So you’re bummed out because there is no Game of Thrones this weekend? And you are also depressed that summer is over too. But cheer up! Football returns this weekend! And a long with the return of football, comes the return of fantasy football! Fantasy football is so great because it provides everyone hope, even to Jets and Browns fans.
BOTH RUNNING BACKS
If you drafted Melvin Gordon then you are starting him every week because he is one of the only bell-cow running backs in the league. Don’t get cute and sit Gordon because he goes up against the vaunted Denver defense. In fact, Denver was horrid against the run last year and did little to address their weakness this offseason. Chargers head coach, Anthony Lynn, who was a former running backs coach, will be sure to lean on Gordon to help control the tempo and set a tone. Last year Gordon had 54 touches in 2 games against the Broncos with a lot of success.
PREDICTION: 25 CARRIES 96 YARDS 1 TD
Melvin Gordon isn't the only running back you should plug into your lineup for this weekend. C.J. Anderson is worthy of a RB 2 start. Los Angeles is transitioning to a new defense and showed this preseason they are still working out their kinks. The Chargers will be susceptible against the run this year. Brandon Mebane is coming off a season ending injury and is getting long in the tooth. Corey Liuget has been pretty much invisible the last year and a half. Throw in the fact the Chargers will be without their enforcer in the middle of the defense (Denzel Perryman), it is easy to see why Anderson will have success Monday night. Denver has also added rookie tackle, Garett Bolles, and former Dallas Cowboy, Ronald Leary, who both excel in run blocking. I'm all in on C.J. this week.
PREDICTION: 17 CARRIES 75 YARDS 1 TD 3 CATCHES 36 YARDS
CHARGERS TIGHT ENDS
Los Angeles is a little banged up at the wide receiver position. As of right now, the Chargers are only carrying 4 wide outs on their active roster (Mike Williams does not count as an active wide out). I expect Ken Whisenhunt to deploy a heavy dose of 2 tight end sets for Monday nights matchup for numerous reasons. First, to help out the running game. Hunter Henry is a capable and willing run blocker and can keep the Broncos defense honest. Secondly, Denver’s safeties and linebackers do not match up well against Gates and Henry. Henry will get more playing time, but Gates will get the red zone touchdown so that Rivers and Antonio can get the record out of the way.
HUNTER HENRY: 6 CATCHES 76 YARDS
ANTONIO GATES: 4 CATCHES 42 YARDS 1 TD
This is more of a gut feeling. Demaryius Thomas is nursing a groin injury and will most likely attract the attention of Casey Hayward. That means Sanders will be going up against Jason Verrett, who is no slouch either. However, Verrett is coming back from a seaon ending ACL injury and I expect him to have some rust on him. I imagine Broncos offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, to be more versatile with Sanders, and incorporate more drag routes to take advantage of his YAC and speed.
PREDICTION: 6 CATCHES 77 YARDS 1 TOUCHDOWN
BOTH SIGNAL CALLERS
If you are looking for a streaming option for week 1 (because you selected Jameis Winston to start), then look elsewhere. Let’s state the obvious, Trevor Siemian is awful and shouldn't even be starting in leagues where owners start two QBs. That leaves us with Philip Rivers. I imagine Anthony Lynn is going to want to implement a ball controlling offense so the Chargers can limit their turnovers and wear down that Denver defense. As of late, Rivers hasn't had any success against the talented secondary of the Broncos. Last year Rivers averaged 222 passing yards per contest along with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
TYRELL WILLIAMS AND TRAVIS BENJAMIN
This is almost a ripple effect from Rivers’ mediocre play against Denver. Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib are extremely physical corners. Last year Tyrell Williams struggled with their physicality and it was evident in the box score. In 2 games, Williams was targeted 9 times and caught 4 passes for 32 yards and no touchdowns. On the other hand, Travis Benjamin didn't fair too well against the Broncos secondary either, pretty much for the same reason, he is another wide out that shies away from contact. Benjamin is too much feast or famine. His game is predicated on the deep ball and I do not see him getting separation from the Broncos corners to get a 50 yard touchdown. Keenan Allen is the only wide out worthy of a start, frankly because he is Keenan Allen.