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Rivers prepares for final scheduled start in Oakland

Wed Nov 6 2:51pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Philip Rivers, Antonio Brown, Derek Carr, Melvin Gordon, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Foster Moreau, Josh Jacobs

Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) runs for a touchdown past Detroit Lions defensive back Miles Killebrew during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/John Hefti)


In this Oct. 15, 2017, file photo, Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis, left, greets Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) before an NFL football game between the Raiders and the Chargers in Oakland, Calif. From his first career start in 2006 to some riveting comebacks and crushing defeats, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has had plenty of memorable experiences playing against the Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum. So there will be a bit of nostalgia when Rivers plays his final scheduled game there Thursday night, Nov. 17, 2019, when the Chargers (4-5) take on the Raiders (4-4) in a game crucial for both teams' playoff hopes. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)


In this Oct. 12, 2016, file photo, San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) kneels after an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif. From his first career start in 2006 to some riveting comebacks and crushing defeats, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has had plenty of memorable experiences playing against the Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum. So there will be a bit of nostalgia when Rivers plays his final scheduled game there Thursday night, Nov. 7, 2019, when the Chargers (4-5) take on the Raiders (4-4) in a game crucial for both teams' playoff hopes. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)


Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon jumps over Green Bay Packers defensive back Chandon Sullivan during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) From his first career start in 2006 to some riveting comebacks and crushing defeats, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has had plenty of memorable experiences playing against the Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum.

So there will be a bit of nostalgia when Rivers plays his final scheduled game there Thursday night, when the Chargers (4-5) take on the Raiders (4-4) in a game crucial for both teams' playoff hopes.

''I love playing there,'' Rivers said. ''There's certain places you go - I mean, Kansas City, I can picture the guys that sit behind our bench that have been sitting there for 15 years. Same thing in Oakland and same thing in Denver so I think you just, it's almost a little bit like you have this relationship with the atmosphere and the fans that are there because you've been there so many times.''

Rivers has been to the Coliseum so often (13 times), that only nine Raiders players have more games there than he does, a sign of Rivers' longevity and the roster overhaul in Oakland under coach Jon Gruden.

Rivers has won nine of those starts, throwing 24 touchdown passes in the games, totals that only Raiders quarterbacks Derek Carr and Rich Gannon have surpassed at the Coliseum since the team moved back to Oakland in 1995. It plans to relocate to Las Vegas in 2020.

But it's the atmosphere and the last dual-use stadium in the NFL that stands out most for Rivers.

''It's just always - a lot of personalities, obviously,'' he said. ''Shoot, it's an in-state rival, best way to describe it. The best way I can describe it is think about the team you played in high school that was kind of that cross-town team that you always looked forward to. I mean, it's that kind of old-school rivalry. It'll be awesome. The fact that it's a night game, too. Again, division game, both teams right there in the mix. It'll be cranked up pretty good.''

RAIDER ROOKIES

The Raiders are getting impressive contributions from their rookie class, with a franchise-record four TDs in last week's win over Detroit. Running back Josh Jacobs is leading the way with 740 yards rushing and six TDs, while tight end Foster Moreau has added three TD catches and receiver Hunter Renfrow has two. The 11 TDs from rookies are five more than the next highest team, Washington, and tied for the most through eight games since the Rams had 16 in 1983.

''I feel like we've been making plays all year long,'' Renfrow said. ''Our rookie class takes a lot of pride of how productive we can be on the offensive side. It is all of us just trying to be our best at the end of the day.''

RUNNING GAME REBOUND?

The Chargers hope that by scaling down their playbook to five or six running plays, they have found consistency in their ground game. Los Angeles ran for a season-high 159 yards and averaged more than four yards per carry for the first time since Week 4.

Melvin Gordon had 80 yards last week, his best game since returning following a two-month holdout, and has four straight games with 120 scrimmage yards or more against the Raiders, along with five touchdowns.

Austin Ekeler continues to be effective, with six games of 90 scrimmage yards or more. Ekeler leads NFL running backs in receptions (55) and receiving yards (530).

TYRELL'S REUNION

Raiders receiver Tyrell Williams is ready to enjoy the other side of this AFC West rivalry. After spending his first four seasons with the Chargers, Williams signed with the Raiders this offseason. Originally set to be the No. 2 receiver alongside Antonio Brown, Williams has been given a bigger role after Brown was released two days before the season opener. He has 23 catches for 355 yards and five TDs despite missing two games with a foot injury. He said he's had this game circled on his schedule ever since it was announced in April.

''I've been more excited all week to be able to have this game,'' he said. ''I stay pretty even-keeled but I think I'll have a lot more juice this week.''

