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Fantasy Focus: Raiders vs. Chargers

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Fantasy players on a short week are always wild cards, and as the Raiders and Chargers matchup on Christmas Eve this week, we'll give you our picks for studs, sleepers and snoozers.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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On October 25, the Raiders and Chargers matched up in what turned out to be a coming out party for the 2015 Raiders — as well as a fantasy jackpot. The Raiders jumped out on the Chargers 37-6 before Phillip Rivers and the Chargers added 23 meaningless points (but not from a fantasy perspective!) in the fourth to cut the lead to 37-29 before the final whistle blew.

So the question is — on a shortened holiday week, do we get another fantasy goldmine?

Before we answer that question, let's recap last week's picks.

When we saw Oakland vs. Green Bay on the schedule, in Oakland — a chance to see Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr matchup — our fantasy mouths watered. And then, well, Derek Carr screwed everything up.

Our studs were Derek Carr and Aaron Rodgers and, frankly, both were disappointments. Rodgers finished with just 204 yards with a touchdown and a pick, while Carr rebounded nicely from his two interceptions, but still finished with just 276 yards and two touchdowns in addition to the picks.

Our sleepers were Richard Rodgers (1 catch, 7 yards), Michael Crabtree (6 catches, 70 yards) and Latavius Murray (78 rushing yards).

Luckily, our snoozers pick panned out alright — the Oakland defense. While suffering from incredibly bad luck (14 points allowed thanks to Carr's interceptions), the defense ultimately finished having allowed 30 points. The day was partially salvaged by an interception, a fumble and two sacks.

But enough about the past, on to the future.


Latavius Murray — I get burned every time Murray makes this list, but alas, here we go again. Murray looked great last week before Oakland was forced to partially abandon the run, and this week should provide more room to run. The Chargers allow the fifth-most points to opposing running backs, and Murray ran for 85 yards and a touchdown (on just 13 carries) last time these two teams matched up.

Danny Woodhead — The Raider run defense has been impressive, but Woodhead's danger is more in the passing game than anywhere else. Woodhead did, however, get eight carries last week in addition to six catches (and three touchdowns). Last time out against Oakland, Woodhead had ELEVEN catches.

Antonio Gates — The Raiders did well last week in defending tight ends, but Gates is Phillip Rivers' favorite target right now (6 catches in each of his past three games on 26 targets) and should continue to be on Thursday.


Javontee Herndon —  While many will look on Dontrelle Inman as the top wide receiver in San Diego, it's Herndon that interests me simply because of the amount of looks he's getting from Rivers. In the past two weeks, Herndon has reeled in 10 of 13 targets, and if he gets DJ Hayden in coverage this could be a tantalizing day.

Raiders Defense — Coming off arguably their two best performances of the season, the Oakland defense could be a value play this week for a number of reasons. For starters, Phillip Rivers has thrown 4 picks in his last three games (and he threw two last time these two teams met). Second, the Chargers are allowing the ninth-most points to opposing defenses. And third, the Chargers are allowing the tenth-most sacks per game — something you better believe Khalil Mack is aware of.


None — The last time these two teams met, everyone had a great day. Honestly, there's no one I don't really like — I think Carr and Rivers will have good days, I think all the receivers are intriguing plays and, as I said, I think both running backs will find ways to score.