This one wasn't easy for the Chargers, but it was supposed to be. Playing for their playoff lives…it was a 7-7 game with 5 minutes remaining, but the Chargers got the go-ahead TD and eventual win. People feared the L.A. team going east into the cold and wind…and they were right. The Chargers looked off all day but their defense saved them.
The Chargers are in a narrow spot for the playoffs, but plausible – essentially they need the Titans to lose while LAC wins in Week 17. The Chargers are favored over the Raiders but the Titans face a Jacksonville team with nothing to play for yet the J's are talking about playing with full force this week. If the Jags come to play, then the Chargers have a real chance at sneaking in. However, the odds seemed to be tipped against them.
The Jets keep scrapping every week but are losing with Bryce Petty. People are making fun of Petty but his three games of play have come at Denver, at New Orleans, and here with the Chargers – three tough NFL defenses, some of the toughest. Petty gets somewhat of a 'break' with New England this week.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I'd say Melvin Gordon (19-84-1, 3-47-0/3) is unlikely to go this week with an ankle issue – even if he is active he's likely going to be very limited.
Branden Oliver would get the start, and that's something fresh for Week 17 but not all that exciting. Oliver is usually strong for PPR…likely to see 5-8 targets as a full starter.
…that's if Austin Ekeler cannot get back to play this week. He's been working special teams with a broken hand but he's trying to get cleared to work at RB as well.
I’d bet on Oliver as a borderline RB1, with an outside shot of Gordon potentially/a long-shot active, limping in to spoil Oliver's party.
-- I'd like the Chargers passing game better than the run game for Week 17 fantasy given all the injuries. Tyrell Williams (5-50-0/6) seems to be creeping back into Philip Rivers' good graces. 13 targets his last two games…tied for the most he's had in any back-to-back games this season. Also, the most catches and yards in any three-game stretch this season is his last three games.
-- Robby Anderson (5-51-0/7) needs 61 more yards for a 1,000+ yard season and should get it versus New England.
Anderson has fallen off the FF map the past couple of weeks with Bryce Petty, but for the same reason Petty has been awful – Anderson has had Denver's CBs, Marshon Lattimore, and Casey Hayward…arguably three of the 5 best CBs in football have been on Robby the last three weeks. Stephon Gilmore is a break this week but not easy either.
-- The Chargers DST in their last 6 games have allowed 24-6-10-13-30-7 for points. Aside from the 30 allowed to KC, it's been all opponents under 13 points except the 24 they allowed to the Bills…where they got up by 40+ and gave up total junk time TDs.
The Chargers defense has dominated inferior offenses and the Raiders have about as sickly an offense as there is in football right now…and are missing key O-Lineman. They also might face a Carr-Manuel combo as well. Oakland hasn't scored over 17 points in their last 3 games.
I like a desperate, hot Chargers defense here.
Snap Counts of Interest…
27 = Powell
27 = Forte
10 = McGuire
53 = Gordon
20 = Oliver