Thursday Night Football kicks off with the Los Angeles Chargers heading to Sin City to take on the Las Vegas Raiders. If we thought last Thursday’s game was destined to be a snoozefest, we might be in for a treat this week. Justin Herbert suffered a fractured finger in Week 14 and he is done for the year as this is a bit of a lost season for the Chargers. Keenan Allen’s another year older (and inactive for that matter). Austin Ekeler has been a bust (credit to Howard for calling that one in the preseason). Mike Williams was lost to injury once again. Quentin Johnston has been a bust in his first year. J.C. Jackson was shipped back to the New England Patriots. The punches have taken their toll on Los Angeles and they’re likely looking ahead to 2024 with a new head coach. Both teams sit at 5-8 and whoever wins this game improves their chances at earning a Wild Card spot ever so slightly. Las Vegas is riding a three-game losing streak, none more embarrassing than last week’s 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. But Week 15 signals the playoffs for season-long fantasy football leagues as well as Best Ball tournaments. If you advanced to the next round in either format, then congratulations and best of luck going forward! For those who may have missed out on the playoffs, you can still get some skin in the game with this Showdown slate so let’s dive into the top NFL DFS Showdown lineup picks and strategies for constructing your winning lineups!


Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders

Spread: Las Vegas Raiders (-3)

Over/Under: 34.5 Points

Weather: This game will be played indoors in a controlled environment.

Notable Injuries

Los Angeles Chargers

Las Vegas Raiders


Davante Adams, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

There’s always a good floor with Adams because of the volume he sees in the passing game. Even when the Raiders couldn’t put points on the board last week, Adams still caught 7-of-10 targets for 53 yards. Not great efficiency for what you’re paying for, but both teams are in quarterback purgatory heading into this matchup. Adams has at least five catches for 50 yards in four straight games and he’s gone for 70+ in three of his last four outings where he’s seen targets shares of 52%, 34%, 22%, and 34.5% across each game. If he finds the end zone or manages to pop off for a big play then we’re cooking with gas here. The Chargers secondary is terrible, but they haven’t given up too much damage in their last couple games. Against New England and Denver they allowed a total of 14 receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown to opposing wideouts. Across two games, that’s not awful. But Adams still has big play upside even if it’s been a down year and in this game, it would surprise nobody if he was optimal at Captain.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

It’s been a bad year for Ekeler, no doubt about it. He averaged nearly 4.6 yards per carry over his career prior to this season. Since spraining his ankle against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, he was averaging just around three yards per carry on the year entering Week 14. But he was efficient this past Sunday and he was involved in the passing game once Easton Stick came in. That “competition for carries” narrative in Week 15 certainly motivated Ekeler. He had 10 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown while catching five-of-seven targets for 49 yards. The Raiders have allowed 10 touchdowns on the ground to opposing running backs and with Justin Herbert done for the year, perhaps the quarterback change means Kellen Moore has to re-think his offense and utilize Ekeler for shorter, quicker dump off passes out of the backfield especially without Keenan Allen tonight. But it’s another solid matchup either way as Ekeler tries to help fantasy managers win a championship and some money after disappointing most of the season.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

Update: Jacobs has been ruled out with this quad injury. That's a significant bump to the values of Ameer Abdullah and Zamir White.

Jacobs was a limited participant during Monday’s walk-through session and then again on Tuesday. But the limited participation does signal to me that he’ll suit up for Thursday’s game. Obviously, we’ll update if any news breaks. But it’s a tremendous matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. Jacobs hasn’t been efficient at times, but he does touch the ball plenty and he has involvement in the passing game with 37 receptions on the year. Opposing running backs have scored eight touchdowns on the ground against L.A., but most of the damage from opposing running backs against the Chargers has been done through the air. Over Los Angeles’ last seven games, opposing running backs have totaled 46 receptions for 300 yards. If running backs are averaging 6.5 receptions per game, that’s a nice bonus in a full PPR format like DraftKings. Now I do think we see additional targets go to Ameer Abdullah and possibly Zamir White, but Jacobs shapes up to be a promising play with touchdown upside if he’s active. 

Mid-Tier & DFS Value Plays

Aidan O’Connell, QB, Las Vegas Raiders

The quarterback play in this game is obviously not elite. O’Connell has completed 63.8% of his passes this year but only has four touchdowns with seven interceptions. There isn’t a great ceiling as we can see from his DraftKings profile. He hasn’t gone over 15 fantasy points in any start. But I’m fine rostering him in the flex with Adams or Jacobs at Captain and maybe any other Raiders pass catcher. If those players break off for a big game, then it stands to reason that O’Connell is doing just fine as well. We know the Chargers defense is not very good, but they may benefit from this being a short week with a low implied total. I’m not writing up Easton Stick ($9,400) simply because I’m not going to roster both quarterbacks in the same lineup. That’s just my personal preference. Playing both O’Connell and Stick will take up $19,000 of your budget for two players with potentially low ceilings. I’m fine rostering one as a correlation play so I’m not fading Stick completely if I have Ekeler or a Chargers receiver at Captain. I have low expectations for both quarterbacks but just a little more faith in O’Connell tonight. Of course I had low expectations for Jake Browning in primetime in Week 13 and he’s looked just fine for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jakobi Meyers, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

Meyers has certainly cooled off from his hot start to the season. He still boasts 57 receptions for over 600 yards and seven total touchdowns through 12 games. But he hasn’t popped off for a 100-yard game yet this year and still has at least 15 fantasy points in half his performances. He certainly has seen the target volume diminish a little bit since Aidan O’Connell took over as the starting quarterback. He has 25 targets in his last five games but averaging five targets per game will make a player touchdown dependent and not a great play at Captain. But we noted in the Davante Adams section that the matchup is still good. We just have to question whether there will be enough passing volume between Adams, Jacobs, Meyers, etc.

