Game Previews: All Fantasy Relevant Players For Week 5
Raiders vs. Chargers
The Raiders head to the City of Angels looking to win their back-to-back games for the first time since early December of 2017. Derek Carr and company put up 45 points against Cleveland last week to end a three-game losing streak. Oakland will look to start a winning streak this week as they take on division foe Los Angeles in week five.
Will Derek Carr build on his week four performance?
Carr was magnificent last week against the Browns. The fifth-year quarterback threw for 437 yards and four touchdowns on 58 attempts in Oakland’s first win of 2018. Carr will look to build on his best performance of the year against a struggling Chargers’ defense. Los Angeles is allowing the fourth-most yards per passing attempt and are one of six teams to allow ten or more passing touchdowns through four games. Carr has the opportunity to go off against the Chargers’ defense this week. Carr has completed 71 percent of his passes this season and has totaled 1,373 yards in the air in four games. The Fresno State product has been impressive outside of his high turnover total. Carr has thrown seven interception this season in only four games. NFL Matchup on Twitter pointed out that Carr has the fifth-lowest QB Rating when he faces a blitz. Carr tends to make bad choices when he is faced with pressure. Luckily for Carr, the Chargers are tied for 22nd in sacks and 23rd in yards lost on sacks. Carr has a chance to feel comfortable in the pocket against Los Angeles, which could mean a drop in his turnover numbers. If Carr plays turnover-free ball, he could put up huge numbers.
This game has a chance to turn into a shootout. If this matchup does turn into a high-scoring affair, Carr will get plenty of attempts for the second consecutive week. Against a weak Chargers’ defense, Carr might be a good choice to start on Sunday.
Big numbers for Carr means big numbers for his receivers. Amari Cooper and Jared Cook both crossed over the century mark last week against Cleveland and Jordy Nelson did so two weeks ago against Miami. The Oakland receiving core could post big numbers against a secondary that allows an average of 276 passing yards per game. Los Angeles has allowed a receiver to total 100 or more yards in three of their four games this season. This could be a big help to Cooper. The fourth-year receiver from Alabama has struggled to find consistency over the last two seasons. Cooper has 100-yard performances in two of the last three weeks. If you were lucky enough to scoop Cook or Nelson up at some point, this might be a good week to start them. The Chargers allowed 125 yards from 49ers’ tight end George Kittle last week, which could spell good things for Cook this week. Cook leads all tight ends in yards (370) through four games.
Marshawn Lynch’s Unbelievable Start
Lynch is becoming the ageless wonder. The 32-year old running back is currently fourth in the NFL in rushing yards and fifth in carries. Lynch is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, which is highest average since 2014. This week, Lynch will go up against a Chargers’ defense that ranks in the bottom half of the league in rushing yards allowed per game and average yards per carry. Lynch ran for 63 and 101 yards in two games against the Chargers last season.
DON’T START THE DEFENSE
This game could be a nightmare for the Raiders’ defense. Phillip Rivers and Melvin Gordon have been putting up solid numbers through the first four weeks of the season. Rivers has thrown for 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions to this point. The Chargers’ offense does not turn the ball over often thanks to the consistency of Rivers and Gordon. The Raiders’ will be forced to try and stop Gordon and Austin Ekeler, a combo that has averaged over 100 yards per game this season. Sunday’s game will be a shootout, so avoid starting either team’s defense.
The Chargers host the Gruden led Raiders at “home” this week. There should be enough lingering Raiders fans to make this game feel neutral. If these teams were closer in talent, this would matter a lot more. However, the Chargers are the superior team and will take care of business this week.
How many points can the Chargers offense put up?
The Browns scored over 40 points last week and another large total against this Raiders defense should be expected. Starting with the league’s worst pass rush, this defense is deficient at nearly every position. With ever solid Philip Rivers and an outstanding surrounding cast, this game should be a blowout. Rivers did not play nearly as well as I predicted last week in a good matchup but I expect him to have a great fantasy week. The Charges offensive line is their main weakness but with the horrible Raiders pass rush, this should not be a problem
Philip Rivers: 270 yards, 4 TD, 0 Int
Melvin Gordon: 18 carries, 90 yards; 7 catches, 65 yards, 1 TD
Keenan Allen: 9 catches, 100 yards, 1 TD
Mike Williams: 5 catches, 60 yards, 1 TD
Tyrell Williams: 4 catches, 35 yards
Antonio Gates: 2 catches, 10 yards, 1 TD
Will we see Mike Williams in the game plan?
Tyrell Williams got more targets this past week which reverses the trend that I have seen since week 1. Antonio Gates also seems to have wormed his way into the game plan and remains a constant red zone threat even with his limited ability. I still believe Mike Williams will be the big play threat in this offense which gives him great upside every week. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is likely to play Sunday and will most likely play most of his snaps against Keenan Allen. While I think this matchup leans in the favor of Allen, Mike Williams will see corners Rashaan Melvin and Gareon Conley. None of these corners are horrible but Williams has enough talent and size to beat most second corners and this matchup is no different. I expect a bounce-back week for Williams.
How will the defense play this week?
The Raiders are not an explosive offense but have still been able to put up points. I think this is the week we finally see Casey Hayward Jr. return to his All-Pro level and shutdown Amari Cooper. Derwin James has been unbelievable so far this season and seems to be the steal of the draft. If this defense can rally around Derwin’s impressive start, they can become dominant. It is important to mention that the Chargers have faced both the Rams and the Chiefs already this year both of which are boasting MVP level quarterback play. These games do not represent the usual talent on other teams across the NFL and I believe this defense is going to be strong moving forward.