Las Vegas Raiders (3-0, 2-1 ATS) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-1, 2-1), 8:15 p.m., MNF
Implied Team Totals: Raiders 24.25, Chargers 27.25
Spread/Total Movements: 3.5 to 3, 53 to 51.5
Raiders Injuries to Watch: RB Josh Jacobs (ankle)
Chargers Injuries to Watch: CB Chris Harris (shoulder, on IR)
Brolley’s Raiders Stats and Trends
The Raiders overcame an early pick-six against the Dolphins by scoring 25 straight points to notch their third consecutive victory over a team with double-digit wins from the 2020 season.
The Raiders and Chargers split their season series last season with both teams covering the spread once. Both games were totaled at 52.5 points and both contests landed on 57 points.
The Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last six games as an underdog.
Las Vegas has covered four straight Monday Night games.
The Raiders are 7-1 toward overs in their last eight games.
The Chargers gave up 33 first downs to the Chiefs in Week 3 but they pulled out a victory thanks to a +4 turnover differential.
Derek Carr has 380+ yards with two touchdowns in every game this season, and he’s now thrown for 315+ yards and 2+ TDs in his last seven full games. Patrick Mahomes posted 260/3 passing last week but the Chargers did pick him off two times.
Darren Waller has cooled off a bit since his 19-target game to start the year, but he’s still posted 5+ catches and 50+ yards in every game. Travis Kelce posted 7/104 receiving in this matchup last week.
Henry Ruggs has seen seven targets in each of the last two weeks, which he’s turned into 191 yards and a touchdown. He’s still running routes on just 64% of Carr’s dropbacks through the first three weeks, which is a bit concerning. The Chargers kept Tyreek Hill in check with 5/56 receiving last week.
Bryan Edwards led the Raiders with 89 receiving yards in their Week 3 victory over the Dolphins. He’s pacing the Raiders’ WRs with routes on 76% of Carr’s dropbacks but he’s a distant third with a 10% target share so far. The Chargers are giving up the second-fewest FPG (24.7) to WRs this season.
Hunter Renfrow led the Raiders in fantasy production (18.7) with 5/77/1 receiving on six targets in Week 3. Renfrow has 5+ catches and 55+ receiving yards in each of Las Vegas’ first three games. He could be active this week since the Chargers sell out to stop deep threats.
Josh Jacobs could return this week off of his ankle injury, but HC Jon Gruden said Peyton Barber could stay involved off his strong performance. Barber has been one of the league’s least efficient runners over the last two seasons, but he came up big for the Raiders with 23/111/1 rushing (4.8 YPC) in a victory over the Dolphins. He even caught three passes for 31 yards last week after totaling four catches across 16 games with Washington last season. The Chargers have allowed 90+ rushing yards in three straight games and they’re giving up 5.5 YPC to RBs.
Kenyan Drake has remained in his role as the team’s passing back even with Jacobs out of the lineup, and he posted season-lows in snap share (43%) and receiving production (3/33). The Chargers are giving up 4.0/31.7/.3 receiving per game to RBs.
Brolley’s Chargers Stats and Trends
The Chargers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games, and they’ve covered four straight AFC West games.
Los Angeles is 4-1 toward unders in its last five games.
Justin Herbert snapped out of early-season red-zone funk with four touchdown passes from inside the 20-yard line against the Chiefs. He threw for a combined 675 yards with two TDs in the first two weeks before posting 281/4 passing in Week 3. The Raiders have given up just two TD passes so far and no QB has hit 300+ yards. Herbert topped 310+ yards with two TD passes in two matchups with the Raiders last season.
Mike Williams is officially a WR1 as he’s topped 9+ targets, 7+ catches, 80+ yards, 1+ TDs, and 22+ FP in each of his first three games. The Raiders have contained DeVante Parker (4/42 receiving) and Chase Claypool (3/70) the last two weeks but those WRs don’t have the caliber of quarterback throwing them the rock that Williams does.
Keenan Allen has remained steady even with Williams going nuts in the early going. He’s posted 14+ FP in every game and he’s still pacing the Chargers with a 27% target share. Allen posted 9/103/1 receiving in his lone healthy contest against the Raiders last season.
Jared Cook posted season-lows in targets (3), catches (2), and yards (27) despite playing a season-high 70% of the snaps. Cook posted 5/56 receiving on eight targets in the season opener and he’s had 5/55 receiving on eight targets in two games since then. Mike Gesicki posted 10/86 receiving in this matchup last week.
