Guest of the League
Aurelio Sanchez Memorial League Est. 2007
FFL: Week 7 | NFL: Week 7

Texans-Chargers Preview

1568940817

Players: Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Lamar Miller, Carlos Hyde, Melvin Gordon, Duke Johnson, Deshaun Watson, Michael Badgley, Daniel Jones

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) walks off the field in the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Detroit won 13-10. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)


Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) signals after Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) was held short of the goal line on a two-point conversion attempt during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers throws in the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)


CARSON, Calif. (AP) In a week in which one of his 2004 draft classmates suffered a season-ending elbow injury and the other was benched, Philip Rivers continues to be old reliable for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Rivers will make his 209th consecutive start on Sunday when the Chargers host the Houston Texans in a key early season matchup. That ties him with Eli Manning for the second-longest QB starting streak in NFL history.

Manning, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2004 draft, was benched this week by the Giants for rookie Daniel Jones and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the No. 11 overall selection, will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury.

''I don't think you ever take it for granted, no question. I think even more-so now, you just realize that it doesn't last forever,'' Rivers said.

Longevity though is not what Rivers is focusing on this week. It is trying to bounce back from a disappointing 13-10 loss at Detroit where the Chargers' hope for a comeback ended when he threw an interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter.

The pick capped a day that saw the Chargers have two touchdowns called back because of penalties, two missed field goals and a turnover in the red zone. The loss leaves LA at 1-1 and facing a fellow playoff participant from last season.

''I think that we've shown the ability to bounce back over the years when we've lost some tough ones,'' Rivers said. ''Usually, you never take any satisfaction in losing, obviously, but most of our losses are going to be tough ones - at least I hope.''

Rivers is very much a pocket passer who is not fleet of foot, Deshaun Watson is the opposite. The third-year quarterback is two touchdown passes away from 50 in his career and needs 35 rushing yards to become the seventh QB in NFL history with 900 yards or more in his first 26 games.

While the Chargers are coming off a close loss, the Texans survived a missed 2-point conversion to beat Jacksonville 13-12.

''Everyone is making sure that as far as I go, the offense goes and the whole team goes,'' Watson said. ''It just kind of grows on itself and the more I play, the more reps I get, the more games I start as a quarterback here, the more it grows.''

Here is what else to watch for during Sunday's game:

STILL RUNNING WELL

There hasn't been any decline in the Chargers' running game despite Melvin Gordon's holdout. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson have combined to average 5.7 yards per carry.

Ekeler leads the AFC in scrimmage yards (287) and is tied for sixth in the league in offensive touches (46). However, he did fumble near the goal line in last Sunday's 13-10 loss to Detroit.

Jackson has been a nice change-of-pace back with seven of his 13 carries going for 10 yards or more.

WITHOUT MERCY

Houston outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week this week after he had two sacks, forced two fumbles and had two quarterback hits in a win over the Jaguars last Sunday. His second strip sack was recovered by J.J. Watt and the Texans scored their only touchdown of the game four plays later. Mercilus is the only player in the NFL to force more than one fumble this season.

It was his second straight big game this season after he had a sack, an interception, five tackles, including one for a loss and a quarterback hit in Houston's opener.

''Whitney has been a very productive player for us over the years,'' coach Bill O'Brien said. ''He's been a guy that really is just known for doing his job. He just does a good job of setting the edge in the running game and then rushing the passer.''

FILLING IN

Running backs Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson have filled in nicely in the first two games after Lamar Miller, who was Houston's featured back for the past three seasons, sustained a season-ending knee injury in a preseason game. The duo has helped the Texans average 153 yards rushing a game, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Hyde has carried a bigger load than Johnson so far and he is fifth in the league with 173 yards rushing.

Their success is impressive considering that neither player started camp with the team. Johnson came to Houston in a trade with Cleveland on Aug. 9 and Hyde joined the Texans on Aug. 31 in a deal with Kansas City.

PASS RUSHERS ON PARADE

The game will feature three of the top pass rushers in the AFC. Houston's J.J. Watt is still looking for his first sack this season and has never taken down Rivers.

Los Angeles' Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram have combined for two sacks, both coming in the opener against Indianapolis.

KICKING WOES

The Chargers are hoping to get placekicker Michael Badgley back after he has missed two games because of a groin injury. Ty Long has handled both kicking and punting duties, but missed a pair of field-goal attempts last week.

The Texans have brought back punter Bryan Anger after Trevor Daniel struggled.

Player Notes
Courtland Sutton Oct 17 6:00pm ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton has been the biggest breakout on the Broncos roster this year, as he is continuing to solidify his role as the team's top receiver as Emmanuel Sanders starts to age. Sutton has been a consistent option at a WR2/Flex spot for owners the past few weeks, and owners can expect much of the same in Week 7. Sutton is bound to get his share of targets and should turn that into solid production against a secondary that has been torched by the Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, and Jacksonville Jaguars this year.

