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Fantasy Football Picks: Chargers vs. Raiders DraftKings NFL DFS TNF Showdown Strategy

Garion Thorne preps you for Thursday’s 8:15 p.m. ET contest between the Chargers and the Raiders with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Woooooooooof.

Raise your hand if you thought last week was the absolute low-point for TNF. Well, you were wrong. This evening we’ll see two AFC West teams square off: The Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders. Neither will make the playoffs. Both are totally flush with injuries to key players. It’s going to be... Something.

Let’s attempt to sort out this mess for the purposes of Showdown.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (LAC vs LV)


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Captain’s Picks

Davante Adams ($16,800 CP) - Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Adams was listed as questionable after missing practice due to an illness on Wednesday. Generally, mid-week additions to the injury report are a massive red flag, yet the fact this is likely more flu-related than it is an ankle tweak or a groin pull gives me some optimism Adams will be able to give it a go on Thursday. If he does, he’ll once again be a target magnet for Aidan O’Connell ($9,600) — who will reportedly remain Las Vegas’ starter. Adams has managed double-digit targets in three of his last four games, while for the season as a whole, the veteran wideout has been targeted on a massive 28.2% of his routes, a figure that trails only Tyreek Hill among qualified WRs. Meanwhile, Chargers D/ST ($4,400) has been highly susceptible to opposing aerial attacks, surrendering 7.1 yards per pass attempt. That’s the fourth-highest rate in the NFL.

Austin Ekeler ($16,500 CP) - There was a little talk heading into Week 14 that Ekeler might start losing snaps and carries to Joshua Kelley ($6,800), but that certainly didn’t seem like the case against Denver. In fact, after registering just a 57.4% snap share in Week 13, Ekeler saw his snap rate jump to 72.1% versus the Broncos. Some of that could be game script, yet in a world without Justin Herbert (finger), I don’t envision Los Angeles taking many insurmountable leads any time soon. Plus, with Keenan Allen (heel) now also sidelined, there’s a chance that Ekeler could simply be the Chargers No. 1 receiving option on top of his rushing responsibilities. The Raiders give up the eighth-most DKFP per game to opposing RBs. Easton Stick ($9,400) could very well be a checkdown machine in his first NFL start. It simply feels like Ekeler is going to be drowning in volume.


FLEX Plays

Quentin Johnston ($5,400) - There’s not a lot to explain here, right? Johnston’s sort of just the last man standing with the aforementioned Allen ruled out for Thursday’s festivities. The former first-round pick has put up his two highest receiving totals the past two weeks, following up 52 yards against the Patriots with 91 yards versus the Broncos. That performance in Week 14 also included a 57-yard fourth quarter reception with Stick under center, so at least there appears to be a little chemistry between the two teammates. If Ekeler is the top option in this dystopian Chargers depth chart, Johnston should definitely be in the second slot of the pecking order. Joshua Palmer ($6,200), playing in his first contest since Week 8, is viable, as well.

Raiders D/ST ($4,200) - The total for this game is hovering around 34 points. I’m not going out on a limb to suggest that both of these defensive units are decent assets on this slate. However, it is a little interesting that Las Vegas’ defense is the cheaper of the two. Yes, the Raiders enter Week 15 with the league’s lowest pressure rate (17.5%), but the team is on the heels of racking up five sacks in last Sunday’s loss to Minnesota. It’s also worth noting how well Las Vegas has recently been taking advantage of a softer schedule. The defense collected 19.0 DKFP against Tommy DeVito and the Giants, it held Zach Wilson and the Jets without a touchdown, it got Joshua Dobbs benched. This incarnation of the Raiders isn’t exactly the Steel Curtain, yet it’s proven it can get the job done versus backup QBs.


Fades

Aidan O’Connell ($9,600) - There’s a couple of things to think about with O’Connell. First and foremost: He’s not been very good as the Raiders’ starting pivot. Among the 37 quarterbacks to take at least 25% of their team’s snaps this season, O’Connell ranks 36th in DKFP earned per drop back (0.31), just barely beating out Bryce Young for bottom of the barrel. There’s also the matter of Las Vegas’ QB controversy. It seems like Antonio Pierce is going to let O’Connell get the first crack at the Chargers, yet he’s been so non-committal about the whole thing that I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jimmy Garoppolo ($6,000) if the team’s opening couple drives go south. I’d rather not have to sweat a benching. That’s my personal preference, anyway.


THE OUTCOME

Who cares? The Chargers have lost their last six road games to divisional opponents. They’ve also failed to cover four of their last five games overall. Yet all of that was with Justin Herbert at quarterback. The Raiders? Their coach refuses to name a starting QB and their best two skill-position players — Adams and Josh Jacobs ($10,200; quad) — are listed as questionable. I’ll take the home team. It’s far from a lock.

Final Score: Las Vegas 20, Los Angeles 13

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $1.5M Thursday Night Showdown [$500K to 1st] (LAC vs LV)


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.