Week 9 Game Hub: LAC-Phi

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Week 9 Game Hub: LAC-Phi

Los Angeles Chargers (4-3, 4-3 ATS) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-5, 4-4), 4:05 p.m.

Brolley’s Chargers Stats and Trends

  • The Chargers are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games

  • Los Angeles is 5-2 toward unders this season.

  • Justin Herbert appeared to have turned a corner with 11 TD passes in Weeks 3-5 after he threw for a combined two touchdowns in the first two weeks of the season. He’s completed 40/74 passes (54.1%) for 418 yards (5.7 YPA), three TDs, and three INTs against the Patriots and Ravens in LA’s last two games. Herbert has now fallen below 17 FP in four of his seven games, but he has given us the best fantasy performance (42.8 FP in Week 5) and the 12th-best performance (30.8 in Week 3) at the position this season. Derek Carr is the only quarterback to reach 300+ passing yards against the Eagles, and they’re giving up the fifth-fewest passing yards per game (236.0) to QBs.

  • Mike Williams’ roaring start to the season feels like a distant memory after his third performance with five or fewer FP in his last four games. He flopped again with 2/19 receiving on five targets (14% share) against the Patriots in Week 8. It’s fair to wonder if he’s still bothered by a knee injury that kept him out of practice before Week 6, but he did play a season-best 90% snap share and he logged full practices before Week 8. Big Mike has been the definition of a boom-or-bust option with 22+ FP in four games and fewer than five FP in his other three contests. The Eagles could use Darius Slay on Williams this week, and he limited Mike Evans to 2/27 receiving on four targets in Week 6.

  • Keenan Allen is coming off his best game of the season with 6/77/1 receiving on 11 targets against the Patriots. He’s posted 5+ catches and 50+ yards in six of his seven games this season, but he’s yet to reach 20+ FP in a game this season. He’s also fallen below 80 receiving yards in five straight games after posting 100+ yards in each of the first two games. Hunter Renfrow posted 7/58 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago

  • Jared Cook has finished with fewer than 30 receiving yards in five of his last six games, but he’s scored in two of those contests to keep himself afloat for fantasy. The Eagles are giving up the fifth-most receiving TDs per game (.7) and the fourth-most FPG (17.4) to the position this season.

  • Austin Ekeler has posted 22+ FP and 100+ scrimmage yards in five of his last six games after returning to form last week with 17/124/1 scrimmage against the Patriots. He played a season-high 75% of the snaps despite being limited in practice with a hip injury late in the week. The Eagles contained D’Andre Swift to just 17/51 scrimmage last week, but they’re still giving up the second-most FPG (30.6) to RBs.

Brolley’s Eagles Stats and Trends

  • Philadelphia is 5-2 ATS in its last seven home games.

  • The Eagles are 5-2 toward unders in their last seven games as an underdog.

  • The Eagles scored 44 points last week and Jalen Hurts still had his worst fantasy output of the year with just 11.2 FP after posting 21+ FP in his first seven games. He attempted just 14 passes with the Eagles dominating the Lions with their rushing attack. Hurts will pressed much more as two-point home underdogs against the Chargers. Lamar Jackson managed just 13.8 FP in this matchup in Week 6, posting 167/1 passing and 8/51 rushing.

  • Dallas Goedert has reached 70+ receiving yards in each of his first two games without Zach Ertz in the lineup this season, and he’s tied with DeVonta Smith with a team-best 26% target share. The Chargers had given up 15+ FP in five of their first six games before limiting Hunter Henry to a 33-yard catch on three targets last week.

  • DeVonta Smith couldn’t survive last week’s gamescript as Goedert did, catching just one of his three targets for 15 yards against the Lions. He’s now fallen below six FP in half of his eight games, and he hasn’t scored a touchdown since the season opener. The Chargers are giving up the fewest FPG (26.3) and the fewest receiving yards per game (118.3) to WRs.

  • Boston Scott played just four offensive snaps with no carries through the first six weeks of the season, but he’s now the top runner while Miles Sanders (ankle, IR) is out of the lineup. Kenneth Gainwell had operated as the #2 RB behind Sanders but instead of moving up the depth chart with Sanders out, he moved down the depth chart behind Jordan Howard. Scott led the backfield with 12/60/2 rushing on a 45% snap share while Howard posted 12/57/2 rushing on a 25% share in Week 8. Gainwell actually finished with the most carries (13/27 rushing) on a 31% snap share, but most of his work came in garbage time in their blowout victory — he had just one carry at halftime. Gainwell is likely still Philly’s receiving back, and the Eagles played in an extremely positive gamescript in their 44-6 victory over the Lions. Scott is positioned the best for success this week against a Chargers that’s giving up 5.0 YPC and a league-high 132.1 rushing yards per game to RBs.

Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies

Chargers

Pace (seconds in between plays): 25 (1st)

Plays per game: 68.1 (11th)

Pass: 66.5% (4th) | Run: 33.5% (29th)

Eagles

Pace: 25.4 (2nd)

Plays per game: 63.0 (29th)

Pass: 57.9% (24th) | Run: 42.1% (9th)

Pace Points

Well, it only took nine weeks but we did it. We finally have the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses in pace facing off against each other. And, as a result, this game tops the pace / play model for the slate as a result.

The Chargers have to be steaming after getting stomped by the Ravens before their bye and losing at home to the Patriots last week and they’re running into a soft defense here to take out their frustrations. Before facing Goff and the Lions last week, the Eagles gave up 41 to the Cowboys, 42 to the Chiefs, 28 to the Buccaneers, and 33 to the Raiders in four of their past 5 games with a date against the Panthers (18 points allowed) mixed in. I’ll be shocked if L.A. doesn’t bounce back in a big way here.

The Eagles didn’t have to do much at all offensively to dust the Lions last week, but this will obviously be a totally different spot. L.A. is getting run on +7.9% above expectation (second-highest rate) and we finally saw HC Nick Sirriani make a commitment to the run game last week – much to the chagrin of Miles Sanders’ backers. Was that a blip on the radar against the worst team in the league? Or are the Eagles finally going to give Jalen Hurts some help and lean more on the run? The matchup surely is perfect for it. This game is white-hot for fantasy appeal and will go to the moon if the Chargers re-find their stride.

Huber’s Key Matchup Notes

NOTE: Each week, Huber’s Key Matchup Notes in the Fantasy Points Game Hubs are little snippets from Wes Huber’s industry-best, comprehensive Advanced Matchups bible. A DFS-slanted article typically available to only our Premium Subscribers, we are making this week’s edition FREE to coincide with our midseason price drop, with rates reduced by 50%. There is still plenty of time to get on board!

Coming off 45.8 FPs in Week 5, it went against my appreciation for the talents of Justin Herbert to fade him outright against Baltimore and New England. But I stuck to my guns, side-stepping his 13.91 average output. Unlike every other elite fantasy QB, Herbert does not play well against Cover 1-heavy schemes. It’s a factor that can also provide context to his sub-20.0 FPG results during the first two weeks. But we have the green light for maximum Herbert exposure in Week 9. Philadelphia features the fourth-highest rate of Cover 6, and 12th-highest rate of Cover 2. It’s the fourth-highest Cover 2 + Cover 6 combo rate, and fifth-highest rate of two-high shells.

During his career, Herbert ranks fourth among all QBs with 0.41 FP/Db, first with a 111.1 passer rating, and fourth with a 31% increase in YPA against Cover 2. The former Oregon Duck has generated 0.42 FP/Db (fourth-best), a 105.6 passer rating (sixth), and 28% jump in YPA (second) during his career against Cover 6. Every defense, no matter how good, eventually finds a QB/s that simply takes advantage of every trick utilized to trip up the others at the position. For an Eagles’ defense limiting QBs to the seventh-fewest FPG to QBs (16.5), Herbert is their kryptonite.

When Herbert is entering a smash spot, deciding between Keenan Allen and Mike Williams is extremely difficult. And the Eagles are not doing us any favors by distributing the 18th-most FPG to receivers stationed inside and outside. The algorithm projection slightly favors Allen, but I’m seeing a better spot for Williams. M-Will ranks seventh with 0.46 FP/Rt against Cover 2 the last three years, the majority of which is collected by attacking the vulnerable honey-hole down the sideline. Williams’ alignment numbers will place him across from Steven Nelson on a ton of his routes. Nelson is approving 1.05 YPCS (28th), 0.23 FP/CS (28th), 0.12 AY/CS (first), and a 105.4 TPR (55th). That top-ranked AY/CS number might be discouraging, but consider that Nelson has been targeted at the seventh-lowest rate.

If not for his league-leading 8.9 pure rushing FPG, Jalen Hurts would be listed as entering a Matchup to Avoid this week. Even with the elevated floor, I’ll be directing my exposure attention elsewhere. I briefly considered listing Boston Scott as a Target. But I am anticipating that the Eagles will trail the Chargers throughout this game. For all of the reasons that Scott and Jordan Howard succeeded in Week 8’s total annihilation of Detroit, the logic points to Kenneth Gainwell regaining his mojo as Philadelphia is forced to take to the air from a negative script. That might seem to indicate it being time for some DeVonta Smith love. But the Chargers are shutting down opposing WR units to the fewest FPG (26.0).