From RotoBaller

Alvin Kamara Oct 17 6:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (ankle, knee) and tight end Jared Cook (ankle) both missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday and could be in jeopardy of missing Week 7 against the Bears. They'll need to get in at least some limited practice on Friday. Kamara fought through his injuries last week and was noticeably not the same powerful back. If he sits out, backup Latavius Murray will have RB2 upside, albeit in a tough matchup. Cook has scored the last two games but remains on the TE1/2 borderline as a touchdown-dependent player. Josh Hill would see more action at the position if Cook cannot play.

From RotoBaller

Amari Cooper Oct 17 6:00pm ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (quadriceps) dealt with a quadriceps bruise as a rookie and was able to play the very next week. Cooper was unable to walk on Monday after suffering the injury in Week 6, but he was encouraged by his improvement on Wednesday. However, his improvement has plateaued. He thinks it's a different muscle than during his rookie season. He will practice on Friday and test it to see what his status is for Week 7 against the Eagles on Sunday night. Cooper hasn't practiced this week, making it unlikely that he plays. But he may try to gut it out in this big divisional game. He's already shaping up to be one to avoid in fantasy with the game being on Sunday night, but Cooper could be ineffective if he plays at less than 100 percent. Michael Gallup would be the team's top receiver if Cooper is out, with Devin Smith and Tavon Austin set for increased workloads. Randall Cobb is also hurt and looks likely to miss his second straight game.

From RotoBaller

Noah Fant Oct 17 5:50pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant has had a rocky start to his rookie season and has been shaky to trust with any fantasy production. The one thing that Fant has going for him is his high snap count, but even that took a dip last week as he only saw action on 65% of snaps with teammate Jeff Heuerman managing a 52% snap count. The rookie tight end may be able to be stashed on rosters, but with the current offensive plan he simply isn't getting consistent enough production to justify a starting role on fantasy teams.

From RotoBaller

Mason Crosby Oct 17 5:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby is in line for a great game against the Oakland Raiders. The Packers have needed to call upon their veteran kicker multiple times this season, with him only missing one of his 11 attempts this year. Given the struggles that the offense has had this season and the offense hit with injury this week to the receiver position, Crosby is likely to be a great kicking option for fantasy owners this week with plenty of opportunities if the offense stalls.

From RotoBaller

Green Bay Packers Oct 17 5:40pm ET

The Green Bay Packers Defense could be an effective streaming option against the Oakland Raiders this week. The Raiders were able to deny the Chicago Bears a single sack in their last game, but that was due in part to the injury to defensive tackle Akiem Hicks. The Packers have been able to bring pressure to opposing quarterbacks this season with 37 quarterback hits and 18 sacks recorded in six games. The team is likely to continue that pressure and should force quarterbackDerek Carr into some poor throws, making them a great streaming option this week.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Oct 17 5:40pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay is starting to build an impressive log of games to start the year and he looks to keep the ball rolling against one of the league's worst run defenses on Thursday night. The Chiefs have been abysmal against the run, which should make Lindsay owners salivate as he has a great chance to break quite a few loose to rack up some major yardage. The sophomore back should be starting in most leagues for Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Royce Freeman Oct 17 5:40pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman continues to carve out a significant role in the Broncos passing offense as the season progresses. This allows him to hold flex value in a PPR setting, as he is seeing between four and five receptions a week out of the backfield. Expect much of the same against Kansas City on Thursday night, which will allow for Freeman to sneak into flex spots this week.

From RotoBaller

Joe Flacco Oct 17 5:40pm ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco has had a rough start to his 2019 season with the Broncos and at this point is finding himself on very few fantasy rosters. While his matchup with Kansas City isn't all that daunting, Flacco needs to prove that he has the ability to put up points consistently before he is a matchup based play. This is a good test week to see what the veteran quarterback can do against a weak secondary, but he shouldnt be starting on rosters this week.

From RotoBaller

Allen Lazard Oct 17 5:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard could be an effective bye-week replacement this week against the Oakland Raiders. The Packers top three receivers have been severely hit by injury, giving Lazard a great opportunity this week. The Oakland Raiders are one of the worst units defending against the position, giving up an average of 27.8 points to wideouts this season. If you are in need of a bye replacement, then Lazard has the ability to have a great game in your flex position and is widely available. However, be aware that Green Bay could lean heavily on the run with their receiving corps hobbled.

From RotoBaller

Jake Kumerow Oct 17 5:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jake Kumerow could be an effective flex option against the Oakland Raiders this week. The Packers pass-catching options have been deeply hit by injury, meaning that after impressing in the preseason, Kumerow could be given a larger role against the Raiders. The Raiders have given up an average of 27.8 points this season to wide receivers, one of the highest marks in the league. With Marquez Valdes-Scantling struggling as the Packers lead receiver, Kumerow could end up having a much bigger role. But with the uncertainty on target share this far down the depth chart, that outcome can't be relied upon, making him a high-upside flex option this week if the team is short-handed.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Oct 17 5:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham could prove to be an effective option against the Oakland Raiders this week. The Packers look likely to be missing Davante Adams(toe) and Geronimo Allison(concussion) this week, meaning Graham could be given more targets in this game. The Raiders are one of the worst teams at defending the position this season, giving up an average of 9.7 points to tight ends per game. While Graham has struggled to get involved in the offense this season, the fact that he is one of the most familiar pass-catching options for quarterbackAaron Rodgers, combined with the matchup, could give him starting value for fantasy owners this week.

