How great is this? Another night of football! The Chargers host the Raiders tonight and there is a lot to like tonight. First and foremost, Mike Mayock is the color guy tonight and he's the best in the business. From a fantasy perspective, starting a player on Thursday is always fun, but sometimes it can be painful to look at a 0-5 number for a few extra days. So with that, let's take a look at all of the fantasy players from the game tonight.
Carson Palmer- Carson Palmer had a very good game against the Broncos with 332 yards, 3 scores and a very impressive 9.5 YPC. He did throw three picks, but none of them were mostly his fault. Carson had a ton of velocity on his throws and showed a wide variety of branches on the route tree with his new toys. I like Carson more than most and he should be able to put up close to 300 and probably two scores.
Taiwan Jones- Jones has the skills to be a play maker. The problem is that pass protection doesn't usually fall under that category. Jones may get 5-to-10 touches tonight, but he's too risky to start in most leagues. He has some minor stash allure with McFadden still on crutches and also an injury-prone Michael Bush ahead of him.
Jacoby Ford- I love Jacoby Ford a lot. He is clearly the number one option according to multiple beat writers of the Raiders. The Clemson alum led the team in snaps at receiver and also matched up against Champ Bailey for the majority of the passing plays. He should see a combination of Marcus Gilchrist and Quentin Jammer tonight and both of them do not have the speed to keep up with him on the fly routes. Hue Jackson also said earlier in the year that he could envision Ford catching 80 balls as the top receiving option on the team, so he clearly has the coach in his corner as well. Ford should be good to go for tonight and should be viewed as a high-end WR3 or low WR2 in deeper formats.
Denarius Moore- Moore unseated Darrius Heyward-Bey on Sunday and led the team in targets against the Broncos. He wasn't quite on the same page yet, but he was running some deeper routes and sometimes it's harder to connect on those big plays. He's clearly a home-run hitter and I'd expect him and Carson to test Paul Oliver (Gregory a late scratch) and Weddle on some throws down the field. He's a risky play, but I could see him catching five balls for close to 80 yards..
Darrius Heyward-Bey- It's really going to be tough to play DHB after riding some pine for almost the whole game on Sunday. Heyward-Bey was dominating targets last week and that dud did kind of come out of nowhere for "personnel" reasons. He's going to be extremely tough to play this week and shouldn't be owned in shallow leagues.
T.J. Whosyourmomma- Yes he got more snaps than DHB last week and he and Palmer reportedly showed some rapport in practice this week. He's still very risky to start, but feel free to grab him in deeper PPR formats.
Sebastian Janikowski- He is fully expected to go and should be a solid K1 in most formats tonight.
Raiders D- Yeah, you're not playing them.
Phillip Rivers- The Raiders are EXTREMELY banged up in the secondary. They are going to miss 60 percent of their nickel package with Chris Johnson (no not that one), Michael Huff and DeMarcus Van Dyke ruled out. Therefore Rivers has all the opportunity in the world to have a big game and his passer rating should be in the 120 neighborhood tonight (yes, you don't get points for passer rating). If this game doesn't get out of hand early, Rivers could flirt with the numbers he posted last week (385 and four scores). Start him.
Ryan Mathews- The Raiders run D has fallen off a cliff after allowing two 100-yard rushers in Tim Tebow and Willis McGahee. They showed no gap discipline and allowed 7.7 YPC on 39 carries. Yikes. As for Mathews, he should be all set to get 13-to-18 carries and should be close to 5.0 yards per touch. If he throws in TD, those are low-end RB1 numbers. I have Mathews as the 16th back this week.
Mike Tolbert- Tolbert goes back to a time-share assignment with Mathews back and healthy. He is a better pass protector than Mathews and is most likely going to get the goal-line touches. Tolbert is a good bet to score and should be starting in most 12-team formats. I have him as the 23rd back this week.
Curtis Brinkley- Brinkley could see a nice chunk of carries if this game gets out of hand. He is someone to think about for those of you in 18-team leagues.
Vincent Jackson- Jackson owners should be licking their chops tonight. He figures to see a lot of Stanford Routt tonight. Phillip Rivers was raving about Routt on a conference call with the media and he has a point since Routt is one of the best corners in YPA against. The Houston product also has decent size at 6-foot-1 and won't be dominated physically vs. the 6'5" V-Jax. All that said, V-Jax should have his way with Routt and there is only one other wide receiver I'd take over him this week (Megatron).
Vincent Brown- Brown put himself on the fantasy map with a four-catch, six target game for 79 yards on Sunday. Brown gets to take on NFL vet Lito Sheppard for most of the game. Lito has been burned for years ever since his Pro-Bowl years with the Eagles back in 2008. Sheppard was whipped constantly with his former teams in the Jets and Vikings and will make his first start of 2011. Brown is my deep sleeper of the week and there's a very good chance he will score against the very soft secondary on a nine or post route.
Patrick Crayton- Crayton should get some work in the slot and might be a shot in the dark as a top-75 WR.
Antonio Gates- You have to start Gates. He will likely see a heavy dose of Tyvon Branch, but it shouldn't matter as he'll be Rivers' go-to guy for first downs. Gates is almost a lock for a score against the team that ranks 21st in fantasy points allowed to tight ends.
Nick Novak- Novak is a decent option at kicker and showed his leg off a bit with a 52-yard kick against the Packers. He should be kicking more PATs than FGs though.
San Diego D- The Chargers should be able to get to the quarterback quite a bit and might be able to pressure Palmer into a pick. They're not elite or anything, but they're in the top half of the defensive rankings this week.
Don't forget you can send me any questions on your lineup on Twitter @MikeSGallagher. You can also follow me for updates during all the NFL games.