Dolan’s Vantage Points

I found it interesting that Wes views this spot as better for Mike Williams than Keenan Allen this week given the things Philadelphia has struggled with this year — underneath throws. But the Eagles also changed the way they played last week, blitzing Jared Goff and playing more pure man looks against an offense that couldn’t go deep even if it wanted to.

So how does Philly choose to play this game? It goes without saying that Justin Herbert is a lot more dangerous than Goff, but the Patriots were able to exploit weak points on the Chargers’ right side of the offensive line last week, and DC Jonathan Gannon would be wise to try to create pressure there rather than letting Herbert, Allen, and RB Austin Ekeler pick them apart in the short area like he allowed Derek Carr to do two weeks ago.

By the way, even with the Eagles’ incredibly successful approach against the Lions last week left them vulnerable to TEs — this could be a good spot for a Jared Cook stream.

I do wonder if the Eagles might choose to selectively shadow Williams with Darius Slay, as they did at times with Tyreek Hill and Amari Cooper in recent weeks. Williams only got five targets in Week 8, but he at least got back into his normal role. He ran a route on 88% of the Chargers pass plays, so it doesn’t seem like he was limited by the knee injury that he had prior to the bye.

The Eagles helped out Jalen Hurts in Week 8 against the Lions by not asking him to do much at all — Hurts threw just 14 passes as the Eagles absolutely ran the ball down the throats of the Lions, who have surrendered the third-most rushing YPG in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Chargers have allowed the most. That’s why Scott Barrett is a little lower on Hurts as a fantasy option this week after one of the few duds of his NFL career so far. From Start/Sit:

“Hurts isn’t an outright sit, but I would temper your expectations this week — we have him ranked 10th among QBs.

Heading into last week, Hurts had hit at least 19.0 fantasy points in 10 of 10 full starts, averaging 25.2 FPG. (For perspective, only Josh Allen averages more fantasy points per start over the past two seasons.) Of course, Hurts finally flopped last week, scoring just 11.2 fantasy points. But that’s not why we’re worried this week. In fact, I’m still highly confident Hurts is no-worse than a mid-QB1 throughout the remainder of the season. But this week’s matchup is absolutely brutal.

The Eagles finally committed to the running game last week, giving their RBs 37 carries, after averaging just 10.6 across the team’s prior five games. And they’ll probably elect to do that again this week, as the Chargers are far-and-away the league’s top run-funnel defense. Opposing offenses have elected to run on Los Angeles a league-high 5.3% more often than their expectation (based on down and distance plus gamescript). And it’s not hard to see why. The Chargers rank 2nd-worst in YPC allowed to opposing RBs (5.00) but rank 7th-best in passer rating allowed (88.0). They rank worst in rushing FPG allowed to opposing RBs (20.9) but 2nd-best in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing QBs (-4.7).”

Of course, Hurts not throwing the ball much had to affect others, and last week it was WR DeVonta Smith. Scott again!

“Last week Dallas Goedert walked away with a 44% target share and a 63% yardage share, while Smith caught just one of three targets for 15 yards. Of course, this was a weird outlierish game, and a 38-point blowout victory, but I’d expect something similar to happen again this week. Well, I don’t envision the Eagles winning in a blowout, but I do foresee them leaning run-heavy, Jalen Hurts underperforming, Goedert smashing, and Smith flopping. Smith is just a mid-range WR4 this week against a Chargers defense that ranks 5th-best in FPG allowed to opposing outside WRs (17.3) and best in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s (-8.9).”

But as Scott alluded, one guy did blow up last week — TE Dallas Goedert, who was targeted on 7 of Hurts’ 14 throws. Barrett’s on a G.D. roll, so why stop now?

Dallas Goedert has hit 70 receiving yards in back-to-back games following the departure of Zach Ertz. Over this span, he’s run a route on 86% of the team’s dropbacks, turning a 20% target share into a 41% yardage share. If over the full season, those numbers would rank 2nd-best, 5th-best and best among all TEs, and the latter stat would rank 3rd-best among all receivers. We like him this week as a top-3 option, in a TE-funnel matchup against the Chargers. Los Angeles has given up the 4th-most FPG to opposing TEs (17.3), with a league-high 34.5% of their total receiving production allowed going to TEs.”

Meanwhile, I do expect Philly to come out running, though as Wes said above, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kenny Gainwell does get some more burn this week with the Eagles unlikely to blow out the Chargers. I rank their RBs as Boston Scott > Jordan Howard > Gainwell.

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