Thursday Night Fantasy Versus | Week 10
The first Thursday Night Football game of the 2011 season gets underway tonight at 8:20 ET, as Carson Palmer and the new-look Oakland Raiders head south to visit their AFC West rivals, the San Diego Chargers.
The teams are tied atop the division (along with the Chiefs) at 4-4, in a race that will likely go down to the wire.
However, you don’t care about that. You’re here for fantasy football purposes, right?
Right. So let’s get to the matchups.
Carson Palmer (Raiders) vs. Philip Rivers (Chargers)
Palmer has played exactly six quarters of football this season, and has thrown six interceptions. He showed flashes in last week’s loss to Denver, but it appears as though his INT-crazy seasons over his last few years in Cincinnati were no aberration.
Rivers has also been throwing picks like crazy, as he’s already surpassed his total from all of last season with 14 through the first eight games. However, he did throw for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns last week, so you take the good with the bad here.
Neither player is the “sure thing” that they were in years past, but the edge here has to go to Rivers.
Michael Bush (Raiders) vs. Ryan Mathews/Mike Tolbert (Chargers)
Bush is filling in for the injured Darren McFadden. He’s run for nearly 100 yards in each of the last two games starting in place of DMC, so there isn’t much of a drop-off in production here.
Mathews has been battling his own injury problems, but is expected to be in the lineup. However, there’s no telling what kind of workload he’ll see as he continues to nurse a groin injury. On the bright side, the Raiders gave up nearly 300 yards rushing last week to Denver.
Tolbert is a more than capable fill-in, as well, as evidenced by his strong performance last week in the loss to Green Bay. He’s the power back, so short-yardage and goal-line carries will be his. That gives him more value.
I’d rank the three Bush, Tolbert and Mathews for tonight.
Jacoby Ford/Denarius Moore (Raiders) vs. Vincent Jackson (Chargers)
There’s no solidified No. 1 receiver for the Raiders, so this is essentially a crapshoot. Ford was Palmer’s favorite target last week, catching five passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Considering Moore enjoyed solid success against Denver, as well (four catches, 61 yards), he may be worth a look against a Chargers pass D that was gashed by the Packers.
Jackson’s production had been hindered by the struggles of Rivers, but the two were on the same page last week, as Jackson caught seven balls for 141 yards with three scores. He clearly has the biggest upside of the group here.
Jackson, Ford, Moore.
Darrius Heyward-Bey (Raiders) vs. Vincent Brown (Chargers)
Heyward-Bey wasn’t involved at all last week, so there’s no telling what we can expect from him tonight. Considering his inconsistent history, I’m not too optimistic about him.
Brown stepped up in the absence of Malcom Floyd last week (four catches, 79 yards), and, with Floyd once again expected to be out, he’ll have another chance here.
Brown over DHB, but don’t expect big things from either guy.
Kevin Boss (Raiders) vs. Antonio Gates (Chargers)
Boss has been essentially invisible, while Gates is probably the best pass-catching tight end in the league.
What do you think you should do?