SACK MASTER

Joey Bosa has 5+ sacks in his last three games and is second in the AFC with 8+ this season. He is trying to become the first player since Carolina's Charles Johnson to have at least two sacks in three straight road games.

SHORT WEEK

Like most coaches and players, Gruden is not a fan of Thursday night games with only three days of preparation. That's even more the case when the Raiders are dealing with injuries on the offensive line that leave questions about who will even be available. Right tackle Trent Brown left the previous game with a knee injury in the first quarter and his status is unknown. Center Rodney Hudson missed last week's game with a sprained ankle that might not be healed in time for him to play against the Chargers.

''It's hard to prepare for them when you don't really know who's on your team,'' Gruden said. ''We've had so many changes it's tough to do that. I hate this. I don't believe in this Thursday football. I'm not going to be on my soap box any more than that. It hurts both teams, obviously the preparation. We take a lot of pride in getting our guys ready to play. We need a little time to do that, but a lot of people disagree with me obviously, so it'll be a challenge.''

Player Notes
Marquise Goodwin Dec 10 5:33pm ET

San Francisco 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a knee injury on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

From TheHuddle

Demaryius Thomas Dec 10 5:23pm ET

New York Jets S Jamal Adams (ankle), OT Chuma Edoga (knee), TE Ryan Griffin (ankle), CB Arthur Maulet (calf), CB Brian Poole (concussion), RB Bilal Powell (ankle, illness), WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) and DL Quinnen Williams (neck) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 10. OT Kelvin Beachum (ankles), S Matthias Farley (ankle), DL Steve McLendon (knee, hip), RB Ty Montgomery (foot, hip) and DL Nathan Shepherd (ankle) were limited. RB Le'Veon Bell (illness), CB Maurice Canady (shoulder), OL Tom Compton (ankle), QB Sam Darnold (knee, thumb), QB David Fales (elbow) and LB Paul Worrilow (quad) participated in full.

From TheHuddle

Mark Ingram Dec 10 5:13pm ET

Baltimore Ravens LB Chris Board (concussion), DB Anthony Levine (ankle), OT Ronnie Stanley (concussion), RB Mark Ingram (non-injury), S Earl Thomas (non-injury) and DT Brandon Williams (non-injury) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 10. TE Mark Andrews (knee), QB Lamar Jackson (quad) and DE Jihad Ward (elbow) were limited.

From TheHuddle

Calvin Ridley Dec 10 4:53pm ET

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (abdominal) and CB Desmond Trufant (forearm) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Tuesday, Dec. 10. LB Ahmad Thomas was signed to the active roster, while TE Carson Meier and LB Quentin Poling were added to the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Alshon Jeffery Dec 10 4:43pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) is out for the rest of the season with a foot injury he suffered in Week 14 against the New York Giants, according to a source. The team is still reportedly gathering opinions about the exact injury, however.

Fantasy Spin: This injury wraps up yet another injury-shortened season for the 29-year-old, who has played a full season once in the last five years - averaging only 12 games over that span. Jeffrey is still due $12.75 million over each of the final two years of his deal, so he's probably not going anywhere this offseason. With Nelson Agholor also ailing, the Eagles could be forced to finish the season with Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and a few practice squad players at the position.

From TheHuddle

Rodney Gunter Dec 10 4:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals DL Rodney Gunter (toe) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a toe injury on Tuesday, Dec. 10. DL Caraun Reid (Cardinals) was re-signed to an undisclosed contract to replace him on the roster after getting released over the weekend.

From TheHuddle

Simeon Thomas Dec 10 4:23pm ET

Washington Redskins CB Simeon Thomas was handed a four-game suspension by the NFL on Tuesday, Dec. 10, for violating the league's policy and program on substances of abuse.

From TheHuddle

Marvin Jones Dec 10 4:23pm ET

Detroit Lions WR Marvin Jones (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with an ankle injury on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Fantasy Spin: The hits just keep coming for Detroit, which figures to lean on Kenny Golladay even more the rest of the way. Danny Amendola should also see more targets as well.

From TheHuddle

Auden Tate Dec 10 3:40pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate (knee) was placed on the injured reserve Tuesday, ending his season. Tate sustained a mild MCL sprain in his left knee in the third quarter of the teams Week 14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Damion Willis was promoted to the active roster in a corresponding roster move. Tate took advantage of all the injuries to the Bengals receiving corps this season, racking up a career-high 40 catches for 575 yards and one touchdown, and is a worthy hold in dynasty leagues heading into his third season.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Dec 10 3:23pm ET

Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp played only 20 of a possible 68 snaps in Week 14 versus the Seattle Seahawks.

