What We Saw: Week 12

Is Cordarrelle Patterson the best waiver wire find of the year? Probably.

Chargers @ Broncos

Final Score: Broncos 28, Chargers 13

Writer: Joe Orlofski (@joeorlofski on Twitter)

 

The Chargers once again were run all over, allowing the Broncos to beat them by only throwing the ball 25 times.  Justin Herbert and the offense struggled to get the ball moving and this one was an easy cruise to victory for Denver. Although this one didn’t feature a ton of offense, there were plenty of players who didn’t disappoint in fantasy leagues.  Let’s take a deeper dive into some of those players.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

 

Quarterback

 

Justin Herbert: 28/44, 303 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT | 4 carries, 36 yards

 

Justin Herbert’s stats might not scream struggle, but Herbert made some bad mistakes in this one that cost the Chargers the game.  His first mistake came early in the fourth quarter.

 

 

Herbert seemed to just plain underthrow his Tight End Jared Cook, and it was easily intercepted by rookie Patrick Surtain. This interception eventually led to a scoring drive that made it 21-7.

Unfortunately for Herbert, Surtain wasn’t done with him.  On the next drive, Herbert was once again picked off by Surtain and he took it in for six.

 

 

This one was probably a bit on Ekeler as well as Herbert.  Ekeler should have caught the ball, however, it was a bit behind him and made it much more difficult than it needed to be.

Herbert remains a top fantasy Quarterback due to his touchdowns and yardage.  He has been a bit more mistake-prone recently, throwing six interceptions over his last five games.  Still, he is a must-start every week.

 

Running Back

 

Austin Ekeler: 12 carries, 31 yards | 8 targets, 6 receptions, 68 yards, TD

Joshua Kelley: 1 carry, 5 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards

 

Austin Ekeler was met by a brick wall on the ground in this one, so he turned to his usual pass-catching abilities to provide yet another big fantasy day.  Ekeler took a pass over the middle 13-yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter to cut the lead in half.

 

 

Ekeler was pretty much kept silent up until this point, scaring fantasy managers everywhere but after this score it was nothing but positive plays. Ekeler always seems to find a way to have a solid day when he has nothing on the ground, and today was no different.

The Chargers haven’t been consistent with backup Running Backs, with Joshua Kelley, Justin Jackson, and Larry Rountree III all seeing playing time in recent weeks.  In this one, we only saw Kelley, who didn’t do much.  The backups really aren’t worth rostering right now, and it would be very difficult to determine who would get the work if Ekeler were to go down with an injury.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Keenan Allen: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 85 yards

Mike Williams: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 39 yards

Jared Cook: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 25 yards, TD

Jalen Guyton: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 23 yards

Donald Parham Jr: 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards

Joshua Palmer: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 25 yards

Stephen Anderson: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 18 yards

 

Keenan Allen saw his usual usage, doing most of his damage on a 24-yard catch.  The rest of his catches came on shorter passes and Allen continues to be Herbert’s safety blanket.  Allen is still a must-start in fantasy leagues.

Mike Williams returned to his disappointing play, catching only four passes a week after he blew up against the Steelers.  Williams did have a deeper catch that was called back for OPI, but still, you probably would have been upset even if he reeled that one in.  Now, the Broncos obviously have a tough secondary, so you can’t completely fault Williams, but he has been putting up duds for a few weeks now so it is of concern.  Hopefully he bounces back next week against the Chiefs.

Jared Cook saved his fantasy day with a great catch in the endzone on a jump ball.  Herbert tossed it up on a “hail mary” type of play and Cook managed to come down with it.  That said, Cook is still a touchdown or bust Tight End in fantasy.

 

Denver Broncos

 

Quarterback

 

Teddy Bridgewater: 11/18, 129 yards, TD | 2 carries, 10 yards, TD

Drew Lock: 4/7, 26 yards, INT

 

Teddy Bridgewater didn’t break your fantasy week if you started him, but he certainly didn’t win you a week either.

His first big play came on a scramble that went 11-yards for a touchdown.

 

Bridgewater is not known to run much, so this rushing touchdown was a pleasant surprise for anyone who had to start him in fantasy. Bridgewater didn’t throw much and missed some time after taking an awkward hit that left him hobbled.  It appeared to be his left knee or ankle that was giving him issues and he did sit for some time before re-entering later in the game.

He must not have been too hobbled, showing his scrambling abilities once again to avoid a sack and find a receiver for a one-yard touchdown.

 

 

Bridgewater extended the play and made something out of what looked to be a bust. Overall Bridgewater continues his “meh” fantasy year.  If you need a spot start he is pretty good for a touchdown or two, but he won’t throw for many yards and don’t expect the rushing touchdowns to continue.

While Bridgewater was out, Drew Lock came in and did Drew Lock things. That is, he threw a few dump-offs and got picked. Guess he’s in midseason form.

 

Running Back

 

Melvin Gordon: 17 carries, 83 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards

Javonte Williams: 14 carries, 54 yards, TD | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 57 yards

 

 

Melvin Gordon got the start in this game and looked very good running the ball against the bad Charger run defense.  Gordon found holes and generally got chunk plays that allowed the Broncos to move down the field without really having to throw too often.

Javonte Williams didn’t do as much on the ground, but he made up for it with an easy touchdown run from the nine-yard line on third down.

 

 

Now it was a great draw play call by Denver since the Chargers obviously thought a pass was coming. Williams later caught a 42-yard pass that eventually led to another Broncos touchdown.

 

 

I’m not sure how he escaped the defense, but he was able to just squeak by on the sideline and showed great juke moves in the process.

The Broncos’ backfield continues to be a 50-50 timeshare, but it’s evident that both backs can perform well for fantasy purposes.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Jerry Jeudy:  3 targets, 2 receptions, 25 yards

Courtland Sutton: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards

Noah Fant: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 12 yards

Albert Okwuegbunam: 2 targets, 1 reception, 12 yards

Tim Patrick: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 26 yards

Eric Saubert: 1 target, 1 reception, 1 yard, TD

Kendall Hinton: 1 target

 

As I mentioned above, the Broncos receivers really didn’t need to do much in this game.  Between the Chargers allowing them to run all day and Bridgewater sitting for a bit with a leg injury, there really wasn’t much to write home about.

Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick were pretty much nonexistent, as was Tight End Noah Fant. Jeudy was wide open in the end zone on Bridgewater’s touchdown run, but obviously wasn’t targeted on the play. At this point, it’s hard to say any of these receivers are reliable week-to-week, although with the Chiefs coming up next week the Broncos will have to throw the ball a lot more.  Fant is still a decent Tight End in fantasy, and I still have hope that Jeudy has some big games coming up.

 

— Joe Orlofski (@joeorlofski on Twitter)

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