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December 3, 2008

Thursday Advice: Oakland @ San Diego (Start/Sit)


QB – JaMarcus Russell – As bad as the Chargers pass defense may be, Russell is worse, and he is not recommended for fantasy use in week 14 or any other week for that matter. For the four of you who still plan to ride the golden arm of Russell all the way to a fantasy championship, there are many qualified psychiatrists that may be able to help you, although the prognosis is bleak.

RB – Justin Fargas – After finding the end zone for the first time this season last week, Fargas has now put together two quality fantasy efforts in a row. Granted, those games came against two of the worst run defenses in the NFL (KC & DEN), but it is promising none the less. Fargas will face the 15th ranked run defense of the Chargers on Thursday night. While San Diego does not feature one of the league’s better defenses against the run, they will certainly present more of a challenge than Kansas City or Denver did the last 2 weeks, especially knowing that the Raiders do not have much of a passing attack. Fargas should be considered no better than a low end RB2 or flex play with this match up.

RB – Darren McFadden – After a solid 2 TD effort in week 12, McFadden fell short of expectations in week 13 by gaining only 13 ground yards on 7 carries. He was able to salvage an otherwise pathetic fantasy effort to some extent with 50 receiving yards, but that is little consolation looking forward. In spite of a decent match up against a middle of the road Chargers run defense on Thursday night, McFadden makes for a shaky fantasy play due to his low touch count playing behind Justin Fargas. McFadden should be considered a risky flex play at best for week 14.

WR You’re kidding, right? The Raiders do not have a wide out worthy of fantasy consideration.

TE – Zach Miller – For what it’s worth, he is the top target and the only bright spot in an otherwise terrible passing attack. That said, Miller has still only managed to find pay dirt one time all season. The good news is that his lone TD came in week 4 against the very Chargers defense that he will face again on Thursday night. In addition, San Diego has given up more fantasy points to TE’s than any other team in the NFL. Miller is battling a groin injury which makes him a bit risky, but he should still be considered a fairly solid starting option as a low end TE1 with this match up. Check injury report: groin

K – Sebastian Janikowski – No one can question his leg strength, but Janikowski has never been known for his accuracy, and the Raiders offense usually doesn’t provide him with many opportunities. The match up against San Diego isn’t bad, but we suggest going with a safer kicking option on your week 14 fantasy roster.

Oakland Defense – The Raiders defense has actually made solid progress of late, but they are still far from powerhouse status, and the match up against an equally erratic, but capable San Diego offense on the road provides more potential risk than potential reward. The Oakland defense is not a highly recommended fantasy option for week 14.


QB – Phillip Rivers – He is probably the most unpredictable fantasy QB in the NFL and a week 14 match up against the Raiders is not exactly favorable. Oakland currently ranks 7th in the league against the pass and their secondary has been playing as well as any in the NFL of late. In addition, Rivers has never had much in the way of success against the Raiders, including a lackluster effort against them in week 4 of this season. Rivers is a very capable QB, but this match up is risky at best, and we suggest going with a safer fantasy QB for week 14.

RB – LaDainian Tomlinson – While his fantasy production has been consistent in recent weeks, Tomlinson continues to perform at a level far below the expectations of a player that went number one overall in the majority of fantasy drafts. The good news is that he has a very favorable match up against the Raiders on Thursday night. Oakland has one of the worst run defenses in the NFL allowing close to 160 rushing yards per game in addition to giving up 17 TD’s through 12 games. Tomlinson rushed for 106 yards and 2 TD’s against them back in week 4 marking his best fantasy performance so far this season. He may not be playing at the top of his game, but this match up is too good to pass up.

WR – Vincent Jackson – Considering that Atlanta prevented him from making a single catch last week; it is hard to imagine that he will have much success this week against a very solid Raider secondary. In fact, if Oakland’s shut down CB Nnamdi Asomugha is covering him as we suspect will be the case, Jackson could go without a catch for the second straight week. There is a chance that Asomugha will be matched up against Chris Chambers instead which would vastly improve Jackson’s chances, but that is not a risk worth taking. Jackson is not recommended for week 14 fantasy play with this match up.

WR - Chris Chambers – Since returning from an ankle injury, Chambers has been an afterthought in the Chargers passing attack. He might see some additional targets this week if Raiders lock down CB Nnamdi Asomugha is matched up against Vincent Jackson, but there is also a chance that Asomugha will cover Chambers. Regardless, Chambers has little fantasy value at this point and should not be used in week 14.

WR – Malcolm Floyd – In spite of the fact that he has been the best receiver on the Chargers roster the last 2 weeks, Floyd remains a risky fantasy option even in the best of match ups. A week 14 match up against the Raiders is not at all favorable and we suggest leaving Floyd on the bench. Check injury report: shoulder

TE – Antonio Gates – While it is difficult to give him a glowing endorsement after 3 consecutive sub par fantasy efforts in a row, we are optimistic about Gates’ chances to rebound in week 14. There is no question that the Raiders pass defense is excellent, but if they do have a weakness, it is against the TE position. In a week 4 meeting at Oakland, Gates hauled in 5 passes for 58 yards and a TD against them. In spite of his recent struggles, Gates remains a must start fantasy option with this match up.

K – Nate Kaeding – Once revered as one of the top fantasy kickers in all of football, Kaeding has seen a vast decline in his fantasy value over the last few weeks with the Chargers offense struggling to get him the necessary opportunities. In fact, he has not had more than 2 FG attempts in a game since week 9. Kaeding is a solid kicker, but until the San Diego offense can get back on track, he is of little value to your fantasy roster and that includes week 14.

San Diego Defense – Without Shawne Merriman, this defense has been one of the bigger disappointments in fantasy football this season. The Chargers defense ranks in the bottom half of the NFL in practically every statistical category that matters relative to fantasy including points allowed, sacks, and turnovers. Even with a favorable match up against a weak Raiders offense, we can’t recommend this defense for your week 14 roster.

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