Fantasy Spin: By comparison, Kupp logged 57 snaps in Week 13. Head coach Sean McVay defended the move by suggesting it was the cost of doing business in order to establish some offensive balance on early downs. However, the flaw in that reasoning is that Kupp's playing time should not be cut in favor of backup tight end Johnny Mundt. Meanwhile, Brandin Cooks didn't make a catch in his 61 snaps. Expect Kupp to return to his normal snap count in Week 15 against the Dallas Cowboys.

From TheHuddle

Jamar Taylor Dec 10 3:13pm ET

Free-agent CB Jamar Taylor (Seahawks) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

From TheHuddle

Le'Veon Bell Dec 10 3:03pm ET

New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell is among the players the team is expected to make available via trade this offseason, according to sources.

Fantasy Spin: Bell is averaging only 49.1 yards rushing behind one of the league's worst offensive lines in his first season with the Jets, and it is becoming increasingly clear head coach Adam Gase either can't find a way to keep him involved in the offense or doesn't want to. A trade will be hard to accomplish as well, as the Jets would take a $15.5 million cap hit if they deal him and his hypothetical new team would have to find a way to fit one of the larger contracts at his position onto the roster.

From TheHuddle

Auden Tate Dec 10 2:53pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals WR Auden Tate (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a sprained left medial collateral ligament Tuesday, Dec. 10. WR Damion Willis was elevated from the practice squad to replace him on the roster.

Fantasy Spin: Tate's emergence was probably the best thing to happen to the Bengals in an otherwise lost season. Assuming A.J. Green re-signs with the team in the offseason, Tate will probably push John Ross for the other starting outside job while Tyler Boyd remains the main slot receiver. Tate, who finishes this season with 40 catches for 575 yards and a touchdown, should be considered a solid late-round flier next summer in fantasy drafts.

From TheHuddle

Cedrick Wilson Dec 10 2:43pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Cedrick Wilson (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Dec. 10. OT Mitch Hyatt was elevated from the practice squad to replace him on the roster.

From TheHuddle

Parris Campbell Dec 10 2:40pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (foot) has been placed on Injured Reserve ending his season. It's an unfortunate, yet fitting, end to the rookie's season having battled injuries to his hamstring, abdomen, and a broken hand before a fractured foot put him on season-ending IR. Campbell finishes his rookie season with 18 catches for 127 yards and one touchdown. The Colts are still unsure of T.Y. Hilton's (calf) status for their Monday night game vs New Orleans, but it's looking increasingly likely Hilton misses the game. Assuming Hilton is out, Zach Pascal has interesting WR3 value with Marcus Johnson also in the mix in deeper fantasy leagues.

From RotoBaller

James Conner Dec 10 2:30pm ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers are expecting to get wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and running back James Conner (shoulder) back in time for their Week 15 game against the Buffalo Bills. Neither has played since getting injured against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11. Both players are expected to practice this week in what would be a big boost to the Pittsburgh offense as the team looks to remain in the playoff picture. Conner's return would come at an especially good time as Jaylen Samuels is looking questionable for this weekend with a groin injury. That being said, fantasy GMs need to temper their expectations for both players as the Bills have been stout on defense this season.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Dec 10 2:20pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (abdomen) will be out for the remainder of the season after suffering an abdominal injury during the first half of Week 14's win over the Carolina Panthers. Ridley had a big game before the injury, catching five balls for 76 yards and a touchdown but went down before halftime and was unable to stand on his own. He was carted off the field and looked to be in significant pain. With Ridley out look for Russell Gage to slide in as the No. 2 receiver in Atlanta opposite Julio Jones. Gage is worth a look as a flex play in fantasy leagues going forward.

From RotoBaller

Bilal Powell Dec 10 2:20pm ET

New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (ankle, illness) is not expected to play Thursday night at Baltimore. Powell, who was filling in for Le'Veon Bell (illness) injured his ankle at the end of the Jets Week 14 win over the Dolphins. Powell is also apparently dealing with the flu but head coach Adam Gase said the ankle is the bigger concern right now. Powell is yet to officially be ruled out, but all signs are pointing to him not suiting up this week. The good news for New York is Bell is reportedly close to 100 percent and should reclaim his starting role with Ty Montgomery working as a change of pace back. Powell can safely be dropped by those that picked him up for the Miami game.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Chark Dec 10 2:10pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (ankle) was spotted in a walking boot on Monday and left the locker room using a scooter. Head coach Doug Marrone told reporters that Chark is "week-to-week" with the injury, which puts the remainder of his season in jeopardy. Chark broke out in a big way for Jacksonville in 2019, catching 67 balls for 956 yards and eight touchdowns. With Chark sidelined, look for Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, and Keelan Cole to all see more chances within the Jacksonville passing attack.

From RotoBaller

Vance McDonald Dec 10 2:03pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald (concussion) is in the concussion protocol following the Week 14 game.

From TheHuddle