Chargers vs. Raiders
This game is not great on paper. The red-hot Chargers come into Oakland facing a team that seems to be spiraling out of control. With the Chargers defense rounding into shape this game has all the makings of a blowout.
Is there any chance the Raiders can stop Philip Rivers?
QB Philip Rivers has been incredible this season and this Raiders does not stand a chance. They come in second to last in points allowed while also boasting the second to last pass coverage and pass rush units according to Pro Football Focus. Other than a large early lead, there will be nothing stopping Rivers from posting a top-five fantasy performance this week.
What can we expect from the running backs this week?
The game flow should favor the running backs this week as Melvin Gordon could be in for another huge week. If he looks as dynamic as he was last week against the Seahawks the Raiders will have no chance of stopping him. RB Austin Ekeler could also have a legitimate opportunity to produce this week as he could see plenty of touches in the second half. Ekeler has been quiet since the first few weeks but this week might be one of the best weeks to utilize Ekeler.
How will the target share shakeout this week?
As with Rivers, the only thing preventing the receivers from putting up big weeks is the Raiders inability to score. There simply might not be enough targets to go around this week. In any event, all the receivers have plus matchups on paper this week. Keenan Allen will continue to lead the team and targets and hopefully he can find the end zone against this poor secondary. Trying to predict whether WR Mike Williams or WR Tyrell Williams will be more productive is always difficult. Both of them have become boom or bust receivers that are not consistent in their production.
Will the defense continue to play well?
Starting CB Trevor Williams was a late-week addition to the injury report and DE Joey Bosa is out yet again. Even with this, CB Desmond King and CB Casey Hayward Jr. have played exceptional in the last few weeks which makes this team very hard to pass against. The Raiders anemic offense should struggle yet again as the Chargers make for one of the strongest D/ST plays this week.
Will the run game get rolling against the Chargers?
The Chargers held Oakland to only 41 rushing yards in their first matchup of the season on October 7th in Los Angeles. Marshawn Lynch, now on the IR, was the team’s leading rusher with a putrid 31 yards on nine carries. The Raiders will now face the Joey Bosa-less Chargers’ defense for the second time without Lynch in the backfield. This could spell trouble for Oakland on Sunday. Doug Martin is yet to rush for 75 yards in a game this season and has not scored a touchdown. Oakland needs their rushing game to step up and take some of the pressure off quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders have struggled to get any kind of downfield pass game going the last few weeks, and it might be because they have struggled to find success running the ball. It hasn’t helped that Oakland’s offensive line is one of the most inexperienced position groups in the NFL. Pro Football Focus ranked the Raiders’ o-line as the third worst group in the NFL with only the Dolphins and Cardinals behind them. The Chargers should dominate the Raiders’ offensive line Sunday and hold Martin and Jalen Richard to under 75 yards on the ground.
Will Jared Cook get targeted more?
This seemed like a resurgent season for Jared Cook in the first few weeks of the season. Cook was targeted 12 times against the Rams and 13 times against the Browns as he burst onto the scene as the top target for Carr. But with Carr struggling to get the ball downfield, Cook’s number of targets have dropped. Cook has had two targets in two of the last three games and no more than six since September. The top target for the Raiders this week will once again be Richard. The Raiders’ running back-wide receiver hybrid has caught 43 of his 49 targets this season for 348 yards and no touchdowns. Carr has continued to dump off passes to Richard with the pass game breaking down. As for Oakland’s receivers, Brandon LaFell has become a quality target for Carr. The LSU-product has caught six passes in two games for Oakland. LaFell entered the picture with Amari Cooper being traded two weeks ago.
Will the Raiders’ Defense break a record?
Yep, the Raiders might break a defensive record this season. It might sound crazy, but they will. The record would be worst fantasy total for a DST in one season. No DST has ever finished with a negative point total in a season and Oakland currently sits at -3 for the season. The Raiders have forced only six turnovers this season and have allowed 407 yards per game. I know that no one out there is considering starting the Raiders’ DST this week, but I feel it is necessary to break down why they are a horrible fit this week. The Raiders have allowed 19 passing touchdowns this year and the Chargers have put up 19 scores in the air this season. Philip Rivers torched the Raiders for 339 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting of the season. Three Chargers’ receivers had 60 or more yards in the win. Los Angeles’ offensive weapons are must-starts this week against one of the worst defenses in NFL history.
Boom: Jalen Richard
Bust: Doug Martin
Sleeper: Brandon LaFell