Cleat Geeks

Thursday Night Preview: San Diego Chargers vs Oakland Raiders

 

The Chargers and the Raiders will face-off on Thursday Night Football in a battle of the irrelevant: AFC West edition. These two teams have met a total of 112 times; the Raiders lead the all-time series 60-50-2.

Line of scrimmage

The Chargers have had a disappointing season plagued by injuries and find themselves at the bottom of the AFC West. Because of the injuries to the offensive line, the running game has not been able to get going, and this led to Melvin Gordon having an extremely disappointing rookie season. He was just placed on IR which will shut him down for the last two weeks. He finishes the season with 641 rushing yards, and he was unable to find the end zone all season. The rest of the offense hasn’t been terrible since they average 20 points and 394.7 yards per game. The yards are pretty good, but they struggle to score. Even though this team has been bad, they must have some positive vibes from their defense which has played well this season. The rush defense isn’t great, but the secondary has been strong by giving up only 250 passing yards per game.

Oakland Raiders v San Diego Chargers

The Raiders were knocked out of playoff contention last week, and if that wasn’t bad enough, Charles Woodson announced that this will be his final season. This team has taken some big strides this season under head coach Jack Del Rio. Second-year quarterback Derek Carr is much improved and has 3,589 passing yards with 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions through 14 games. He has loved throwing to the rookie, Amari Cooper, who is the Raiders’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Randy Moss did it ten years ago. Defensively the Raiders love to get after the quarterback. They are top-ten for sacks with 36. Even though they are eliminated from the playoffs, they still have something to play for this week. There is a good chance that this will be the last game the Raiders play in O.co Coliseum, and they would love to leave the place with a good divisional win.

 

Fantasy:

001a01Copper1c

Although I think Rivers will put together a pretty good game, I don’t think you should look to start him in your fantasy playoffs or daily leagues. The Raiders will bring the heat, but this should open up a great opportunity for Rivers to dump it off to either Woodhead or Gates. With Gordon out, I think Woodhead becomes a solid RB2 in PPR with RB1 upside. The Raiders give up the third-most points to tight ends, so Gates is a good option here. Gates is a top-seven option with top-five upside this week. The Chargers have struggled in the red zone, and maybe forcing it to Gates will be the best option for them this week.

The Raiders have quite a bit of players who are relevant to fantasy. Carr threw for 289 and three touchdowns last time against them, and I see similar numbers this time. Cooper and Crabtree have been a great duo for the Raiders this year, so look for them to get involved early. Cooper had the better game against them last time with 133 yards and a touchdown, but I think Crabtree is the one with the better game this time around. Either way, both guys will likely be low-end WR2 to high end WR3. Latavius Murray will be a top-12 option at running back this week against a poor Chargers run defense. He had 85 yards and a touchdown against them last time, and I think he produces similar numbers with 75-85 yards.

 

Prediction:

Baltimore Ravens v Oakland Raiders

When legends and leaders like Charles Woodson announce things like retirement, teammates have a way of rallying together and playing for that guy who has done so much for them. This emotion and the other emotions from this possibly being their last game in Oakland will help the Raiders charge towards victory as the beat the Chargers 31-27.

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