From RotoBaller

Jakobi Meyers Oct 17 5:30pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers could be looking at an increase in snaps in Week 7 against the Jets for Monday Night Football. The Patriots are banged up at receiver right now with Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett dealing with injuries. So it is next man up and Meyers could play a prominent role. Meyers stepped up last week, hauling in four catches for 52 yards against the Giants. The rookie was one of the brightest stars of the preseason for the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady has spoken highly of him in the past. There certainly is opportunity here but Meyers will be, no more, than a dart-throw in fantasy for Week 7.

From RotoBaller

New England Patriots Oct 17 5:30pm ET

The New England Patriots Defense will head to New Jersey to take on the Jets in Week 7 on Monday Night Football. The Patriots are undefeated and the dominance of the defense has been the biggest narrative of their young season. This week they will face the Jets for a second time and their offense is allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing defenses. Granted, Jets starting quarterback Sam Darnold has missed time this season but the Patriots racked up five sacks and one interception against the Jets in Week 3. The vaunted unit is allowing the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and only two passers have amassed more than 10 fantasy points against them. Start the Patriots defense with confidence.

From RotoBaller

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Oct 17 5:20pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling(ankle, knee) is a borderline WR3 this week against the Oakland Raiders. He'll need to get in at least a limited practice on Friday in order to have a shot at playing. Valdes-Scantling has struggled to be an effective fantasy receiver without Davante Adams(toe) in the lineup. In the past two weeks, Valdes-Scantling has seen just six targets, catching three of them for 66 yards. The Raiders are a team that has been exposed through the air this season, giving up an average of 27.8 points to the position. However, even as the Packers lead receiver in recent weeks, his target share limits his upside in the matchup as a WR3.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Oct 17 5:20pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams has RB3 value in deeper leagues against the Oakland Raiders this week. Williams returned from injury against the Detroit Lions, taking full advantage of the struggles of Aaron Jones. Williams finished the game with 104 yards on the ground, with an additional 32 yards and a touchdown through the air. The Raiders have been an effective unit against running backs, giving up an average of just 16.3 points to the position. However, they have yet to face a team that has had an effective running attack. While Jones has been the lead back in the games in which both players have been available, Williams is still likely to be given enough touches to be an RB3 or flex play, especially with Green Bay's top three receivers potentially inactive due to injury.

From RotoBaller

James White Oct 17 5:20pm ET

New England Patriots running back James White will be on the fantasy radar as a solid PPR play in Week 7 against the Jets. White is far off his production from last season but has been active the past three games. White has 23 receptions for 149 yards during that span and the Jets have allowed nine catches for 97 yards to running backs over their last two games. The veteran's role is mostly in the passing game for the Patriots offense and the team may look White's way with nagging injuries running through the wide receiver group at present. White will have FLEX value in Week 7 but it would be wise to deploy him in PPR leagues only.

From RotoBaller

Rex Burkhead Oct 17 5:20pm ET

New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead (foot) remains limited in practice as the team prepares to take on the Jets this Monday night in Week 7. Burkhead has missed the past two games and would certainly like another crack at the Jets Defense. In Week 3, Burkhead racked up 69 yards from scrimmage with one touchdown against the Jets. Even if the veteran suits up Monday night, Burkhead will not be fantasy viable until he can prove that he is healthy and back in the flow of the offense.

From RotoBaller

Julian Edelman Oct 17 5:20pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (chest) was limited during the Patriots practice on Thursday. It appears to simply be a maintenance day for the veteran after taking a couple of big shots last week. Edelman is preparing to go up against a Jets Defense for MNF that is allowing the 13th most fantasy points to receivers this season. Edelman caught seven passes for 62 yards and one touchdown against the Jets in Week 3 and should be on the WR1 map in Week 7 if he plays.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Oct 17 5:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones is a borderline RB1 this week facing the Oakland Raiders. Jones found himself marginalized against the Detroit Lions after failing to catch a touchdown pass. Jones watched as Jamaal Williams impressed on the field after his return from injury. The Raiders have been one of the better units against running backs this season, giving up an average of just 16.3 points to the position, but the Packers have been an effective running attack, so they could blow that points total out of the water. The difficulty in putting Jones as an RB1 is the uncertainty on the split of touches. While Jones is likely to get the majority of the work, he could slip into RB2 territory if Williams' role is increased.

From RotoBaller