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With the Packers lining up against the Chargers on Sunday at 3:25 PM Central, you'll need to have your lineups set pretty well in advance. Thankfully, there should be few, if any, game-time injury decisions in this week's game that should affect your lineup decisions.
Instead, let's focus on the players themselves this week and on the matchup of the Packers' defensive front with the Chargers' offensive line. Starting left tackle King Dunlap and starting center Chris Watt are both out. Starting guards D.J. Fluker and Orlando Franklin are both Questionable with ankle injuries. That could end up meaning the Chargers put just one starter, Joe Barksdale, on the line against a Packers' pass rush that has racked up 16 sacks over the past three games.
Keep that in mind when looking at any of San Diego's players in your lineup this week. Here's how we see this game breaking down from a fantasy perspective.
Start with confidence
Sure, Rodgers didn't appear to have a typical Rodgers-like game, with the two picks and a fumble, but he still racked up high-teens fantasy points, thanks in large part to the two big catch-and-runs by his wideouts over the middle. My bet is that the Packers' running game gets back on track this week, which would lead to more play-action opportunities for Rodgers and a bigger statistical day.
This week in practice, Lacy removed the tape from his injured ankle and said that his mobility has improved. Not only that, but the Chargers are allowing a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry to opposing rushers. If the game plan doesn't call for a lot of Lacy early and often, I'll be shocked (and frankly, disappointed).
The Chargers' best corner is Jason Verrett, and he's likely to match up with Randall Cobb for much of the game. Jones only got three targets on Sunday against the Rams, but he broke one for his big 65-yard touchdown and should be matched up with Brandon Flowers or Patrick Robinson for much of this week's game. Expect his target volume to increase a bit, and we see around five catches for 60-75 yards and another potential touchdown as his realistic line this week.
Returning from a four-game suspension, Gates showed no signs of rust as he caught 9 of 11 targets for 92 yards and two scores on Monday night. The Packers can have difficulty with big, physical tight ends, too, as both Martellus Bennett and Travis Kelce had nice games against this defense earlier this year.
The past two games have been great for owners of this unit, last week especially. The four turnovers and pick-six were huge, and the sack numbers have been great over the last three games too. With Chargers linemen dropping like flies, Capers will undoubtedly bring the pressure on Phillip Rivers once again and try to force some fumbles or bad throws that end up as turnovers.
Start in season-long leagues if you must
Cobb was likely one of your first three picks, and the possibility of an 8-reception, 125-yard, two-score game is always out there, so you can't realistically bench him. However, that shoulder injury continues to bother him and Verrett is becoming one of the better corners in the league. Here's hoping that the Rams didn't just give the rest of the NFL the playbook to use on Cobb when they shut him down last week, but I'd start him only if you have no other options with a similar ceiling, as his floor is pretty low this week.
Allen has been very hit or miss early on. In standard scoring, he has had clunker performances of minus-one and 5 points, but also has games of 11, 16, and 25. I'd expect something middle of the road, maybe around 60 yards or so, as the Packers' secondary has done very well defending opposing wideouts this year (though they admittedly haven't lined up against anyone of Allen's caliber yet).
The Packers' run defenders draw the unlucky assignment of seeing both of this year's first-round running backs in back-to-back weeks, but we expect them to have more success against Gordon than they did against Todd Gurley a week ago. For one thing, Gordon has been ceding some carries with Danny Woodhead, especially in the red zone, and for two, he hadn't been a consistent contributor in the passing game until Monday. We're betting that the Packers shut him down, especially with the Chargers' poor offensive line. However, he's another guy that you may have to start due to bye week issues or the lack of many starting-caliber running backs in the league right now.
Play the upside
His first truly big play this year came on the Packers' first drive on Sunday, as the rookie got open over the middle and scampered over the middle for a 31-yard score, his second in three weeks. That, plus the deep ball he flat-out dropped on the first play against San Francisco, show that the coaches and Aaron Rodgers are committed to getting him the ball. He's a sneaky flex play this week who could benefit from extra attention given to Cobb.
Week five saw the tight end get his highest target volume ever - eight - and he caught a career-high six passes. He won't be a huge yardage guy, but at tight end you're usually gambling on a touchdown anyway, and the Chargers have allowed three tight end scores in their five games, while Rodgers has caught one each in weeks 2 and 4. I'm betting he keeps up the even-week trend in week 6.
See "Packers Defense." Rivers will likely be running for his life much of the game, and that's not something that he particularly excels at. He should throw a touchdown or two, but he's likely to be charged with a couple of turnovers as well based on the way the Packers are flowing to the quarterback recently.
He's been progressing better this week, but he's still no lock to play and even if he does, his snap count will probably be low. Look elsewhere this week for receiver help.