Chargers vs. Raiders prediction: Target this player prop for ‘Thursday Night Football’
Backup quarterbacks have taken over the NFL with ample injuries and lackluster play from starters.
Thursday Night Football in Week 15 is no different as Easton Stick and the Los Angeles Chargers head to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders.
The Raiders enter fresh off a 3-0 loss to the Vikings, while the Chargers lost to the Broncos, 24-7, in a game in which Justin Herbert fractured the index finger on his throwing hand and is now out for the season.
Aidan OConnell reportedly will start for the Raiders after rumors earlier this week that he could be benched for Jimmy Garoppolo or Brian Hoyer.
Despite just seven total points coming from these two teams in Week 14, Im expecting a bit more offense to be on display Thursday night.
One player in particular has a great matchup regardless of who starts at quarterback is Raiders rookie tight end Michael Mayer.
His receiving yards prop sits at 19.5 at FanDuel.
Mayer has cemented himself as TE1 in Vegas.
He nearly doubles backup Austin Hooper in playing time and has eclipsed 80 percent of snaps each of the last six games.
Raiders rookie tight end Michael Mayer. Getty ImagesWhile his numbers arent eye-popping, he has 20-plus receiving yards in two of his last three games.
This number is way too low for a variety of reasons.
For starters, running back Josh Jacobs hasnt practiced this week because of a leg injury and is questionable to play.
The Raiders normally look to feed the power back 20-plus times per game, but his injury leaves a depleted backfield of Zamir White and Ameer Abdullah.
In turn, that means more drop-backs for whoever starts at quarterback against a Chargers defense that ranks 25th in DVOA against the pass.
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The key here is the Chargers defensive scheme too.
They run zone coverage nearly 80 percent of the time.
Opponents have been able to funnel the football to both running backs and tight ends.
Abdullah will likely have some value in the receiving game as well running backs average 6.5 receptions and 50 receiving yards per game against L.A. but lets focus on Mayer.
Mayer has a 1.22 yards-per-route-run rate against zone coverage and is targeted nearly 20 percent more often than against man coverage.
And like running backs, tight ends have been able to find openings in the middle of this Chargers defense with ease.
Michael Mayer catches a pass against the Dolphins in November. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters ConThrough 14 games, tight ends are averaging 5.7 receptions and 60 yards per game against the Chargers.
That is the sixth-highest yardage output among all defenses.
Mayer likely needs two receptions to finish over this number, but he is no stranger to big gains.
He has had gains of 14-plus yards in six of Vegas last nine games.
Stream the game live on Thursday night on Amazon Prime Video
Last week against the Vikings, he had just 14 yards on two targets but the game is an outlier considering the goose egg in the points column for Las Vegas.
In the three games prior, Mayer had four-plus targets, which he should command once again versus this weak Chargers defense.
Our early Action Lab projections have Mayer at 2.3 receptions and 25 receiving yards on Thursday night.
Even then, I think that might be too low of a number.
Like last weeks Thursday Night Football game, this could be an ugly affair.
Nobody wants a part of the Over here seeing the offenses sputter last week, but I actually think we could sneakily see some offense against two below-average defenses.
Back Mayer to help steer the ship in the middle of the field, breaking down the Chargers defense and going for 20-plus yards.
The Pick: Michael Mayer Over 19.5 receiving yards (-110, FanDuel)
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