When the Raiders host the Chargers on “Thursday Night Football” to kick off Week 15, fantasy football owners will be hoping for a similar shootout as when these teams met in Week 9. In that Nov. 8 meeting, the Raiders held on for a 31-26 victory. With both defenses having some issues, these skilled offenses should have a chance to produce plenty more scoring, which makes start ’em, sit ’em decisions involving most key players a little easier — at least the one who’s aren’t injured (Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams).
Unfortunately, not every skill player in this game is a “must-start,” so we’re here to help you spot the potential sleepers and busts. Get the second round of your fantasy playoffs started on the right note with our TNF lineup advice.
Raiders: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: RB Josh Jacobs
The Raiders need a win badly. They are overdue to overcorrect Jacobs’ usage, especially now that he’s back healthy. Forget the social media stuff. The Chargers’ run defense can be gashed, and Jacobs can have a big rebound game. He had 14 carries for 65 yards and a TD in the first meeting. Look for him to get 20-plus touches Thursday night.
Start: TE Darren Waller
The Chargers are banged up at linebacker and safety with Denzel Perryman and Nasir Adderley on the shelf. Waller won’t destroy like he did against th Jets, but he can have another sizable game. He had 10 targets in the first meeting, catching just five for 22 yards and a TD. He’s bound to be more productive with the same volume, so six catches, 75 yards and TD might be his floor this week, especially with speedy rookie wideout Henry Ruggs III (COVID-19) missing another game.
Sit: WR Nelson Agholor
Agholor is hurt by Ruggs not being there to draw attention downfield. He should see plenty of Casey Heyward in coverage outside. He’s more big-play and TD dependent than you think with Waller being the consistent intermediate go-to guy. Unless you’re in a deep league needing a flex, you can do better than Agholor.
Sit: QB Derek Carr
The numbers against the Chargers for quarterbacks are inflated by some early games when they were having pass-rush and cornerback issues. They have tightened up of late with Joey Bosa wreaking havoc and Hayward and Chris Harris Jr. back healthy together on the back end.
Start: WR Hunter Renfrow
Look for Carr to make his living in the middle of the field with no Ruggs and Agholor bottled up outside. Renfrow is also capable of lining up outside and stretching the field, and the Raiders can scheme him to get open downfield away from Harris. He should be played only in deep-league PPR formats.
Start: K Daniel Carlson
Carlson has been a very reliable kicker for the Raiders, and the Vikings probably regret giving up on him so quickly. The conditions are ideal indoors, and he should get multiple field-goal chances.
Sit: Raiders defense/special teams
You’re not starting a group that was bad enough to get a coordinator fired last week and is injury-depleted on all three levels.
Chargers: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night
Start: RB Austin Ekeler
Ekeler has wasted no time racking up touches, catches, and yards in his triumphant return from his hamstring tear. The only thing missing has been touchdowns. Despite a sore quad, he’s due to dent the end zone here and should hit a century from scrimmage with at least six catches.
Start: QB Justin Herbert
The rookie has cooled off, but this Raiders defense isn’t suddenly getting dramatically better changing hands from Paul Guenther to Rod Marinelii. It’s also missing key personnel, such as Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Abram, Nicholas Morrow, and Damon Arnette. Herbert will easily hit a floor of 250 yards and two TDs.
Start: WR Keenan Allen
Allen (hamstring) will gut through his injury to keep producing for his rookie QB He caught nine-of-11 targets for 103 yards and a TD in the first meeting.
Start: TE Hunter Henry
Henry is piecing together TE1 numbers mainly because tight end hasn’t been a very good fantasy position in 2020. When he gets enough chances, red zone and otherwise, he can deliver. Herbert needs to do a better job of finding his underutilized intermediate weapon.
Sit: WR Mike Williams
Williams (back) may give it a go, but he’s hard to trust to stay on the field, and his big-play involvement has dwindled anyway. If he plays, he can’t be counted on to repeat the five catches for 81 yards from Week 9 against the Raiders. Should Williams miss the game, dice-roll with Tyron Johnson at your own risk.
Sit: K Michael Badgley
You would be better off going with Penn Badgley as your fantasy field-goal artist this week.
Sit: Chargers defense/special teams
Raiders-Chargers DraftKings Showdown lineup for Thursday night
Captain: RB Josh Jacobs $13,200
FLEX: RB Austin Ekeler $10,400
FLEX: TE Darren Waller $9,400
FLEX: TE Hunter Henry $5,800
FLEX: WR Tyron Johnson $5,000
FLEX: WR Hunter Renfrow $4,800
The running backs have the best matchups in this game, so this lineup lets us go there twice. We also double up on the tight ends, who should be busy as both quarterbacks try to find mismatches. Johnson is worth a shot for that price and becomes a big value should Williams remain out of action. Without Ruggs, going to Renfrow, who’s much cheaper than Agholor, made sense to round things out. Going quarterback-less seemed to work out here, but if you do, it must be Herbert over Carr.