POSTED 9 PM EST ON THURSDAY
Game Overview ::
- This is a divisional rematch from a game a few weeks ago when the Broncos beat the Chargers 28-13 in Denver. The Broncos controlled that game with their running game and defense, making the Chargers one-dimensional and making things difficult for them on both sides of the ball.
- Both teams are currently on the outside looking in for the AFC playoff picture, and whichever team loses this game is likely done.
- Denver needs to win their last two games and get A LOT of help to make the playoffs.
- If Los Angeles wins their last two games, they will still need a little help somewhere but have a very strong chance that they would get in the playoffs with a 10-7 record.
How denver Will Try To Win ::
The Broncos want to hide Drew Lock. In his only start last week against a mediocre Raiders defense, the Broncos ran only 40 offensive plays and managed 158 total yards. They struggled to move the ball at all and managed only 18 rushing yards with the Raiders selling out to stop the run. Vic Fangio had no interest in cutting Drew Lock loose to make them pay for this strategy, so the Broncos just engaged in a punting battle that they ended up losing. The Raiders complete inability to separate themselves offensively allowed Denver to stick with that strategy, as the Broncos just tried to survive an ugly game rather than going out and winning it.
The Broncos are a slow-paced team (27th in the league in situation-neutral pace of play) who want to lean on their running game. The Chargers have the worst run defense in the league and that should play right into Denver’s hands. Los Angeles couldn’t even stop the Texans from having success running the ball so it is unlikely they will be able to stop the Broncos backfield. If Denver can get 35-40 rushing attempts from their backs with any level of efficiency, while keeping Drew Lock from throwing the ball over 25 times, Vic Fangio will be a very happy man.
How los angeles Will Try To Win ::
On paper, the Broncos are more easily attacked on the ground than through the air. In theory, this would be a game where we could possibly expect to see Los Angeles run the ball more than usual. In reality, this is a team coming off of an embarrassing loss and whose season is on the line. In spots like this, teams usually want to lean into their own strengths and know that if they go down, they will do it on their own terms. We saw something similar last week with the Bills, as they put the ball in Josh Allen’s hands, and had a pass-heavy attack against the Patriots despite New England’s top-three pass defense.
Los Angeles passes at the fifth-highest rate in the league and plays at a top-10 situation-neutral pace. Despite the tough matchup and last week’s poor outing, we should expect the Chargers to “be who they are” and put the ball in Justin Herbert’s hands here. The returns of Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, and possibly Jalen Guyton mean this offense should operate at full strength with their season on the line. Brandon Staley is one of the sharper young coaches in the game and it is highly unlikely that he does anything other than riding his franchise QB as far as he will take him.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
While this game has a respectable total of 45.5, we always want to keep in mind the range of outcomes for a given game rather than just the raw number “Vegas” gives us. The Broncos have played 15 games this season and have only been a part of one game that combined for over 50 points (Week 6 vs. Las Vegas). There has only been one other game that went over the total for this week’s game, and nine times this season a Denver game has had 40 or less points scored. This is an important context to consider because the schemes and personnel of these teams are set up for Denver to control the game flow, even if they may not end up winning. Denver’s defense is well equipped to slow down the high volume, usually explosive Chargers passing offense. On the other side of the ball, Denver wants to control the game on the ground and the Chargers couldn’t even get stops against the league-worst run defense of the Texans (with backup offensive linemen, no less).
