Week 4 of the 2021 NFL season wraps up with Monday Night Football as the Los Angeles Chargers play host to the Las Vegas Raiders. Here is my fantasy football preview to the game, offering up my starts and sits for Monday night action.
Las Vegas Raiders
QB Derek Carr — Carr’s lowest passing yardage total this year is 382. And that’s after facing the talented defenses of Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Miami Dolphins. He’s a locked-in QB1.
WRs Hunter Renfrow and Henry Ruggs — Renfrow and Ruggs are Nos. 2 and 3 on the team in targets and each player enhances the outlook of the other. Renfrow’s 3.0 average targeted air yards (TAY) perfectly coexists with Ruggs’ field-stretching 14.8 TAY. Renfrow is a high-floor WR3 with serious touchdown potential. His six red zone targets are second on the team behind dominant TE Darren Waller (seven), per PFF. Ruggs’ style of play lends itself to more volatile results. At this point he should be considered a WR3 as well, after having torched the Steelers and Dolphins for a combined 9 catches on 14 targets for 191 yards and 1 touchdown over the last two weeks (good for WR11 results in .5PPR scoring).
WR Bryan Edwards — Edwards has fallen behind in the pecking order. He’s just a WR5 right now.
TE Darren Waller — Opposing secondaries have stymied Waller’s box score success as of late and he’s got another tough battle on his hands this week with 2018 All-Pro safety Derwin James. Waller has the talent and target volume to produce elite TE1 numbers, as always, but this may not be a true ceiling game from him, given the match-up.
RBs Peyton Barber, Josh Jacobs, and Kenyan Drake — Lead back Jacobs (ankle) is a game-time decision and credible reports range from him being “likely [to] suit up” to “very questionable”. My thoughts on the matter can be found in detail here:
What to do w/ #RaiderNation RBs vs #BoltUp in MNF?
Barber: 47 snps. Rush: 23-111-1, 6RZatt, 2att inside-5. Rec: 3/5-31-0, 1RZtgt
Drake: 36 snps. Rush: 8-24-0, 2RZatt, 0att inside-5
Rec: 3/4-33-0, 1RZtgt
Given vid below/Gruden: "[Jacobs is] really questionable"… 1/ https://t.co/MBsP7J6flj
— Nic Bodiford (@Ginger__Nic) October 2, 2021
In short, Barber is the best bet for lead back duties, of the fantasy RB2 variety. Should Jacobs play, it could turn into a three-man committee as Jacobs is far from 100%. Drake is just an RB4 regardless. Should Jacobs play, he would be a volatile RB3 while Barber would be an RB4.
Los Angeles Chargers
QB Justin Herbert — The Raiders have terrorized opposing QBs this year, led by breakout DE Maxx Crosby and his league-leading 21 QB pressures. Herbert’s no stranger to throwing on the run though, the second-year passer still managed 337 yards against the Washington Football Team’s ferocious front-seven. He’s a high-end QB1.
WRs Mike Williams and Keenan Allen — Raiders DBs Tayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette, Nate Hobbs, and Johnathan Abram have allowed 33 catches on 47 targets for 312 yards this year, per PFF. Allen is a safe, high-floor WR2 with easy top-12 upside at the position. Williams has caught 22-of-31 targets for a Faustian 295 yards and 4 touchdowns in his newfound X-receiver role. He’s a weekly WR1.
WRs Jalen Guyton and Josh Palmer — Guyton has played on over 100 snaps more than the rookie Palmer. Neither are seeing much in the way of passing volume though. Neither should be deployed in redraft leagues.
TEs Jared Cook and Donald Parham — The aged Cook is still seeing more usage than Parham but Cook’s looked awfully slow and Parham’s only looked great. The latter had a 36-yard score called back two weeks ago and caught his lone target for 19 yards in Week 3. At some point the pecking order at this position will switch. Both would be risky starts as neither has had much success but TE/jumbo slot receiver Mike Gesicki went 10-of-12 for 86 against Las Vegas last week. Either player could be fired up in DFS. For redraft purposes, consider Cook the floor-play and Parham the ceiling. Parham should at least be on a bench in every league. He’s too good not to be rostered.
RB Austin Ekeler — The dual threat phenom is off to a hot start this year. His 17 targets are T-10th most at the position and his 49.4 .5PPR points and 141 snaps are 5th most. Ekeler’s an every-week RB1.
RBs Larry Rountree and Justin Jackson — Both backs are splitting time behind Ekeler but neither sees enough for standalone value. Should Ekeler miss time, Rountree would take on the banger back role with the more spry Jackson operating in both the passing game and run game, making him the higher-ceiling bench stash.