Why does it seem to take so long every season for the Chargers to get, well, um, charged up? They started 1-4 two seasons ago but finished 11-5 and started 1-2 last year on the way to 12-4.
This season’s 2-5 launch seemed to carry more even more fantasy penalties than the past. Philip Rivers looked washed up at times. Keenan Allen was just OK. Melvin Gordon sat out, then was slow to get moving upon his return. We still have been waiting for the big Mike Williams blowout. Hunter Henry was out most of the first half of the season.
Well, have some faith, Bolt Bashers. It looks like they are finally turning it around out in San Di-, er, I mean L.A., ummm, well, really Carson, Calif. After two straight wins, up next are the Raiders. The same Raiders who were just shredded by Matthew Stafford and the Lions, allowing two 100-yard receivers and a 400-yard passer.
So can this be a flowing Rivers day? Well, he has five 300-yard passing games this season. In all five, he has multiple touchdown passes and in four of those five, has been near or above the 20-point fantasy threshold. In his other four games, he has one total TD pass and has averaged fewer than 10 fantasy points. He has posted two straight fantasy duds, so he is due for another strong showing.
The Chargers’ receivers have disappointed, to say the least. Keenan Allen is averaging 8.4 fantasy points over the past six games, but you can’t sit him without fearing you will miss out on his next 40-plus-point performance, like Week 3. Williams has yet to catch a touchdown, but it is hard to forget how frequently he scored them last season (nearly one for every five touches).
Considering how generous the Raiders were toward Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. last week, we’ll take our chances with the Chargers receivers in this matchup.
But our favorite development during the recent push upward, and most specifically Sunday’s win over Green Bay, is the backfield clarity. Gordon looked like his old self — rudimentary rushing stats (20 carries for 80 yards), some use in the passing game (3-for-29) and high scoring probability (two short TD runs).
What is more encouraging is the reality that Austin Ekeler doesn’t have to disappear for this to happen. He still got 12-for-70 rushing and 4-for-23 receiving, good for 13.3 fantasy points. He should continue to get enough work to keep him on the radar as a weekly Flex option.
Outside of Rivers, all of these players likely will be owned in your league, so if you want them, be prepared to trade. Use to your advantage the upcoming schedule — a Week 12 bye followed by the Broncos, Jaguars and Vikings. Don’t advertise the fact we don’t really fear the Jags or Vikes matchups. And definitely don’t remind them that the Chargers get the Raiders again in Week 16.
Wrestle these Chargers away from their owners and plug them into your lineup.
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