Kickoff: Sunday, November 7th at 4:05 PM ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Betting Odds: PHI -6.5, 50 Total on Oddshark
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert (Start)
Sure, Justin Herbert currently sits at QB10 on the quarterback leaderboard so far this season, but he’s been unsettlingly inconsistent. Per FantasyPros, the second-year signal caller has scored fewer than 20 fantasy points in four of his seven games so far this season, including his two most recent outings. His completion percentage has dropped every week since his Week 2 high (75.6 percent), and he has scrambled for more than 20 yards only once so far this season.
This week, he draws an Eagles pass defense that allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete over 76 percent of their passes in the month of October. While the recent rout of the Detroit Lions resides in our minds, it’s important to remember that as dominant as the Eagles were against Sam Darnold and an unarmed Jared Goff, they have allowed an average of 284 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions to the other four quarterbacks they’ve faced in their last six games. We expect a bit of a bounce-back performance from Herbert, who should finish as a mid-to-low-end QB1 this week.
Austin Ekeler (Start, RB1), Justin Jackson (Sit), Joshua Kelley (Sit), Larry Roundtree (Sit)
Austin Ekeler is the overall RB2 in fantasy points per game among backs who’ve played in five or more games. He shook off an injury designation (hip) to post a respectable day for his fantasy managers, racking up 124 yards on 17 touches while notching his eighth touchdown of the season. Start Ekeler with confidence as a bonafide RB1.
Since Ekeler’s injury is one he can play through with few limitations, the trio of Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley, and Larry Roundtree is rendered useless for fantasy purposes. We have no issues with stashing your favorite from this trio on a deep bench as a handcuff for Ekeler, but understand that not a single one offers standalone value. As long as Ekeler’s able to suit up and take the field, none of the three should appear in fantasy lineups, even in larger leagues.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Keenan Allen (Start, WR1), Mike Williams (Start, WR2), Jalen Guyton (Sit), Josh Palmer (Sit), Jared Cook (Start)
Back in Week 3, we suggested Keenan Allen would leap over Mike Williams this week and retake his role as the Chargers’ main target hog. Sure, we were wrong, but we prefer to say that we missed by five weeks: Allen saw 11 targets last week, while Williams only had five balls thrown his way. Expect more of the same this week, as we anticipate Allen playing most of his snaps out of the slot, where he’ll draw a favorable matchup against slot cornerback Avonte Maddox. Meanwhile, we think Williams will have his hands full with Darius Slay, who’s playing at an All-Pro level this season:
Darius Slay through 8 games:
– 4th highest graded CB (78.6)
– Tied 4th in defensive stops (13)
– 4th lowest yards/rec (7.2)
– Allowed under 20 yards in 5 games
– Only Mike Evans has over 20 yards on him (27)#Eagles pic.twitter.com/H9mOFVl7oA
— Thomas R. Petersen (@thomasrp93) November 1, 2021
Start Allen with confidence as a low-end WR1 this week. We don’t anticipate a big week for Williams, but we have a hard time sitting him, given the season he’s had so far. Expect mid-range WR2 production for a player who can make a fantasy manager’s day with one play if Slay so much as trips and falls on a go route.
We can’t recommend starting Jalen Guyton or Josh Palmer as a flex option until we see one of the other emerge as a consistent third or fourth option in the passing game. This week, we expect Jared Cook to fill that role from the tight end position: he’s on the cusp of being a startable option against an Eagles defense that has been fairly generous to opposing tight ends. Only five teams have allowed more points per game to the position, a matchup that allows fantasy managers to safely start Cook as a low-end WR1 this week.
Jalen Hurts (Start)
Well, Hurts Haters caught up in Minshew Mania got their wish last week: Jalen Hurts didn’t throw a single touchdown, scored none on the ground, and the Eagles benched him in favor of Gardner Minshew late in the second half of a blowout last week. Not so fast, though: the Eagles won 44-6, so we won’t be seeing much of the mustache going forward unless this one becomes a laugher.
Despite a disappointing day from a fantasy perspective, Hurts is the overall QB4 on the season so far. It’s important to point out how much of an anomaly the game was: the Eagles, who famously eschewed the ground game so far this season, pounded the ball with their running backs with reckless abandon. Hurts still managed to grind out 71 yards on the ground, so his abysmal passing line (9 of 14, 103 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT), while disappointing, didn’t completely bury his fantasy managers.
Boston Scott (Start, Flex), Kenny Gainwell (Sit), Jordan Howard (Sit)
After watching Boston Scott and Jordan Howard run through the defense for a pair of touchdowns apiece, it was clear that the Eagles decided to throw a Halloween Party in Detroit and go as the ’72 Dolphins. It was Kenny Gainwell‘s costume that *really* threw us off: the rookie, who had been a steady contributor with a healthy Miles Sanders around, decided to dress up as a ghost. Gainwell was invisible in the first half, and ineffective in the second, ending up with a ghastly 27 yards in a game where much more was expected from him.
The Eagles ran the ball 46 times last week and attempted only 16 passes; not all of that was a product of game script, as the Eagles were committed to the run from the jump. We don’t expect that same level of commitment to the ground game again this week, so we’re throwing off the cloak of recency bias and adjusting our expectations accordingly.
That said, we can’t completely ignore the usage tendencies we saw, so we like Boston Scott as a flex option this week. While we’re a bit spooked by Gainwell’s disappearing act, we can endorse him as a low-end, emergency flex for those in tight spots due to injuries and bye weeks. Meanwhile, we expect Jordan Howard‘s role to be the most mercurial of them all until Miles Sanders returns; we expect to see him featured in short-yardage and goal line situations, limiting his upside in PPR formats.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
DeVonta Smith (Start, WR3), Quez Watkins (Sit), Jalen Reagor (Sit), Greg Ward (Sit), Dallas Goedert (Start)
DeVonta Smith is firmly on our radar this week despite a disappointing Week 8 performance. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has logged at least five catches in three of his last five contests, so he’s a respectable WR3 option, despite a tough matchup: only one team has allowed fewer points per game to fantasy WRs than the Chargers.
Jalen Reagor sustained an ankle injury in last week’s game against the Lions; he did not practice on Wednesday. Speedster Quez Watkins, who led all Eagles wide receivers with an 89 percent snap share in Week 8, should see an increase in targets. Greg Ward will log plenty of snaps, but we don’t anticipate he’ll see many passes thrown his way.
Dallas Goedert is our strongest start recommendation from either team in this game. In the two-week stretch since Zach Ertz was traded, Goedert is tied for the team league in targets (12) with Smith. The tight end from South Dakota State enjoyed an insane 43.8% target share last week, clearly establishing himself as a go-to option in the passing game. Expect a Top 5 finish this week with overall TE1 upside.