For those of you who may not have realized yet, there is a football game on this evening between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, which means you had better set your rosters TODAY if you want to get credit from any of the players competing in tonight's contest.
So what about tonight's game? Well there are a few areas of concern for fantasy owners from both sides of the field.
Several injuries could pave the way for some new faces and many fans are still asking pertinent questions about key players as most fans begin to ramp up their efforts to make the fantasy playoffs.
Let's take a look at what's in store for this evening's contest, and we'll do so by breaking down each team specifically.
- With each team entering in to this contest 4-4, both the Raiders and Chargers are fighting for first place in the division. Despite the winner of this game, however, there is still the Kansas City Chiefs lurking in the background at 4-4 as well.
- The Oakland Raiders lead the divisional series 56-44-2. The Raiders swept the Chargers last year, and the last time San Diego actually beat Oakland was on November 1st, 2009 (24-16).
- Both teams are dealing with significant question marks regarding their quarterbacks, running backs and certain wide receivers.
- Last week the San Diego Chargers lost a tight shootout with the Green Bay Packers 45-38 while the Oakland Raiders lost a runaway contest to the Denver Broncos 38-24.
The Oakland Raiders:
The Raiders have to show they can do more on offense if they are to not only compete in this division, but also gain the trust from fantasy owners.
Carson Palmer is now under center, and while he didn't look all that bad last week, he still showed signs of his age and rust which makes him a dicey start against the 4th ranked pass defense in the league.
The big news out of Oakland is lead back Darren McFadden will not play leaving the door open for Michael Bush (19 carries for 96 yards / 2 catches for 33 yards and a TD against Denver in Week 9).
Bush, ranked 12th in our RB Rankings, faces a Chargers run defense that is ranked 16th in the league. Owners should be aware that McFadden isn't even running yet, and if he is still unable to play next week, it may be time to dump him.
In the receiving department, it's basically reap what you sow. Carson Palmer showed a high interest in Jacoby Ford last week catching five balls for 105 yards as he (Ford) got the start over DHB who should continue to be a racy fantasy start from here on out.
The Raiders also feature Denarius Moore who saw 12 targets last week, returned four punts and caught four balls for 61 yards. In short, the Raiders are clearly moving forward with Moore and Ford as their primary targets, which means their fantasy value is higher than the remaining balance of the team, but against the Chargers pass defense, it may be a less-than-spectacular night for both of them.
The San Diego Chargers:
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is having a terrible year. Rivers has already thrown 14 interceptions to his 11 touchdowns which has kept the speculation of Rivers possibly playing hurt very much alive and well.
The problem is, if you pay too much attention to that speculation, you'll forget that the guy is still completing 63.3% of his passes, and has already thrown for 2,469 yards. The moral here is that we can't expect Rivers to be perfect every year, and every so often, we all have to live with our quarterback throwing a pick or two....or, sometimes three.
You should still give him the nod against Oakland's 19th ranked passing defense.
On the ground,fantasy owners are looking at a Chargers backfield that has significant potential to produce some fantasy points, but it could also come in committee fashion.
RB Ryan Mathews is expected to return, which means Mike Tolbert could be pushed aside as a RB 2 option in the Chargers attack. The idea, however, is the Chargers could wind up putting more emphasis on the ground game against a Raiders run defense (ranked 29th) that gave up 297 yards to the Broncos last week.
If the Chargers do feature more running, the effect could actually bode well for the receivers.
The Broncos attacked the Raiders with a ton of option plays on the ground, and a bevy of play action plays for some deeper opportunities, and the Chargers are likely to take the same approach, but even if they do not, the success of the ground game could lead for a big day from Jackson and Gates, both in the red-zone, and on the deep-ball attack.
Malcom Floyd is considered doubtful for this game, and fellow receivers Patrick Crayton and Vincent Brown should get some initial looks, but don't expect much at all.
For a look at the defensive applications of this game, feel free to check out our extensive IDP portion of the site, and good luck to everyone this week.