3 Ways To Avoid Thursday Night Fantasy Disaster

Antonio Gates

Uncertainty plagues every fantasy footballer, every week, every lineup decision, no matter how glaringly obvious.

But it’s especially on Thursdays that we hesitate, we hold fire because we don’t want to trot out our borderline plays just to see them flop on the national stage and set you squarely behind that seemingly immovable eight ball.

You want to wait until Sunday to make the tough calls, right? Tell that to Doug Martin owners who benched Week 8’s top fantasy scorer last Thursday against Minnesota. Martin, coming into the game, was seen as an iffy top-20 running back option. After the game? A fake football monster and one of the league’s rare three-down backs.

Shut off your brain’s risk aversion mechanism and play your favorable match-ups. Tonight’s game sees the hapless Chiefs at the slightly-less-hapless Chargers.

Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers — It was fun to watch Rob Gronkowskipour it on against the Rams last week while your guy, Gates, entered the fourth quarter with five yards receiving. He finished with 14 yards on two receptions, leaving countless thousands of owners in the fetal position, weeping in the glow of their TVs, wondering what heinous thing they had done to deserve this unusual torture.

San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) runs after a catch while being defended by Denver Broncos safety Mike Adams (20) during a game at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates 85 runs after a catch while being defended by Denver Broncos safety Mike Adams 20 during a game at Qualcomm Stadium Christopher HanewinckelUS PRESSWIRE

Maybe that was just me.

Last week was ugly. Hideous, in fact. But consider the conditions before you cast out Gates from your starting lineup: Freezing rain fell all day in Cleveland, the Chargers’ offense was once again out of sync thanks to costly turnovers, and both offenses turned to an ultra-conservative approach in the second half.

Gates is still the team’s most targeted pass catcher, and Philip River’s favorite (only) red zone option. Gates will lay his share of eggs, but tonight against a cushy Chiefs’ secondary — and safety Eric Berry, who has proved a liability in tight end coverage — I expect Gates to have a fine recovery from his Week 8 debacle.

Kansas City is allowing six fantasy points per game to tight ends — not exactly encouraging for Gates owners, I know. But I think the lopsided nature of several Chiefs’ games have suppressed tight end and wide receiver output a bit.

Chargers D/ST – San Diego’s defense, in its two primetime games, has looked highly shreddable. They were set aflame by Drew Brees and Peyton Manning in those national contests, giving up huge chunks of yardage and getting bulldozed at the line of scrimmage.

Well, here’s thing: Matt Cassel, some would say, is a downgrade from Brees and Manning.

Kansas City has committed 25 turnovers this year, an astounding number, considering the usually conservative approach taken by offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, an unmitigated disaster of a game planner and someone who will surely lose his job by season’s end, if not sooner.

The Chargers’ defense racked up 20 fantasy points in their first meeting with the Chiefs in Week 4, when they recovered three fumbles and picked off Cassel thrice. Yes, thrice. There’s no reason anyone should expect the Chiefs to do any better in this game, playing on a short week on the road against an absolutely desperate San Diego team. If you own the Chargers’ defense, you’re playing them tonight.

The Chiefs are giving up a league-high 12.4 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses this season.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs – We’ve seen this movie before: Jamaal Chuck, one of the league’s most talented pure runners, is hardly part of the Chiefs’ game plan, local and national media eviscerate the floundering KC coaching staff, and Charles gets a gargantuan workload the following week.

In Week 2, against a horrid Buffalo run defense, Charles tallied a grand total of six carries for three yards. The next week, against the Saints, Charles went nuclear, posting 288 yards and a touchdown. The best news for Charles owners was his 39 touches in that game.

No one should expect Charles to approach 40 touches tonight, but with the heat on Daboll and head coach Romeo Crennel — who could be gone by Thanksgiving — I think we can bank on upwards of 20 touches for the Chiefs’ best player.

Don’t get gun-shy here. Keep Charles in your lineup against the Chargers, who have given up more than 115 rushing yards in three of their past four games.

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C.D. Carter Fantasy Football Analyst
C.D. Carter is a reporter, author of zombie stories, writer for The Fake Football and XN Sports. Fantasy Sports Writers Association member. His work  has been featured in the New York Times.