Well, the Chargers got their wish…the perfect storm. After starting 5-0, the Kansas City Chiefs have lost six of their last 7 games…allowing Oakland and the Chargers to crawl to 6-6 and suddenly tied with KC for the AFC West lead -- a three-way tie.
The Chargers are the hottest team of the AFC leading trio…winners of six of their last 8 games. They’ve been gifted with a fortuitous schedule – beating all .500 or worse teams this season. They’ve faced three winning teams this season…0-3 record. Having a 6-6 record is ‘in danger’ in the NFC. In the AFC, you’re in good shape for the playoffs…in the AFC West, you’re in position to win the division.
Consider why we suddenly like the Chargers? Beat Nathan Peterman in the most idiotic coaching move of the decade in Week 11. Beat a crippled, dying Dallas team in Week 12. Scuffled by the Browns in Week 13. We may want to slow down on scheduling the Chargers’ Super Bowl parade.
Oakland’s upcoming schedule should take them out of the picture, so the AFC West likely comes down to the winner of the Week 15 Chargers at Chiefs game. It’s anyone’s game, but I’d lean with the home team in December weather.
The Browns are now 0-12. Hue Jackson is 1-27 as Browns’ head coach. 1-31 in his last 32 games as an NFL head coach. I’m looking forward to the football media’s echo chamber of…”Poor, Hue! His player’s play so hard for him” all week, as usual.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Josh Gordon (4-85-0/11) looked fine. Looked like he had not skipped a beat. Got open with a little separation a few times in this game. It didn’t matter if Gordon was open by a lot or a little – DeShone Kizer found his new guy to throw blind passes to…just fling it and hope something good happens. Gordon was open nicely a few times and Kizer would throw it 20 feet over his head.
Based on what we saw this week, Gordon is the new Corey Coleman hopeful for fantasy each week…the guy getting most of the targets but those targets coming from an incompetent QB – so, you never have real confidence of what you’re going to get from him. Gordon is a WR1 or WR3 guy each week. Easy schedule with no shutdown corners to face the next three weeks.
Speaking of Corey Coleman (0-0-0/4)…Kizer ditched him fast. He used to throw his blind passes to Coleman but now they almost all go to Gordon. Coleman is a WR3-4 with Gordon sucking the oxygen out of the room/targets. Kizer ditched Coleman…you can too in redraft.
Long-term…it’s hard to say how this impacts Cleveland or Coleman, or Gordon. Will Gordon even be here in 2018 for any number of reasons? Who will the QB be?
-- Getting all the passes on the other side of the field was Keenan Allen (10-105-1/14), as usual…and for the last three weeks, as defenses seem unaware of this fact. Allen’s numbers the last three games: 11.0 rec. for 145.3 yards and 1.25 TDs per game. He’s the hottest thing in fantasy football.
Tougher sledding ahead with Washington, KC, and the Jets. The Browns might have posed some resistance with Jason McCourty (9 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD) but he wasn't on Allen all the time. After weeks of WR4 work, Allen has been far and away the best WR in fantasy the past three weeks. No reason to believe it won’t happen next week.
Rivers only has eyes for Allen…and it’s working. Tyrell Williams (1-8-0/3) keeps making spectacular individual plays the last few weeks but cannot spare a target his way. It’s just the way it is.
-- 12 more tackles for Joe Schobert (12 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 1 TFL)…as he closes in on my throwaway prophecy of him leading the league in tackles this season. He’s 4 behind Zach Brown for the lead.
Schobert’s numbers and play are improving every week. Remember, he’s a pass rushing OLB that just converted to ILB this year.
-- So now what with the Chargers DST? We got the beautiful Buffalo event in Week 11. Some got the sweet Week 12 vs. Dallas. Many got this good-not-awesome Browns event. So what now?
Week 14 they are facing Washington. The Redskins will be the best offense they’ve faced in weeks. However, Washington has many O-Linemen banged up and are now out of the playoff race. It’s not a great play, but given how good the Chargers defense is and how much the Redskins have struggled with the Giants and Cowboys the last two weeks…you could use LAC Week 14 with some confidence.
Week 15 at KC…the Chiefs have been scuffling so this might be OK too. However, the Chiefs changed to a different play caller, which can be confusing for defenses until they get a book built on the new guy, and it’s possible Patrick Mahomes could be starting. In general, I don’t love this matchup.
Week 16 at NYJ feels good but Josh McCown is tearing things up. However, Christian Hackenberg may be getting a look by then.
There’s hope the next three weeks of a strong DST1 with LAC but it’s not obvious or optimal with the schedule.
Snap Counts of Interest…
50 = H Henry
27 = Gates
53 = Gordon
20 = Ekeler
51 = Coleman
48 = Gordon
36 = Higgins
36 = DeValve
34 = Njoku
30 = Ogunjobi (43%)
04 = Jatavis Brown (criminal)