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NFL Matchups: Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars Fantasy Football Preview




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This a snippet of Adam Pfeifer’s NFL matchups column, previewing Chargers vs. Jaguars for Fantasy Football Lineups. With just a few weeks left in the season, we have to begin assessing not only injuries and matchups, but also potential resting of stars for the long haul. All of it has a tremendous effect on our NFL DFS and season-long fantasy lineups. So let’s dig into some NFL DFS matchups and NFL game breakdowns for your Week 14 Fantasy Football Lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo and FantasyDraft.

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Los Angeles Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Total: 43

Line: LAC -3

Chargers passing game

Philip Rivers hasn’t scored 20 fantasy points since Week 7, as he continues to struggle. Since Week 5, the veteran passer has tossed a whopping 13 interceptions, while ranking 31st among all quarterbacks in fantasy points per dropback (0.36) during that span. It is incredibly risky to use him in fantasy because, well, he’s been awful but also because the Chargers have considered benching him. In fact, after his interception last week, Tyrod Taylor was seen on the sideline with his helmet on. One more bad stretch could lead to Rivers’ demise, which could lead to your NFL DFS demise. The matchup isn’t as bad as you’d think, as the Jaguars are coughing up the fourth-most fantasy points per pass attempt over the last six weeks (0.51) but Rivers still scares the bejeezus out of me.

After a rough spell, Keenan Allen has been much better as of late, scoring touchdowns in back-to-back games. And over the last three weeks, he’s been targeted a healthy 29 times. He is now sixth in the NFL in targets (114), while his 26.4 percent target share is the ninth-highest mark among all wide receivers. This isn’t an ideal matchup for Allen, as the Jaguars have been tough against opposing receivers, but they could be without nickel corner D.J. Hayden, who has been the best corner on this team. Still, at $6,600, he should be able to provide you with a solid NFL DFS floor.

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Mike Williams is coming off a career-high 117 yards last week, though 52 of them came on a fourth-and-11 towards the very end of the game. Big plays haven’t been hard to come by for Williams, who leads the NFL in yards per reception at 20.5. However touchdowns have, as he’s still yet to find the end zone this year. I am going to keep chasing that positive regression in NFL DFS tournaments at his cheap price tag, though this isn’t an easy spot. Jacksonville has allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points per target to opposing wideouts and just held Mike Evans to four catches for 53 yards on 11 targets last week.

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Tight end Hunter Henry had an awful game last week, catching just two passes for 10 yards. Henry has been fantastic prior to this game, so I’m not worried, and the Jaguars have actually allowed a 70 percent catch rate to opposing tight ends this season. Keep firing Henry up as a top-six tight end option.

Chargers running game

After a slow start, Melvin Gordon is picking up steam. He’s averaged at least 4.9 yards per carry in each of the last three games and over the last four weeks, Gordon is averaging a strong 21.3 touches per game, while touching the football on nearly 48% of his snaps. He now gets an elite matchup against the Jaguars, who allowed four 100-yard rushers over their last four games. They are coughing up 5.1 yards per carry, the second-worst mark in the league, as well as the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing backfields. And over the last four weeks, they have allowed a whopping 638 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, and they have allowed four different teams to run for over 200 yards against them this season.

The loss of defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been huge. Per The QuantEdge, opponents are sporting a 56.1 percent run success rate with him off the field, compared to 49.5 percent with him available. Teams are also averaging 5.7 yards per carry with Dareus off the field. Gordon is one of my favorite running back plays on the NFL DFS slate.

Austin Ekeler will continue to be as efficient as any running back in the NFL, as his 6.3 yards per touch are fourth-best in the league. Over the last four weeks, he is averaging 11.3 touches per game, which isn’t a lot but given his efficiency, is enough to warrant low-end RB2 consideration in PPR leagues. And with how bad the Jags have been against the run, Ekeler could easily break one, too.

Jaguars passing game

Minshew Mania is back, as Gardner Minshew will once again start for the Jaguars. As fun as he’s been to watch this year, I don’t have much interest, as he’s a little too expensive on DraftKings, while there are better streaming candidates to choose from in seasonal leagues. Over the last six weeks, the Chargers are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per pass attempt (0.34) and now they have both of their starting safeties back.

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D.J. Chark has struggled over the last two weeks, hauling in just seven passes for 85 yards and zero touchdowns. This is still an immense talent with plenty of big play upside, as he is third in the league in deep targets (24) and sixth in end zone targets (9). With a more aggressive Minshew under center, perhaps we see him get back to his big games, though a matchup with Casey Hayward isn’t ideal. Yes, Hayward struggled with Courtland Sutton last week, but this guy has been a top-five coverage corner more often than not, keeping Chark in the low-end WR2 range for NFL DFS.

Meanwhile, Dede Westbrook has been targeted 17 times over the last two weeks, though he’ll also see a tough matchup with Desmond King in the slot. I don’t see a ton of upside here, as the Jaguars have allowed just one wide receiver to reach the 100-yard mark against them all year long, but Westbrook should be able to provide you with a decent floor in PPR formats.

Jaguars running game

Despite being in consecutive awful game scripts, Leonard Fournette has still touched the ball 32 and 23 times, largely due to back-to-back nine-catch games. That has been the story all year long for Fournette– his uptick in passing work. Fournette is third among all running backs in receptions (65) and second in targets (81), while only Christian McCaffrey has run more routes at the position than Fournette’s 389. Look for the volume to continue this week, as opposing offenses are running the ball 46 percent of the time against the Chargers this season, the fifth-highest rate in football. I’m not entirely sure why, but Fournette’s price remains below $8,000 on DraftKings, making him one of the top plays of the slate.

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