Chiefs vs Chargers: Predicting Top Fantasy Studs from Thursday Night's Matchup

Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 1, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes around linebacker Rolando McClain #55 of the Oakland Raiders during the third quarter on October 28, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  Oakland defeated Kansas City 26-16.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

There's nothing like getting out to an early lead in fantasy football. 

Sure, you may end up sweating out a lead at the end of the week when all of your players have played already, but if you jump out to a lead on Thursday Night Football, you get two whole days to brag to your friend about how much better your team looks. 

So there's that.

While the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers don't exactly present the most intriguing matchup in the world, there will be plenty of fantasy performances to shoot you out to an early advantage. That is, if you happen to be lucky enough to own these guys.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers

I know, I know. 

Philip "I make six turnovers one game and lead my team to six points the next" Rivers is about as dependable as a stick right now, but consider the matchup.

The Chiefs are only giving up 222 passing yards per game, which is good enough for 11th best in the NFL, but they are second-worst in yards per attempt allowed (8.7) and ninth-worst in interceptions (five). 

As long as the Chargers air it out like they usually do, Rivers should be able to rack up a good amount of yards while limiting his turnovers. It won't be a performance that has him partying like it's 2008, 2009 or 2010, but it will be serviceable in every fantasy league. 

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

I know, I know. 

Jamaal "my offensive coordinator and head coach hate me" Charles is about as dependable as a stick right now, but—wait a minute. This feels familiar. 

Oh, well. 

Anyways, despite Charles' goose egg in standard fantasy leagues last week, he's undoubtedly in for a big day.

For one, the last time Charles recorded less than 10 rushing yards (yes, it's now somehow happened twice this season), he got 33 carries for 233 yards the next week. It would appear that someone slapped some sense into Brian Daboll, and it wouldn't be surprising if someone did it again.

San Diego has been very stout against the run this year, but Charles has the type of slippery elusiveness that makes him effective against any defense.

You know, as long as he actually touches the ball. 

Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs

Just kidding.

Sleeper: Dexter McCluster, WR, Chiefs

The wide receiver/running back/kick returner/postman/business man/everything else is incredibly dangerous when he's in space, and if the Chiefs want to inject some explosiveness into this offense, they'll get the ball in both Charles and McCluster's hands as much as possible. 

Daboll kind of struck out on the Charles front last week, but he's starting to get the memo with McCluster.

Over the past two weeks, McCluster has seen 17 targets and pulled them in for 12 catches, 93 yards and a touchdown. He's also taken two carries for 15 yards. 

McCluster is a prime sleeper candidate in PPR leagues (he's owned in just seven percent of ESPN leagues), and his constant ability to take it to the house makes him a high-risk-high-reward option in all leagues.