Last year Rivers morphed into one of the top fantasy players in the sport. He finished with 4,009 yards, a league-high 34 touchdowns, and had five 300-yard games. His 8.4 yards per attempt easily led the NFL. If Rivers gets production out of his running backs (pray for LT's health), he's going to have another huge year. Against Oakland, he's a no-brainer to start and he's going to have a very big day.
How much does LT enjoy playing against the Raiders? He has 1,906 career rushing yards and 22 total touchdowns against Oakland including 19 on the ground. That's the most yards and touchdowns against any opponent. At age 30 with plenty of miles on his Hall of Fame legs, he's no longer the automatic No. 1 Fantasy player he used to be, but we expect him to put up solid numbers here.
Given the Chargers will likely blow out the Raiders, Sproles will get starter time late in the game. Keep in mind Sproles finished the '08 season with three huge games, including a pair of 100-yard games in the playoffs.
VJ rang up 158 receiving yards in San Diego's win over Oakland last November, including a 59-yard second quarter reception. Rivers will look for him early in this game and he should have a plentiful day.
The end is near from Chambers, though he's likely to get a handful of catches against Oakland. He's one of the few San Diego offensive starters that we'd think twice about inserting into your lineup. Chambers has not had a 100-yard game in two years.
He had a career-high 27 catches for 465 yards and four touchdowns last season but given his age and Chambers' declining production, Floyd is a candidate for a nice jump this year. Of his 27 catches, eight went for more than 20 yards.
The Chargers are considered by many to be a Top 5 defense and they are a must-start against the Raiders given how little faith we have in Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Will the Shawne Merriman situation be a distraction? Doubtful. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie is always a threat to return one to the house.
The Raiders are fully committed to Russell after cutting Jeff Garcia. But is that a good thing? The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2007 has played out-of-shape and gives you little confidence that this will be a breakout year. He has more speed on the flanks with , and Darren McFadden should take some pressure off him if he stays healthy. But it's hard to believe Russell will do much against the Chargers.
Given his potential, McFadden is likely to get the lion's share of the carries early in the season. He had a breakout game last season in Kansas City (164 yards on 21 carries) but hurt himself in that game.
The team's most consistent offensive player and Russell's favorite target. He had 56 catches for 778 yards last season. Strangely, he was not a red zone threat in '08 ( 2 TD) but we expect that to improve this season.
The Raiders have traditionally been the worst run defense in the NFL – they were 31st against the run last year. The acquisition of Pro Bowl lineman Richard Seymour should help if he ever reports to the team. Oakland is an opportunistic defense (they had 32 sacks and 16 interceptions in '08) but this promises to be a long day.