Welcome to your Week 10 TNF Fantasy Start/Sit!
Welcome to your Week 10 Thursday Night Football preview! Last week certainly showcased the lowest lows that fantasy football is capable of delivering, with bomb performances from big names like Aaron Rodgers, Darren Waller, and Allen Robinson in plus-performances.
So begins another week.
This Thursday will take us to the West Coast in a battle for Southern Cali in an AFC West divisional matchup. The 4-4 Raiders will host the 4-5 Chargers, who are coming off a massive upset against Green Bay. The Raiders, coming off their own victory over Matthew Stafford and the Lions, are 1 point favorites in a 48 1/2 point over/under.
As always, I’ll provide my master key for how I break down each fantasy-relevant player:
Start: These are players who have an enticing matchup, and could prove a massive asset to your fantasy team due to a vulnerability by an opposing defense or a breakout performance.
Sit: Players in this category have a poor matchup and could be rendered completely useless by game script or a digression in opportunities.
Flex Start: Players in a flex position are also usually controlled by a game script, but this opportunity benefits them (such as a WR2 receiving less attention than the WR1, thus increasing odds for a good performance).
Sleeper: For players that fly under the radar, the sleepers are potential breakouts for this particular matchup. Players that are not considered as big of a threat but have an increase in things such as targets or snap counts are ideal for this category. They could surprise you for the week with a big game.
LA Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
** Tight End Start of the Week **: Hunter Henry (TE)
Ever since his return from injury, Henry has been an absolute PPR machine. He gets an excellent matchup this week against an Oakland defense that’s currently allowing the 3rd-most points to the tight end position (15.8 ppg). He’s my early Tight End Start of the Week, so make sure he’s plugged in and ready to roll for Thursday night.
Must Start: Keenan Allen (WR)
I don’t want to be like every other fantasy writer when it comes to Allen but…this just might be the get-right matchup for him. Allen, who hasn’t scored since his 2-touchdown performance way back in Week 3, gets a Raiders secondary that just let Matt and Staff walk over them.
Oakland is allowing the 3rd-most points per game to wideouts (43.8) and just allowed two Top-10 performances last week from Marvin Jones Jr. (8 for 126 and 1 TD – 4th) and Kenny Golladay (4 for 132 and 1 TD – 9th). He’s far and away the No. 1 wideout, and though he might not receive the Lions’ share of targets, he’s in a must-start position to do something with them.
Just like Kirk Cousins a couple of weeks ago, Philip Rivers actually had a fantastic NFL game last week. The glaring problem was the lack of touchdowns, giving him a finish of QB 24 on the week. He gets a nice (fantasy) bounce-back game this week with an Oakland defense that has allowed the 2nd-most passing touchdowns (22) and the most passing yard per game (297.5). He’s a QB1 this week.
Ekeler’s PPR dominance has last so far this year – don’t expect that trend to die down anytime soon. The No. 4 back on the year enjoyed his highest rushing yardage of the season so far (70 yds on 12 carries), but don’t expect that this week. Oakland is 7th against the run, making Ekeler valuable as a pass-catching back this week. Ekeler’s an RB2.
Melvin Gordon enjoyed his 6th career multi-touchdown game against the Green Bay Packers last week. While I don’t necessarily expect a repeat-performance, the carrying machine is still in place for a decent matchup. The number of weapons the Raiders will be forced to focus on making Gordon a high-end flex.
Williams also enjoyed a nice game (3 for 111 yds), with much of his work coming on a 57-yard catch and run. While he’s had no more than 6 receptions in a game all year, he’s still a high-end boom-or-bust player. This week presents much more a booming opportunity, setting up Williams for another nice outing.
Start: Josh Jacobs (RB)
My only start for this Raiders team is the workhorse rookie. While not a huge factor in the passing game, Jacobs had a career-high in carries last week (28). That trend will continue this week against a dominant LA pass defense. Expect the Raiders to lean on the run game slightly this week (Chargers give up the 11th-most ppg to RBs – 25.4). I really don’t expect too much of a mix-up with the other running backs on the Oakland roster, making Jacobs the sole go-to back for this game. He’s a high-end RB2 with a ceiling high enough to hang an RB1-style chandelier from (am I trying too hard? I feel like I’m trying too hard).
** Fun Fact **: Jacobs’ only touchdowns have come in games where he scores multiple times (2 TDs in Weeks 1, 5, & 2). I just thought that would be fun to throw out there.
Flex Start: Darren Waller (TE), Tyrell Williams (WR)
It’s hard to downgrade a PPR threat like Waller, but it’s needed. With his worst fantasy outing this season behind him, Waller owners should be looking ahead towards a tough matchup again this week. The Chargers are allowing only 9.6 points on average to tight ends, but a big play-maker like Waller has the upper hand in a negative game-script. He’s a low-end TE1 with upside.
The other pass catcher, Tyrell Williams, broke his touchdown streak last week, having scored in every outing so far this year. He might extend his scoreless streak this week (Chargers are 9th against wideouts), although the usage in the passing game should make up for it. The only reason why Waller and Williams are in flex consideration this week is their volume share. Expect Carr to lean heavily on these two in passing situations.
After the complete dismantling of Green Bay’s offense last week, Oakland knows what they’re in for. Derek Carr will still fair well (the Raiders boast the 2nd-best pass protection), but he won’t put up mind-boggling numbers. The Bolts pass defense has allowed the 6th-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks, and limit his passing upside with the 5th-fewest passing yards per game (208.6 on average). Avoid Carr if you have other options available.
Renfrow is also a hard bench this week, given his recent fantasy success. The Bolts’ 9th-ranked wide receiver defense makes a boom-dependent player like the rookie a difficult player to trust this week. He’s a sit.
Zach Hargis is a writer for Dynasty Football Digest. He enjoys playing the drums, doing voice impressions, and quoting The Office. If any of those things interest you, he welcomes you to follow him on Twitter @ZachFFDrummer and to check out his personal interests on Instagram @zakktastic.