Cook’s numbers have gone down since Austin Ekeler is back to being a major threat out of the backfield. He’s caught all 15 of his targets for 113 yards and a touchdown after he didn’t see a target in the season opener — Ekeler has topped 105+ scrimmage yards in each of his last two games. Najee Harris posted 10/38 rushing and 5/43/1 receiving in this matchup in Week 2. Ekeler totaled 79 scrimmage yards in his lone matchup against the Raiders last season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Week 1-3 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 29.1 (19th)
Week 1-3 – Plays per game: 78.3 (1st)
Week 1-3 – Pass: 65.1% (10th) | Run: 34.9% (23rd)
Week 1-3 – Pace: 26.2 (7th)
Week 1-3 – Plays per game: 70.0 (8th)
Week 1-3 – Pass: 66.5% (7th) | Run: 33.5% (26th)
This game is the best of Week 4 from a pace/play perspective with the Raiders and Chargers combining for second in adjusted pace and first in adjusted play volume. Granted, the Raiders have played in two OT games already, but we’ve seen a huge shift in their tendencies in HC Jon Gruden’s fourth season. Right now, the Raiders are passing at the seventh-highest rate above expectation (+4.8%) which is a stark contrast from last year when Vegas ran at the sixth-highest rate in neutral game-scripts. Even though Josh Jacobs missing the last two games probably influences that a bit, I do think the Raiders shift to a more pass-heavy attack is sticky because of the way Derek Carr is playing and Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards improving. Just like I wrote about in Franchise Focus, OC Joe Lombardi is building this offense around Herbert and the passing game. Through three games, L.A. is the second-most pass-heavy team in neutral situations and the third-most pass-heavy team when they’ve had a lead. The Chargers have been run on defensively, so we’ll see if Gruden sticks throwing the ball, but this game has a ton of scoring upside regardless.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
I like a couple of matchups in the slot this week, both for fantasy purposes and for the aesthetic of watching router masters go to work.
Nate Hobbs has been outstanding at nickel for the Raiders this season. He’s limited his coverage responsibilities to the third-fewest YPCS, fifth-fewest FP/CS, and 10th-lowest targeted passer rating. That said, watching Keenan Allen put a 3/94/0 line on Trevon Diggs in Week 2 proved that the only thing that can prevent Allen blowing up in any given game is the volume he receives. And he should get it in a game lined above 50 points.
For the Raiders, We all know the ball is fed through the hands of Darren Waller first. But Henry Ruggs and Hunter Renfrow are both averaging north of 14 FPG. That’s a significant number from Renfrow considering he’s only on the field for two-thirds of the passing snaps. With Chris Harris Jr. sitting on injured reserve, Renfrow will work against Tevaughn Campbell.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The Chargers have become one of the easiest teams to break down for fantasy.
Justin Herbert is a viable QB1 in potential high-scoring games, as this one is. (He is currently the QB13.)
Austin Ekeler is the overall RB7. His snap share snap rate has risen in three straight games: 58% < 63% < 74%. Ekeler also has 11 carries in the red-zone, compared to just 3 for Larry Rountree and 2 for Justin Jackson.
Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are fantasy’s most lethal WR duo. On 9 targets in a huge win over the Chiefs, Williams posted 7/122/2 receiving. His 33.2 fantasy points were the second-best of his career and easily his best game since 2018… when he put three touchdowns on this very same Chief squad. But it’s the consistency that is now defining Williams. After comments from OC Joe Lombardi this off-season that Lombardi (erstwhile of the Saints) envisions Williams as a Michael Thomas-like player… Williams has dominated like Michael Thomas. The 9 targets he saw were actually his fewest of the season, and through three games, only Cooper Kupp has scored more fantasy points at the WR position. The funny part is Williams isn’t even tops on his own team in targets — his 31 rank behind Allen’s 33. But Herbert is playing well enough to distribute the ball to two fantasy stars. One thing that also makes Williams (and Allen) great for fantasy is how frequently the Chargers throw the ball in tight — both Allen and Williams have 4 targets inside the opponents’ 10-yard line, with Williams scoring 2 TD to Allen’s 1. But Williams also has the deep-threat ability to make him a truly dynamic playmaker for an aggressive QB.
It’s just that Williams isn’t exclusively a deep threat anymore. 21 of his 31 targets have traveled 10 or fewer yards in the air (68%). Last year, just 44% of Williams’ targets were 10 or fewer yards downfield. He’ll have a hell of a showdown with Casey Hayward, PFF’s third-rated cover CB, but you just can’t sit him at this point.
Other than the obvious, the Chargers don’t have a single other top-70 RB, top-90 WR, and they don’t have a single top-20 TE.
Raider QB Derek Carr leads the NFL in passing by over 100 yards heading into the week, but the Chargers have allowed a bottom-6 total to opposing QBs so far. Given that includes Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes, you might want to be a little bit careful with Carr this week. We still have him as a low-end QB1.
Our Adam Caplan doesn’t expect Josh Jacobs (foot) to play on Monday, and if you have Jacobs, you needed a backup plan anyway. The Raiders have found one in plodder Peyton Barber, who likely played the best game of his career last week. The Chargers have gotten shredded on the ground by the Cowboys and Chiefs the last two weeks given their split-safety base look. They’re giving up the 11th-most FPG to opposing RBs, and it appears the Raiders prefer Barber to passing-down-exclusive man Kenyan Drake.
Gruden said RB Josh Jacobs is "questionable" for Monday night.— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 30, 2021
Gruden later added that "he's not going to hesitate to put (Peyton Barber) in a primary role after what he did against the Dolphins." #Raiders
I have Barber as a low-end RB2 this week and Drake — who is averaging a measly 2.1 YPC but has run 76 routes, tied for fourth-most among RBs this year, while his 17 targets are tied for third-most — is a PPR FLEX option at best.
You know you need to play Darren Waller, but the rest of the Raiders’ passing game is hard to figure out. Despite Carr leading the NFL in passing, no WR ranks above WR30 in total scoring (Hunter Renfrow). Henry Ruggs is right there at WR21, but Caplan continues to tell us the team is enamored with Bryan Edwards (WR50). A lack of TDs has hurt Edwards so far, but all three are in the WR3 mix this week. Renfrow has the best matchup, per Wes, while Ruggs and Edwards are gambles — albeit good ones in a high-scoring environment — for big plays.