What We Saw: Week 18

Week 18 was one of the craziest of the season thanks to Jacksonville's stout defense

Chargers @ Raiders

Final Score: Raiders 35, Chargers 32 (OT)

Writer: Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, /u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)


I have to be honest – this may have been one of the best football games I’ve ever seen. With their whole seasons on the line, a win guaranteeing a playoff spot to both teams, but also, a tie offering a playoff spot to both teams? Could that even be possible? With the Chargers behind by as many as 15 points in the 4th quarter, it certainly didn’t seem like it for a minute. QB Justin Herbert and the Chargers had other ideas. Converting several 4th downs along the way, the Chargers fought back to tie the game as regulation expired to force overtime.

As the clock ticked down past the two-minute warning in overtime with the score tied 32-32, it felt like Raiders’ head coach Rich Bisaccia had decided to play for the tie. That is – until Chargers’ head coach Brandon Staley called a timeout with 38 seconds left. When asked whether Staley’s decision affected Las Vegas’ decision-making process regarding playing for the tie after the game, Raiders’ QB Derek Carr admitted the obvious, “It definitely did, obviously.” The Raiders, looking at 3rd and 4 from what would have been perhaps slightly out of K Daniel Carlson‘s range at a 57-yard field goal, set up a well-designed run play to RB Josh Jacobs – who took it for 10 yards to set up Carlson for a 47-yard game-winner, instead. It was all even crazier when you considered that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ unlikely path to a playoff spot got a serious boost after Jacksonville upset Indianapolis earlier on Sunday. That basically guaranteed the Steelers a playoff spot – unless, the Chargers and Raiders matchup ended in a tie. I found myself (as I’m sure some of you did as well) rooting for the tie, unlike anything I have rooted for in a long time. The story would have just been too juicy. What did this wacky game produce for your fantasy team in your championship week? Let’s dive into what we saw:


Los Angeles Chargers




Justin Herbert: 34/64, 383 yards, 3 TD, INT | 2 carries, 1 yard


It’s been an up-and-down fantasy season for Chargers’ QB Justin Herbert, but on Sunday night he showed us how bright his star power can really be. The Chargers had no business hanging around for so long and were just a few plays away from forcing a tie – and forcing their way into the playoffs. But even though they fell short, Herbert’s 4th quarter heroics can’t be overstated. Down 15 with about 4 and a half minutes left to go, Herbert hit rookie WR Joshua Palmer with this absolute dart on 4th and 21:


After a quick three-and-out, Herbert orchestrated a 19 play, 83-yard TD drive concluding with this unthinkably easy 12-yard strike to WR Mike Williams to force OT:


Near the end of overtime, you could read Herbert’s lips on the sideline as he muttered, “I’ve never wanted a tie so bad.” We know the feels, Justin. Ultimately Herbert couldn’t do enough to secure a win or a playoff spot for the Chargers, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.




Running Backs


Austin Ekeler: 16 carries, 64 yards, TD | 12 targets, 5 receptions, 35 yards, TD

Justin Jackson: 3 carries, 20 yards | 1 target


Chargers’ fantasy darling RB Austin Ekeler had a monstrous first half on Sunday night. Ekeler found the end-zone twice in the second quarter – first on this 14-yard scamper:



On the Chargers’ very next possession, Ekeler decided to punch it again for 14 yards, this time through the air:



Ekeler was quieted down in the second half, however. With the Raiders jumping out to a two-score lead, the Chargers opted to sling it around to play catch up. Either way, if you had Ekeler in your lineup for your championship matchup this week, he didn’t let you down.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Mike Williams: 17 targets, 9 receptions, 119 yards, TD

Keenan Allen: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 52 yards

Jared Cook: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 80 yards

Joshua Palmer: 9 targets, 4 receptions, 45 yards, TD


The biggest story of the night for the Chargers’ pass-catching group may have been the lack of impact from star WR Keenan Allen. Allen had a tough time getting separation throughout most of the game and his longest reception went for just 14 yards. WR Mike Williams made some of the biggest plays of the night for the Chargers. Not just on the TD shown earlier, but he converted two 4th downs on the Chargers’ final two game-tying drives. TE Jared Cook opened up the second half with a huge 42-yard play – which accounted for most of his yardage on the night. Overall it was a tough night for this group, but if you started Williams with confidence, it likely paid off for you.


Las Vegas Raiders




Derek Carr: 20/36, 186 yards, 2 TD | 1 carry, -1 yards


It might not have been a great fantasy performance for Raiders’ QB Derek Carr on Sunday night, but he made enough plays to lead the Raiders to a playoff berth for the first time in his NFL career. Carr and the Raiders’ offense leaned on a fantastic performance from RB Josh Jacobs, but at the same time, Carr threw a couple of TD passes and avoided turning the ball over. Carr turned out to be more of a boom-or-bust streaming option this season for fantasy purposes – which has been true for most of his career. That being said, it’s nice to see Carr finally lead the Raiders (and the Steelers) to the NFL playoffs.


Running Backs


Josh Jacobs: 26 carries, 132 yards, TD | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards

Jalen Richard: 2 carries, 24 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 3 yards


Raiders’ RB Josh Jacobs turned in one of the best games of his career in what turned out to be one of the most important games of his career, as well. Jacobs ran with a purpose on Sunday night – 130 of his 132 rushing yards came after contact. Jacobs also found the end-zone – which was set up after a friendly pass-interference call against Los Angeles set up the Raiders with this 1st and goal:



Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Bryan Edwards: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 63 yards

Hunter Renfrow: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 13 yards, 2 TD

Darren Waller: 9 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards


With Jacobs and the run game taking the bulk of the work on Sunday night, it was a quiet fantasy night for the Raiders’ pass-catching group. TE Darren Waller returned from a 5-game absence from injury and didn’t quite look like himself. Most of his 9 targets were heavily covered or otherwise not the most efficient. Waller also had a couple of drops while he shook some rust off. WR Hunter Renfrow has emerged as the de facto WR1 for the Raiders and has clearly become one of Derek Carr’s most trusted targets. Renfrow only accounted for 13 total receiving yards even after this 12-yard TD grab late in the first:



And then this 2-yard TD catch early in the fourth:


That’s right, Renfrow’s other two catches went for -1 total yards.


— Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)

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