Chargers vs Raiders Fantasy Start/Sit: Joshua Palmer, Jakobi Meyers, More

Chargers vs Raiders Fantasy Start/Sit: Joshua Palmer, Jakobi Meyers, More article feature image

Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images. Pictured: Joshua Palmer.

For the second consecutive week, Thursday Night Football will feature an AFC matchup with a posted total below 35 points.

The Chargers lost Justin Herbert for the the season, which means they are only playing for pride the rest of the way. The impact of Herbert’s injury will be felt by fantasy managers who roster Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen as the Chargers’ team total sits below 17 points for the first time all season. Allen has been ruled out, but he could return in Week 16.

The outlook for the Raiders isn’t much brighter. Vegas is coming off a performance in which its offense was held to 3.8 yards per play en route to a shutout loss at home. The Raiders struggled badly on third downs, converting only 21% of their chances.

Vegas' starting quarterback has yet to be cemented as all options seem to be on the table — though Adam Schefter reports it will likely be Aidan O'Connell.  Whoever the quarterback is will have a difficult task given there's uncertainty with the status of Josh Jacobs, who is listed as questionable with a quad injury. He hasn't practiced all week and I don't expect him to play.

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Week 15 is the start of the fantasy playoffs in many leagues so it's critical to make the best possible lineup decisions.

Davante Adams (questionable; illness) remains a mainstay in the Raiders' passing attack. He needs to be in your starting lineup despite the turmoil at quarterback. As for the other must-start player in this game — Ekeler — his role is secure. Despite rumblings of the Chargers riding the hot hand in the backfield, Ekeler has played the most snaps and earned the most targets on the team since Week 10.

Both of these offenses have been stuck in the mud over the last month. They've averaged fewer than one point per drive over that span, ranking both in the bottom three league wide.

Given their recent poor play, it is fair to err on the side of caution when considering any other potential starters for your team besides the two names mentioned above. Let’s dive into the rest of the fringe starters below.

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Chargers Week 14 Start/Sit

WR Joshua Palmer

Palmer has been activated from IR and should return to the starting lineup. The timing of his return couldn’t be better for managers who've held on to him.

The passing game undoubtedly suffered during his absence as Herbert wasn't as effective without a reliable chain mover outside of Keenan Allen. Palmer should seamlessly move into the role that created so much volume for Allen.

Palmer received at least seven targets in five consecutive games before the game he was injured. Now he steps into an even better role for this game where he should have a route participation above 90%. With that being said, there is no doubt that the quality of those targets will suffer without Herbert.

Relying on Easton Stick to make multiple receivers viable seems like a bad bet, but it is reasonable to expect Palmer to be the focal point of the passing game. As long as the pregame injury report checks out, Palmer is a viable WR2 play due to volume alone.

WR Quentin Johnston

Johnston is coming off his best statistical game of the season after running a team-high 26 routes when Stick entered the game. His 57-yard reception reminded draftniks of one of the positives in Johnston’s game.

Stick does have a big arm, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a couple more deep shots head the way of the rookie first-round pick.

You are relying on the big-play connection if you are considering playing Johnston after one solid performance. He again should top out at 4-5 targets and has an extremely low floor. In a low-scoring game environment, and likely fourth in the passing-game pecking order, Johnston should not be relied on.

TE Gerald Everett

Everett is a touchdown-dependent play wo has yet to reach 50 yards receiving in any game this season.

However, the Raiders are 31st at the rate in which they surrender completions to tight ends. 79.6% of all attempts to tight ends have been completed against this defense, thus Everett does have a respectable four-reception floor given that the gameplan should feature a quick passing attack.

Without Allen, Everett’s role is quite secure as he, Ekeler and Palmer should divvy up the majority of the target share.

Everett does not rank inside my top 15 at the position this week, but outside of 10 reliable options at tight end, you could do worse than locking in 4-5 receptions for 35-45 yards. Even the most optimistic sportsbook lines Everett at an implied 25% chance to get in the end zone on Thursday, which makes him just a TE2 in all formats.

Raiders Week 14 Start/Sit

RB Zamir White

White should get the start if Jacobs misses this game. That said, it’s clear Ameer Abdullah will factor in heavily as a receiver on third downs.

Last week after Jacobs left the Vikings game, White received two carries to Abdullah’s one, but it was the latter who received both of the targets out of the backfield.

Without a considerable portion of the passing role, White will have to produce strictly as a rusher. This dims his outlook significantly as the Raiders are 26th in adjusted line yards per attempt and last in the league in explosive rush rate.

The only thing that can save White’s night as a fantasy producer is a short touchdown run, and I am not willing to recommend him as a starter with that as my only out.

WR Jakobi Meyers

The Chargers are in the middle of the pack defending WR2s, ranking 17th in DVOA against the secondary passing option. Meyers is a stronger play in full-PPR formats, but only as a WR3 or flex option at best.

With Aidan O'Connell at QB, Meyers has only been afforded a 15.8% target share. Meyers has been held to under 40 receiving yards in four of his last six games and really should not be in consideration for a start in standard or half-PPR formats.

I rank Meyers outside of my top 40 receivers for the week, and I would play the likes of Romeo Doubs, Josh Downs and Zay Jones over him.

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