs in an offense where targets are spread thinly renders him a touchdown-or-bust TE2 each week. Graham has finished with 30 yards or fewer in 5-of-8 games and topped five targets in just 1-of-8.
Back home after ending their three-game losing skid at Soldier Field, the Chargers host a Packers pass rush that has faded considerably since its hot start, dropping to 18th in both sack rate (6.8%) and QB Hit Rate (14.9%) while yielding top-16 fantasy results to four of its last five quarterbacks faced, including top-12 finishes to Matt Moore, Dak Prescott, and Carson Wentz. Chargers LT Russell Okung’s Week 8 return paid instant dividends; Philip Rivers was sacked just once among six hits by Chicago’s vaunted pass rush. Albeit never an upside play, Rivers is a viable fringe QB1 with top-14 fantasy results in 5-of-8 starts. … If there ever was one, this is a get-right spot for Melvin Gordon against a leaky Green Bay front that’s yielded 178/879/8 (4.94 YPC) rushing to enemy backs. While it’s certainly possible the Chargers’ running game is simply so broken they’re incapable of executing against anyone, this is as favorable a matchup as they come for an offensive line that all too often yields penetration; Miami, Cincinnati, and Washington are the NFL’s only three teams generating tackles for loss at a lower rate than the Packers. I’m considering Gordon a low-end RB2/flex play and Austin Ekeler a PPR-specific RB2/flex in promoted QBs coach Shane Steichen’s first game calling plays. At age 34, Steichen will hopefully bring some creativity to an offense and ground game specifically that grew mundane under ex-OC Ken Whisenhunt.
Rivers’ Weeks 6-8 target distribution: Keenan Allen 27; Hunter Henry 23; Mike Williams 22; Ekeler 15; Gordon 10; Virgil Green 4; Jason Moore 2. … Allen gutted out his Week 8 hamstring scare to play 69% of Los Angeles’ snaps and absurdly draw 10 targets on just 25 routes run. He appears to be in no danger of missing Week 9 and is popping as this week’s No. 4 buy-low wideout in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model. Allen runs 53% of his routes inside, where Green Bay has coughed up 8.07 yards per attempt and five touchdowns on 57 slot targets. … Williams is also popping in Week 9’s Buy Low Model while running 40% of his routes inside. Based on body type, Williams seems likelier to draw plus-sized Packers CB Kevin King than smaller Jaire Alexander when he aligns outside. King has been burned for 567 yards on 49 targets (11.6 YPA) compared to Alexander’s 7.5 YPA permitted. Williams remains a boom-bust WR3 each week. … Henry also catches a plus Week 9 draw; Packers opponents are 42-of-59 passing (71%) for 446 yards (7.6 YPA) and five touchdowns when targeting tight ends. In PPR points per game, only Austin Hooper (17.9) and Darren Waller (16.3) are averaging more than Henry (16.1) among NFL tight ends.
Score Prediction: Packers 30, Chargers 24