TNF fantasy preview: Chargers-Raiders start Week 16

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders, 8:25pm ET on NFL Network

San Diego Chargers:

Call it the emotion of a possible final home game in San Diego or just a bad Dophins defense. Whatever it was, we were happy to see Philip Rivers return to form last week. If you had given up on him at some point in the last few weeks (and we wouldn't have blamed you) it might be worth revisiting him this week against the Raiders. The last time these teams met, Rivers threw for 336 yards and three touchdowns. Then again, he had a much healthier complement of weapons back then.

Nice to see you again, Mr. Woodhead. Long after most people had given up on the Chargers running back, he returned to prominence with four touchdowns last week. With Melvin Gordon out of action for the remainder of the season, it returns Woodehad to a position of prominence in the San Diego offense as a dual-threat player who is an even bigger value in PPR leagues. After so many poor showings in a row, it's hard to completely trust him but he at least deserves consideration for a flex spot.

We've been 'round and 'round on this several times over the past few weeks. Good luck to you if you feel with any certainty that you can start any of Malcom Floyd, Dontrelle Inman or Javontee Herndon. There's a thin line between brave or foolhardy and you're probably crossing it.

Let's all take a moment to recognize that over the past four weeks, Gates has been the fifth-best tight end in fantasy football. Let's also recognize that the Raiders are much better at covering tight ends now than they were at the start of the season. If you need another reason to consider starting Gates, well ... we're not sure what to tell you.

Oakland Raiders:

The good news is that Carr has thrown two or more touchdown passes in eight consecutive games. The bad news is that he's also tossed multiple interceptions in two of his last three contests. The Chargers have only allowed four touchdown passes in their last four games. Quarterbacks on a short week are always a risky proposition and there are likely better signal-callers available with good matchups. This might be a little too sketchy to start your championship week.

All season long it's been easy to say "start your running backs against the Chargers", but that hasn't really been the case lately. San Diego has given up just one rushing touchdown in its past four games and is allowing just 84 rushing yards per game to the position in that stretch. Murray has scored double-digit fantasy points just once in his past seven games. This is a matchup to approach with caution.

Cooper returned to our fantasy lives in a huge way last week with 24 fantasy points against the Green Bay Packers. It was just the latest high in a season full of peaks and valleys. One of those peaks came in Week 7 against San Diego when the rookie had 133 receiving yards and a score. Generally, No. 1 wideouts have had a tough time against Chargers corner Jason Verrett but maybe Cooper is heating up to finish the season. Then again this secondary has given up 20 or more points to wide receivers just once since Week 7. This could go either way.

After a nice stretch in the middle of the season, Crabtree has hit a lull recently with just one double-digit performance in his last six contests. Generally speaking, No. 2 receivers have had a slightly easier time against San Diego's secondary which could perk up Crabtree's value this week. Either way, he probably shouldn't be started as more than a WR3 this week.

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