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How to watch, what to watch for Chargers vs. Bengals in Week 1

The Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals face off in Week 1 to open the 2020 NFL season. We break down how to watch the game, odds for the matchup, key injuries, and notable fantasy football start/sit considerations.

Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Los Angeles Chargers hands the ball of to Austin Ekeler #30 during the Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex on August 20, 2020 in Costa Mesa, California. Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Both of these teams were rotten last season, which pushed both to take quarterbacks in the first round of the NFL draft. The Bengals chose Joe Burrow with the first pick while the Chargers chose Justin Herbert with the No. 6 pick overall. But when these two teams meet this weekend, we’ll see Burrow and Tyrod Taylor leading their respective teams.

There isn’t a lot of pressure on either of these teams this season, as they are both in rebuild mode. That said, it will be fun to see how Burrow does in his first NFL game as he takes on a quality secondary, albeit without Derwin James again.

TV Info

Date: September 13
Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
Channel: CBS
Broadcast map

Notable Statistical rankings (Football Outsiders)

Chargers (2019): 20th vs. Pass, 25th vs. Rush
Bengals (2019): 28th vs. Pass, 28th vs. Rush

DraftKings Sportsbook odds

Chargers: -3.5, -182
Bengals: +3.5, +148
Total: 44

Pick: Chargers

This is a tough one to pick, as both teams have new quarterbacks, but when you look at their relative strength overall, the Chargers have more talent. That might not mean much if Joe Burrow starts off hot, but I expect the Chargers to slow the game down and win with high percentage offense while their defense works against the Bengals poor offensive line.

Injury report

Chargers

Wednesday

DNP: C Mike Pouncey (hip)

Limited: WR Mike Williams (shoulder)

Full: TE Virgil Green (quadricep), QB Tyrod Taylor (calf)

Thursday

DNP: C Mike Pouncey (hip)

Limited: WR Mike Williams (shoulder), T Bryan Bulaga

Full: TE Virgil Green (quadricep), QB Tyrod Taylor (calf)

Bengals

Wednesday

DNP: DT Geno Atkins (shoulder), DT Mike Daniels (groin), DE Carlos Dunlap (not injury related), CB LeShaun Sims (not injury related), S Shawn Williams (calf)

Thursday

DNP: DT Geno Atkins (shoulder), CB LeShaun Sims (not injury related), S Shawn Williams (calf)

Limited: CB Darrius Phillips, DT Mike Daniels (groin)

Full: DE Carlos Dunlap

Fantasy football start/sit advice

Chargers

Austin Ekeler, Running back, $7,000

This is a good matchup for Ekeler against a soft Bengals defense. We saw what Ekeler could do last season, especially early on when Melvin Gordon was out and his upside should be great once again.

Tyrod Taylor, Quarterback, $5,600

Hopefully you are good to go at quarterback to start in your redraft leagues, but if you’re looking for a contrarian cheap DFS play, Taylor fits the bill. Taylor is a strong runner with rushing touchdown upside and gets a short target in Ekeler who can make explosive plays out of check downs. You won’t want to rely on him in cash games, but he is perfect for a GPP play.

Bengals

Joe Mixon, Running back, $6,700

I think Burrow will be good and probably will be this season at times, but this game looks like a game for Mixon. The Chargers are worse against the run and the Bengals will want to get Burrow comfortable, which would happen if the running game is working.

Tyler Boyd, Wide receiver, $6,100

I’m probably only playing Mixon in DFS, but Boyd should be useful in redraft. A.J. Green hasn’t practiced much this training camp and it’s really tough to know where he is physically at the moment. Boyd is the safest Bengals receiver for Burrow to target and for you to play in fantasy.