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Fantasy Football Picks: Chargers vs. Raiders DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:20 p.m. ET contest between the Chargers and the Raiders with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

While this game doesn’t quite live up to the insanity of some prior mid-week action in 2020, this is still a Showdown slate where you’ll have to be paying attention right up to kickoff. Back on Monday, the Los Angeles Chargers essentially listed their entire team on the injury report, which has now translated into both Keenan Allen ($11,000) and Mike Williams ($6,200) being true game-time decisions. That’s a huge deal, especially considering how awful the Las Vegas Raiders’ secondary has played all season long.

What else do you need to know for Thursday night? Let’s break it all down.

Editor’s Note: Chargers WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) and WR Mike Williams (back) will be active for tonight’s game vs. the Raiders.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Showdown Special [$500K to 1st] (LAC vs LV)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Austin Ekeler ($15,600 CP) - Technically, Ekeler is also questionable to play in tonight’s contest due to a quad issue, but, of the three, it appears that the RB is the most likely to suit up. If that’s the case, it’s hard not to get excited about Ekeler in this matchup. Even while including a ghastly script against the Patriots a couple Sundays back, the veteran is averaging 20.3 touches and 11.3 targets per game since returning from IR. To put that in perspective, Ekeler isn’t just leading all running backs in targets dating back to the beginning of Week 12, he’s leading all skill-position players in the NFL. I’d imagine that volume share would still somehow increase if either Allen or Williams is sidelined, particularly the former, as Allen’s 28.2% target share is the fifth-highest mark in the league. On top of all that, the Raiders have surrendered the most targets to opposing RBs so far this season (103), which has led directly to the team also conceding the fourth-most DKFP to the position. Justin Herbert ($11,800) is another Los Angeles asset you could consider at 1.5x value, but I’d rather save a little salary with his No. 1 option in the pass attack.

Josh Jacobs ($13,200 CP) - Jacobs hasn’t exactly been making a lot of friends this week in the fantasy community, but that doesn’t mean he won’t produce for your DFS squad this evening. Though the Chargers D/ST ($3,400) was able to shut down Todd Gurley and the Falcons last weekend, Los Angeles still comes into this contest ranked 31st in defensive run DVOA according to Football Outsiders. In fact, this is actually the best possible matchup that Jacobs could draw by that metric as it’s his own defense that sits 32nd. The other aspect of this spot for Jacobs is script. With injury forcing the former first-round pick to the sideline in Week 13 against the Jets, Jacobs hasn’t been active for a Las Vegas victory since all the way back in Week 10. In that 37-12 stomping for the Broncos, Jacobs registered 25 touches, 136 scrimmage yards and 32.6 DKFP. For the season as a whole, the RB is averaging 22.4 DKFP in games where the Raiders have walked away with the win. As home favorites on Thursday, you have to like that trend.


FLEX Plays

Darren Waller ($9,400) - Look, I know I’m not exactly re-inventing the wheel here, but you should probably play the guy who has 27 targets and 275 receiving yards across his last two games. Historically, Waller has actually struggled in this matchup, producing just 33.0 receiving yards per contest in his three cracks at the Chargers as a member of the Raiders; yet I’m more than willing to chalk that up as small sample size noise. At the end of the day, Waller possesses a staggering 27.7% target share through 14 weeks, while no one else on the Raiders can even claim a 15% figure — though, it must be said, Nelson Agholor ($7,400) has seen a noticeable bump in volume going back to Week 11. With how much value could be available at wide receiver on this slate, you should have no issues fitting Waller into your lineups.

Jalen Guyton ($2,800) - While it’s a little unclear what the pecking order would be among the Chargers wide receivers if both Allen and Williams are ruled out, we saw the line of succession in Week 14 if it’s just the latter that’s absent. With Williams only able to play two snaps against Atlanta before departing with a back injury, it was Tyron Johnson ($5,000) who reaped the rewards, finishing the victory with six catches on seven targets for 55 yards and a touchdown. Despite that, I find myself leaning towards Guyton. The 23-year-old actually led all Los Angeles WRs in raw snaps (61) on Sunday and Guyton’s speed is a big play waiting to happen — as evidenced by him averaging a whopping 18.0 yards per reception for the season. Obviously, that’s an archetype that also includes a cavernous floor, but I’ll take my chances in a matchup with a Raiders secondary that will be without both Jonathan Abram and Damon Arnette. It just takes one miscommunication for Guyton to break a slate wide open.

Bryan Edwards ($400) - I mean, the salary really says it all, doesn’t it? I don’t exactly have a ton of positive things to say about Edwards — a man who has hauled in just three passes since returning from injury in Week 9 — but the rookie should see a major increase in snaps with Henry Ruggs inactive and on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Edwards is averaging 16.4 yards per reception in 2020 and the Chargers are one of nine teams allowing at least 2.0 opponent passing touchdowns per game. The wideout doesn’t have to do much to bring back value and he can make a lot of builds work from a financial perspective.


Fades

Derek Carr ($10,000) - Let me be clear about this right off the hop: This isn’t so much about fading Carr as it liking other high-end assets more than the QB. Basically, if I had to rank the viability of Herbert, Ekeler, Jacobs, Waller and Carr, I’d have the Raiders pivot at the bottom of the list every single time. This also comes back to a point I made about Jacobs and the importance of script. If you do plan on investing in Las Vegas’ running back on this slate, that probably means you think the Raiders are winning this game. Well, in contests this season where Carr’s attempted 30 passes or fewer, he’s averaging just 12.1 DKFP. Feel free to mix-and-match your exposure in a matchup that has the potential to be very high-scoring, but I won’t have many shares of Carr this evening.


THE OUTCOME

Between injuries, recent play and coach ineptitude, I honestly have a hard time trusting either of these teams, but I think siding with the Raiders makes the most sense. Not only are they the home team and have so much more to play for than the Chargers, but they’re also 6-0 ATS in their past six games against AFC West opponents. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is a putrid 1-6 ATS in its last seven contests overall.

Final Score: Las Vegas 30, Los Angeles 24

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Showdown Special [$500K to 1st] (LAC vs LV)


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.