It wouldn’t be shocking for this game to approach (or even slightly surpass) the implied team and game totals, but Denver will be able to run the ball with success and string together long drives while also making things difficult for Los Angeles to move the ball quickly down the field, and making it difficult for them to score touchdowns (Denver has the fourth-best defense at preventing TD’s in the red zone). This makes it likely that if this game meets expectations, it will be a hard-earned journey that gets there at the end, while also making it likely that this game could significantly disappoint and finish with something like a 20-13 final score. There appears to be a much greater downside to the game flow than there is upside.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Dwprix >>
- DEN won their 1st matchup 28-13
- LAC is 8-7 & would be the first team out of the playoffs
- They need MIA to lose to TEN to help sget in
- DEN is 7-8 & more then likely out of the playoffs
- Total is the 4th highest (46), moving up 1 pt
- LAC is favored by 3
- DEN has lost 3 of 4 facing LV, CIN, DET, & KC
- LAC is 2-2 in their last 4 losing to the Texans 29-41 last week
- Last week vs LV: 15:22:153:0 TDs, 7.1 DK pts in low scoring loss to LV
- His price stayed the same this week ($5.1k)
- Lock has shown a ceiling in the past w/ games of 27.9, 20.8, 33.2, 26.6, 27.3 over his career
- He’s started 3 games against LAC: (16.1, 20.8, & 13.9 DK pts)
- DEN QBs haven’t thrown for 300+ since WK 6 (Bridgewater 334)
- LAC allows 18.8 DK pts to QBs (17th most)
- Tim Patrick has been added to the COVID list & is likely out
- DEN hasn’t had a 100 yd WR since WK 5 (Courtland Sutton, 120 yds)
- Sutton is the only one to break 100 rec yds, he’s done so twice
- DEN ranks 21st in pass atts/g (32.5) // LAC allows the 12th least (32.9)
- Jerry Jeudy has yet to see 10+ tgts in a game, have 80+ rec yds, or score
- His price ($5.1k) dropped $500 having to face a tougher opponent (faced DET last week)
- Jeudys season highs: 9 tgts, 6 rec, 77 rec yds
- LAC allows 31.0 DK pts/g to WRs (5th least)
- DEN RBs combined for 14 carries for 8 yds and 1 TD last week
- They’re getting there starting center (Lloyd Cushenberry) back from the COVID list
- WK 15 Javonte Williams out-snapped Gordon 44-31
- Last week it was 23 Gordon/22 Williams
- Both are a season high price: Williams $6.4k // Gordon $6.2k
- Tgts last 3: Williams (2, 4, 2) // Gordon (1, 1, 0)
- LAC allows 27.9 DK pts/g to RBs (5th most)
- DEN allows just 1.2 pass TDs/g (3rd fewest) // LAC avgs 2.2/g (5th most)
- LAC ranks 5th in yds/comp (10.9) // DEN allows the 8th least (10.8)
- Herbert has scored 20+ in all but 4 games (2 of these came way back in WKs 1 & 2)
- He’s his 30+ 3 times & 40+ in another
- It’s been 6 games since he scored 30+
- Since his 38.3 DK pts game in WK 11, his price has rose from $6.7k to $7.2k
- This week it went down to $6.8k
- He’s the 8th highest priced QB (Allen, Mahomes, Brady, Murray, Stafford, Jackson, Burrow are priced more)
- DEN allows 16.0 DK pts/g to QBs (3rd least)
- Jalen Guyton has been activated off the COVID list
- He scored one TD in each of his previous 3 on only 9 total tgts
- Mike Williams tgts last 4: (9, 6, 7, 8)
- He didn’t reach 20 DK pts in any of those
- Keenan Allen tgts last 4: (6, 10, DNP, 8)
- He’s seen 10+ tgts in 9 games // Williams has seen 10+ in 3 games (but hasn’t reached that in 9 straight games)
- LAC avgs 38.6 pass atts/g (5th most) // DEN allows 32.5 (T-6th least)
- DEN allows 32.5 DK pts/g to WRs (8th least)
- Austin Ekeler ($8.2k) is back from the COVID list after missing last week
- He’s the 2nd highest priced RB behind Jonathon Taylor ($9k)
- He’s scored in 6 straight games
- With that, it’s been 5 games since he at least 3xed his salary (WK 11 explosion 4 TDs, 41.5 DK pts)
- It’s been 6 games since Ekeler received at least 20 opportunities (rec + rush atts)
- DEN allows 21.5 DK pts/g to RBs (8th least)