Joshua Palmer, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Palmer’s return comes about a week too late now that Justin Herbert is done. Prior to Palmer getting hurt he had a nice four-game stretch from Weeks 3-7 where he returned double-digit fantasy points in each contest while seeing at least seven targets in each game. He was activated to return from IR for Thursday’s game and while it’s not the greatest spot to be coming in with a new quarterback, he is very affordable and $2,400 cheaper than Meyers. We’ll need to keep an ear to the ground to see how much involvement he may have.

Quentin Johnston, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Johnston may see less exposure with the news of Palmer being activated off IR. However, Keenan Allen is not playing tonight and we may have seen QJ turn a corner last week. Sure, he only had four targets. But he caught three of them for 91 yards with the biggest play coming off a 57-yard connection with Stick in the fourth quarter of last week’s game. That now puts him at back-to-back games of 50+ receiving yards. We still can’t forget about all the other drops he’s had this year, but at $5,400 on DraftKings as a Flex play, I don’t hate the play especially if he can continue to build on the connection with Stick. Johnston has played 74% of the offensive snaps the last four weeks, but that could change with Palmer back in the mix. With Keenan Allen out for this guy, both Palmer and QJ could also be considered as Captain candidates. I also do like Gerald Everett ($5,200) as a potential pivot in this range. The Raiders haven’t given up many touchdowns to opposing tight ends, but over their last six games opposing tight ends have 36 receptions and Everett just had eight targets last week. Be mindful, like most tight ends, he is pretty touchdown dependent.

Hunter Renfrow, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

Since Josh McDaniels was fired, Renfrow has steadily been mixed back into the offensive game plan. He’s caught 12-of-14 targets over the last three games while putting up 35+ receiving yards in all three contests. He’s not a premium candidate for touchdowns given his size and role in the offense, but there’s been more involvement and that’s reflected in his pricing.


We have two offenses in rough shape currently and the implied total is very low coming into this game. Both kickers are coming off games where they didn’t see much action last week. But I’m going to prefer Daniel Carlson ($4,600) over Cameron Dicker ($5,000). Neither team is in peak form heading into this matchup but the Raiders seem like they’ll be in better shape with their weapons to move the ball down the field. The Chargers have been a tough matchup for kickers simply because teams are better at just scoring touchdowns at will. But Aidan O’Connell isn’t a world beater by any means. Opposing kickers have attempted just one field goals in the last two games against Los Angeles. But mind you, one of those games was against the New England Patriots and the Bolts won 6-0. I have seen some optimizers and lineup generators spitting out lineups with both kickers in them. That’s not really how I want to approach kickers on this slate, but it can work if this is a low-scoring game without many touchdowns.

Defense/Special Teams

I would normally avoid bad defenses altogether. But when push comes to shove, who prevails here? Bad offenses or bad defenses? The Chargers have strangely been better for fantasy football and DFS when they’ve played on the road. Per their DraftKings profile, they average 10.7 fantasy points per game on the road while allowing 18.5 points per game with 26 total sacks. At home, they’re averaging just 4.9 fantasy points per game, yielding 24.4 points per game with just 17 sacks. Aidan O’Connell has taken 10 sacks in his last four games while throwing five interceptions. We kind of know who he is at this point and this is a spot the Chargers could rack up some points. Derius Davis ($600) is the kick returner to stack with this defense if you want to double dip.

The Raiders defense is not great by any means, but they fare much better at home than on the road. 23 of their 33 sacks have come at home. They have just 15.7 points per game in Allegiant Stadium compared to 24.7 points per game on the road. They have some swagger after allowing just a field goal on Sunday to the Minnesota Vikings, even though they still lost that game. But we have two bad quarterbacks on this slate where turnovers could be abundant, so I do think both D/ST’s are viable. If looking for the correlating return man for Las Vegas, I believe that would be DeAndre Carter ($200) who is a bare minimum punt on this slate.

NFL DFS Dart Throw Bargains

Michael Mayer, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

We’re still unsure what type of workload he’ll see because it never seems to be consistent. In three games from Weeks 10-12, Mayer had nine receptions on 14 targets. This is still a touchdown-dependent position, but Mayer is only $3,200 as opposed to more recent Showdown slates where he was $3,800. There are some holes in the Los Angeles defense that give Mayer a good matchup, but we’ll need volume or a touchdown out of this play.

Zamir White, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

If Josh Jacobs is inexplicably ruled out then White becomes a strong value play who would see some early down work in addition to some passing volume. I know I didn’t mention Ameer Abdullah ($4,800) due to his price, but similarly if Jacobs misses this game then both these running backs come into play at their respective price tags.

Jalen Guyton, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Not my favorite value play by any means, especially with Herbert out and Palmer returning. But there is still big play upside with Guyton. He did only have one catch last week but if he somehow takes one to the house then he’s easily paying off his price tag. But he’s coming off a week where he saw significantly less targets and offensive snaps so there are some pivots we can look at that will save us money.

Alex Erickson, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Strangely enough Erickson saw more snaps than Guyton in Week 14 and he probably opens up as the chalk value play on the slate. It might be good chalk since he’s $1,000 as a Flex play and saw seven targets last week. But he’s only recorded one reception in each of the four games we’ve been active. Yes, we need all the points we can get from this range and a $1,000 player coming off a seven-target game is incredibly tempting. But it may also be a “fish” move to be over-exposed to this play.