Running back Melvin Gordon has been marked as doubtful for the Chargers on Sunday. Gordon was a big threat in the passing and rushing game for the Chargers. His injury will put more stress on Philip Rivers against the division and state rivals, the Raiders. We know how good Rivers can be, especially since he won't be under snow or in freezing temperatures like some of the games this week, but he'll also face one of the worst passing defense in the NFL. The Raiders have allowed 6.8 yards per play (worst in NFL) and 7.8 yards per passing attempt (third worst). Surprisingly, they've only allowed a 60.4% completion rate against. Thus, quarterbacks are beating them down the field frequently. Rivers won't be afraid to take some shots at their safeties.
You never want to play Alex Smith in a cash game. The game plan for Andy Reid is almost never attack down the field. However, he's loosened the leash on Smith lately. Smith has thrown for 534 yards in the last two weeks on just 38 completions. He attempted 44 passes three weeks ago in Denver against the league's best pass defense. If they keep this approach, Alex Smith could be a great tournament option. The Titans have allowed at least 300 yards passing in five of the last seven weeks. Meanwhile, they've only allowed more than 100 yards rushing in four games all season. The Chiefs will need to throw the ball and the Titans have been susceptible to that approach.
Bilal Powell is a must play with Matt Forte out on Monday night. Even with Forte getting the bulk of the load this year, Powell has been impressive. He's rushed for 5.8 yards per carry and registered 129 yards on 29 carries in Forte's absence last week. With the Jets current quarterback situation unraveling, Powell should be the focus point, including in the passing game.
Ronnie Hillman is a big reach this week with Kenneth Farrow getting the start for the Chargers. However, the coaching staff did mention Hillman could get some workload this week. Farrow isn't acclimated to the usage Melvin Gordon took in the Chargers offense. Thus, Hillman could be used on third down or goal line situations. If he is able to snipe just one touchdown, he'll be worth his price. Rivers should be able to move the ball quite easily on the Raiders defense so Hillman could have multiple opportunities.
The Cardinals were already low on capable pass catchers with Michael Floyd. After his DUI and release, Fitzgerald becomes even more of a focal point. Fitzgerald may be even lower owned than expected due to playing in a swamped Miami game last week where he only caught three passes on nine targets. This week Fitz will play in sunny Arizona against a slightly improved, but still bad Saints defense, with one less target on the field for Palmer.
Pierre Garcon has flown under the radar a tad in the Redskins offense with a lot of the attention going towards Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder. Garcon is cheaper than both Reed and Crowder, and he's been getting just as much attention from Kirk Cousins. Garcon has only seen less than six targets once in six weeks. Garcon will face the Panthers secondary that has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 66.4% of their passes (fifth worst) and 272.4 yards per game (third worst).
Carson Wentz has attempted at least 36 passes for the last seven weeks. This week, they'll face the best run defense in the NFL with seemingly every running back either out or less than 100%. Expect the Eagles to stay in the west coast offense with a large portion of those throws going to Zach Ertz. Ertz picked up 28 targets in the last two weeks and amassed over 20 DKP both weeks. The Eagles have no other option this week but to keep him involved on nearly every pass play.
As stated above, the Cardinals were already short on receivers with Michael Floyd. Carson Palmer can never be trusted with his lack of tight end targets, but Gresham is one of his few options left. Not to mention, he's been targeting him more than usual. Gresham has seen 23 targets the last three weeks and caught fifteen of those throws. Gresham is a big body the Saints could struggle with in the red zone if Palmer continues to go his way. Gresham is questionable this week as a limited participant in practice, so watch his status through the weekend.