Kickoff: Sunday, Nov 27, 4:05 Eastern
Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale AZ
Betting Odds: LAC -4.5 47.5 per Caesar’s Sportsbook
Writer: Michael James (@MikeoftheFF on Twitter)
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert (Start, QB1)
Week 11 was the first time Justin Herbert reached the 20-point threshold since Week 4. Both times were just 1 point over that mark at 21. However, the Cardinals are the second-most stingy team in points allowed this season so I think he will once again just barely reach that threshold this week to start the streak of 20+ point fantasy weeks. An active streak he’s already on that needs to stop is having thrown an interception in each of his last 5 games. Technically the one last week was nit-picky as time was expiring so throwing it away was not an option, but it still counts on your fantasy matchup. He also hasn’t thrown three touchdowns since Week 2 when he had the hero game against Kansas City. He got sacked a career-high five times last week, but this week he faces a Cardinals defense that Jimmy Garappolo just torched. The Cardinals have the second-highest amount of blitzes in the league. In direct correlation, Arizona also gives up the most yards after the catch, by a lot.
Austin Ekeler (Start,RB1)
The Chargers are facing a team known for blitzing out of their minds resulting in the quarterback dumping it off to their running back more often than usual, and the specific running back in question here is Austin Ekeler. I’m gonna be bold on this one and say you should start the #1 running back in PPR. Just kind of a “gut call,” you know what I mean?
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Keenan Allen (Start, WR2), Mike Williams (Sit if out/Start, WR2), Joshua Palmer (Start, WR3/2), DeAndre Carter (Sit if Williams plays, Start if Williams out/FLEX), Gerald Everett (Sit, TE2)
Keenan Allen saw his highest snap count of the season at 68% last week, and I think that goes up even further this week. The Cardinals have given up about 100 yards to Olave and Jefferson already this season. I see Allen sitting as a high WR2 against this Cardinal secondary. The Chargers have the same tools the 49ers just used to run up the scoreboard against the Cardinals last week with the combo of Allen/WR#2/Ekeler. Now, who is WR#2? Okay so let’s start the “if, then” train.
Well as of this writing all I can find is that Mike Williams re-injured his ankle, but it’s not considered “severe.” So IF he plays, I like him to also share in WR2 numbers complementing Allen. If he is out, that bumps Joshua Palmer from WR3 to WR2 as he moves into that complementary role that paid off huge for him last week against the Chiefs.
If Williams is out, next man up would be DeAndre Carter, who averaged 10-12 points when he was the #2, and FLEX points when he was the #3. Gerald Everett has missed the past game and if he makes it back for this one, his average depth of target is one of the lower ones for a tight end and tends to fade away in the red zone. That said, the Cardinals are the worst team against the tight end, so this one is a tough call. I don’t think I can write “start-coinflip” as a rank, can I?
Kyler Murray (Sit), Colt McCoy (Sit)
Coach Kingsbury has said Kyler Murray has made “significant progress but wants him to be 100% full throttle.” So I suppose we’ll have to see how his tune-up goes in the garage later this week to see whether they can give him the good octane stuff. I want no part of Colt McCoy if he’s starting. Murray has only had two games this year where he had 3 touchdowns. He’s thrown over 300 yards twice, and 250 four times. The Chargers have one of the lowest quarterback pressure rates in the league. His injury has prevented him from picking up any meaningful rushing yards with his leagues in all but one game this year. Hopefully, the rest allows him to be evasive in the pocket and buy his receivers time. The stats favor Murray who is averaging a 67% completion rating. So I think he will go for around 18 points with a hamstring issue putting him at a QB2. But what I really think is that the Cardinals are going to hold him one more week given that they have a BYE next week.
James Conner (Start, RB2), Keaontay Ingram (Sit)
The Chargers have a woeful 5.5 yards allowed per rushing attempt, good for worst in the league. This will be put to the test against James Conner who brings his epically savage 3.9 yards per carry on the season to bear. The Chargers have been gashed every week in the last four games by the run, and so I think that sets up Conner to put up RB2 numbers. It’s the battle of the movable object versus the stoppable force, as Conner has not had a single game over 70 yards this season (going over 60 just once) and has 4 touchdowns on the year through 8 games played. The Chargers meanwhile have allowed players like Pacheco, Mitchell, Allgeier, and Walker to run wild on them, averaging 7.3 yards per carry allowed over those last four games. I think Conner will get his usual 55 yards and a touchdown in this game.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
DeAndre Hopkins (Start, WR1), Marquise Brown (Start, WR3/2), Rondale Moore (Start, WR3/2), A.J. Green (Start, FLEX), Greg Dortch (Sit), Trey McBride (Sit)
Oh boy, more injuries to sift through. Do the Cardinals play Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch? Or do they hold them out for the upcoming BYE next week? As of writing this, Dortch is set to undergo an MRI, so we’re going to play it safe and rule him out. Moore injured his groin in the first quarter of last night’s game. The severity of Moore’s injury should be detailed further tomorrow, after the deadline of this article. I could see a situation where they activate Marquise Brown to come back if Moore has to miss the game. I could also see the flip of that scenario where Moore is cleared to play and so they decide to give Brown the benefit of additional two weeks of healing. This is a tough one to crack.
What is known is that when the receiving corps has gaps due to injury, A.J. Green has stepped up to deliver FLEX points, and given that I’m assuming there will be at least one player if not more ruled out, I can see him continuing the production. Trey McBride played the last two weeks stepping up for Zach Ertz on injured reserve, but nothing meaningful to suggest here so far. Will need to see it first before taking that leap. DeAndre Hopkins should be good for WR2 numbers if he doesn’t score, and even more to the top if he does get the touchdown. Now that I’ve stalled long enough, I believe it will play out that we will see Brown or Moore, but not both. I think they will keep Moore out and activate Brown but keep him on a snap count coming back, which would place him on the border between WR3 and WR2. We should find out more tomorrow after I submit this to the site.