The Buffalo Bills meet the Los Angeles Chargers this weekend, as the Bills look to claim a victory in their home opener to salvage a 1-1 start to the season. These teams met last November in what was an ugly game reminiscent of Buffalo’s 47-3 loss last weekend to the Baltimore Ravens: The Chargers harassed quarterback Nathan Peterman all afternoon, forcing the rookie to throw five first-half interceptions in an eventual 54-24 Chargers victory.
This weekend, the Bills once again turn to a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start, but this time it’s first-round draft choice Josh Allen. Perhaps there’s a little foreshadowing as we present three Chargers to start in your fantasy lineups this weekend.
Will the Chargers’ defense have the same kind of day against the Bills this year that it did last year? The team’s best pass rusher, Joey Bosa, is expected to miss this week’s game, and Allen possesses far more natural talent than Peterman. However, it’s still a game in which a raw rookie quarterback starts against a solid defense. Los Angeles was absolutely demolished by the Kansas City Chiefs last week, with Patrick Mahomes II making his second career start look easy. Mahomes II threw for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns; he hooked up with wide receiver Tyreek Hill seven times for 169 yards and two scores. The Bills don’t have a playmaker even close to Hill’s ability level on their roster, so even if Allen is more accurate than Mahomes II was on the day (he was 15-of-27), it’s hard to imagine one of Buffalo’s receivers dominating the way Hill did. I’m hopeful that this play will be wrong, but the percentages skew towards a good day for the Chargers’ stop unit.
QB Philip Rivers
After watching Joe Flacco beat Buffalo like a drum, completing 25-of-34 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns, Rivers must be salivating over this week’s matchup. The veteran threw for 424 yards last week against the Chiefs, adding three touchdowns and an interception to his ledger. Eight different Chargers’ receivers had receptions last week, and half of those receivers had at least five grabs on the day. Rivers does an excellent job identifying defensive weaknesses, spreading the ball around, and making decisions quickly. He could be in line for a big day.
WR Keenan Allen
When healthy, Allen is among the league’s top receivers, and for the better part of the last calendar year, he has been exactly that—healthy. Allen caught eight passes last week, second only to running back Melvin Gordon, and he led the Chargers with 108 yards receiving. He also added a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Allen had his best game of 2017 against the Bills, catching 12 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. While Tre’Davious White should be asked to shadow him, if the Chargers can find ways to isolate Allen on Phillip Gaines or Vontae Davis, Allen may have another tremendous game on Sunday.