Everything you need to know about Thursday night’s Chargers-Chiefs matchup from a fantasy football perspective. Also, you can follow Collin on Twitter at @ukfantasyballer.
All stats provided are based on 4 points per passing touchdown and full-point PPR.
Thursday Night Football
Los Angeles Chargers (10-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (11-2)
This should be an even matchup with the Chargers being given a marginal 51.8% chance of winning.
The line: Chargers by 3.5
Philip Rivers (LAC)
Philip Rivers and the Chargers are heating up at the right time. Despite Melvin Gordon being out for a couple of weeks, Rivers has maintained a high level of production. If Gordon were to return to the field against the Chiefs in this big divisional matchup, it would only help Rivers and his receivers. But at this point, Gordon is a game-time decision.
Rivers is averaging 19.7 fantasy points per game and recent weeks have seen him set a new NFL pass completion record (27-of-28, 96.6%) and have a huge comeback win at Pittsburgh. He now heads in to Arrowhead for what should be a favorable match up against a Chiefs defense that is one of the worst ranked D/ST’s against the QB position. The best 3 QBs they have faced this season have scored 29 (Rivers), 35.1 (Goff) and 39 (Big Ben) fantasy points.
The outcome of the game is difficult to predict, but Rivers has a career-high 9 yards per attempt and up until last week has thrown at least two passing TDs per game, so you can be sure he will be doing his part to drive the Chargers to victory. He is a great start this week.
Patrick Mahomes (KC)
Where do I start with this kid? He is on pace to break the NFL record of 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdowns in a single season, and let’s not forget, this is Mahomes’ first full season!
This year he has notched up 4,300 passing yards, 43 passing touchdowns already and against the Ravens defense I thought he might have struggled, but no, he was awesome. He was throwing sideways passes, cross-field bombs whilst being flush out the pocket and he even had a no-look pass. He faces another strong defense this week but dare I say it, Mahomes is matchup proof. Only an off game of his own doing will affect his fantasy production. I could throw every stat at this, but it would look like the Matrix. Let’s just say he is a fine start in Week 15.
Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler and Josh Jackson (LAC)
It looks more and more likely that Melvin Gordon may not be ready to start in Week 15’s crucial matchup If you have Gordon on your team, he has likely carried you this far, so if he is good to go you have to start him. In 10 games, Gordon has had 1,250 yards from scrimmage, a total of 13 touchdowns and has an average of 25.2 points per game.
Austin Ekeler has been a fine pass-catching back to complement Gordon, averaging 12.1 points per game and last week he was given the opportunity to carry the work load against a poor Bengals defense and compiled 94 scrimmage yards and a TD to earn him a nice 17 fantasy points.
But against the Chiefs, who allow 32 fantasy points to the position, it’s looking like Josh Jackson will be the one benefiting. Ekeler (concussion, neck) has been ruled out, so be ready to fire up Jackson if Gordon is ruled out or appears like he’ll be limited by his injury.
Spencer Ware and Damien Williams (KC)
When Kareem Hunt was sent away, it was expected that Spencer Ware would take over the work load, but that has not necessarily been the case. Against the Bengals, Ware carried 15 times for 75 yards and caught 5 targets for 55 yards whilst Damien Williams had 8 carries for 14 yards, 1 TD plus 16 yards from 4 receptions
I would have expected this trend to continue against the Chargers, who have given up 1,800 yards from scrimmage to the running back position, 11 total touchdowns and average 25 fantasy points to the position. But now Ware is doubtful to play with a hamstring injury, so Williams now has RB2 upside.
Keenan Allen (LAC)
Much like last year, Keenan Allen has come to life in the second half of the season. In his last 6 games, his lowest fantasy point total was 18 and he has had no less than 5 receptions per game and has 5 touchdowns over this period. He is obviously a must-start against the Chiefs.
Tyrell Williams (LAC)
Just before his bye week, Tyrell Williams had a two-game spell of relevance. But before then and since, he has done very little. It’s hard to predict when he will be game scripted, so I’d stay away in these all-important playoff weeks.
Mike Williams (LAC)
Mike Williams has been a little more reliable than Tyrell. From 13 games he had two duds, but other than that he has been a 3 receptions for 7-to-10 fantasy points kind of guy with touchdown upside, so if Williams is the best of your bench options for the flex, then you can start him against a so-so Chiefs pass defense.
Tyreek Hill (KC)
Tyreek Hill continued his assault on NFL defenses last week with eight catches from 14 targets for 139 yards in the win against the Ravens. He is averaging an insane 17 yards per reception, which was also his average against the Ravens, who had been the second toughest defense against the position.
Chris Conley (KC)
Chris Conley has been a nice plug in while Sammy Watkins has been sidelined, but he wasn’t productive against the Ravens and I expect this trend to continue with the targets going to the trusted hands of Travis Kelce, Hill, and Williams. The Chargers are a top 10 defense against the WR position, giving up 1,766 yards on 138 receptions, and have only allowed 10 receivers this year to post a top 36 fantasy WR ranking. But this talented group will have its hands full against Mahomes and company.
Antonio Gates and Virgil Green (LAC)
The Chargers tight end position would have looked so different this year if it wasn’t for the unfortunate injury to Hunter Henry, who, by the way, could be back in December. Virgil Green is ahead of Gates on the depth chart, but they have been in a time share. In all honesty, if you are in the playoffs, it’s likely you didn’t get help from these guys. I’d steer clear of them.
Unlike the Chargers, the Chiefs tight end is the Rolls Royce of the position. He is always on the field and always a miss match, averaging 20 points per game. The Chargers give up an average of 10 fantasy points per game to the position. The nearest comparable tight end to have played the Chargers in terms of productivity and target share is George Kittle and he scored 24.5 fantasy points. Not that you needed this advice, but set and forget!