Thursday Night Matchup Preview (Oakland @ San Diego)

Yes, it's that time of year again, when you have to wrestle away the clicker from your wife and her "vampire shows," so you can get your early week football fix on NFL Network. This week? The Raiders visit the division rival Chargers, in what promises to be a salty matchup, with no doubt more sloppy decision making than Bill Belichick in Free Agency (had to get that one out there.)


Green Light:


Michael Bush/OAK: With McFadden looking unlikely to play for the second straight week, the capable backup gets a shot at the Chargers banged up defense on short rest. While I don't expect this to be a game of ground & pound, 20 carries for 105/1TD seems reasonable.


Ryan Mathews/SD: Again, short rest, & a sloppy OAK defense as of late, bodes well for a nice day by the ever-injured Mathews, who sat out last week, giving way to Mike Tolbert. I expect this could be more of a rotation on a short week, but 120 yds & 5-6 catches & a TD is a doable statline is Mathews is a full go on Thursday night.


Antonio Gates/SD: Yeah, he's old, banged up, but he's still getting it done, like a red pickup truck with 180k on the odometer, he keeps making plays. Gates is a solid bet for 6/85 & a TD.


Vincent Jackson/SD: Vjax came to life in a way that only he can last week, in 3 TD bunches! While this can be a fickle mistress when starting Jackson, the matchup versus an Asomugha-less Raiders defense is a tasty one. Expect 8 catches, 117 yards & a TD.



Yellow Light:


Philip Rivers/SD: "There's Something About Jethro"...and he's not telling us. It's mechanical. A chest, shoulder injury? Who knows. But Rivers is too apt to throw picks nowadays to make him a true fantasy stud. His deep ball is still stellar, but the intermediate throws look downright anemic. Look for 300 yards, 2TDs & 2 INTs.


Mike Tolbert/SD: Expect the "Rolling Bolt" to get some GL looks, but move back to his change of pace role with Mathews rested. A goaline TD & 56 yards on the ground makes sense.



Pump the Brakes:


Carson Palmer & the Raider WRs: No it's not a name for a shitty SoCal garage band, but rather a tenous situation that has yet to play itself out. This is Palmer's training camp in essence, and I don't completely trust that Palmer won't negate any production he has with multiple picks. The Oakland WRs are fast and talented, but it's still a murky situation that has yet to have a "go-to WR" emerge. Wait a week or two before going all in on this group.