Fantasy Football Week 10: Thursday Night Football Must-Starts

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IINovember 10, 2011

Fantasy Football Week 10: Thursday Night Football Must-Starts

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    Look here people! Christmas has come early!

    The NFL schedule kicks off its Thursday Night showcase with an age-old AFC West showdown between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders.

    The Raiders are reeling after losing running back Darren McFadden with a foot injury, while the Chargers are struggling to find any sort of consistency in their offense. 

    While most people will forget to set their lineups because of the schedule change, the die-hard fans—like the ones reading this article—are looking for any edge they can get.

    Here is a list of players you'd be wise to start on your squad this week.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers

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    Philip Rivers has fallen short of the MVP expectation we set for him in the preseason but that in no way means you should be benching him on your fantasy roster.

    Yes, he leads the NFL in interceptions with 14, but he is also throwing for 309 yards per game.

    The Raiders are giving up nearly 250 yards per game through the air and while you might be thinking about getting cute and benching the turnover-happy Rivers, the thought really shouldn't even be crossing your mind.

Michael Bush, RB, Raiders

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    As I alluded to earlier, the Raiders as a whole have struggled since losing Darren McFadden and Jason Campbell, but whatever they lost in the ground game with McFadden, Michael Bush has put in a valiant effort to make up for.

    I understand that he's not used to the full-time workload and a quick turnaround to a Thursday night start may not an ideal circumstance, but he's rushed for 96 and 99 yards in his last two games. He was under 20 carries in both games.

    Against a defense that's surrendering 120 yards a contest on the ground, I think Bush could be a nice play here and should be in your starting lineup if you have him.

Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert, RBs, Chargers

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    He's healthy and is the clear starter in the Chargers backfield. There should be no question that he'll get the majority of the carries. He's rested and should produce.


    Tolbert is a tougher sell, but I still like him in this game. I have a strong feeling that he will find the end zone at least once this game and is likely to come in to spell Mathews when needed.

    Both guys are going to be valuable plays tonight. I think Mathews as a second running back and Tolbert as a flex or second running back if your desperate.

Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers

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    He's the best tight end in the game. I think that's all I need to tell you but for good time's sake, I'll throw out a quick stat.

    Since returning from foot injury Gates has caught 17 balls for 223 yards and two touchdowns. If that doesn't prove that he's back then I'm not sure what does.

    Philip Rivers trusts Gates more than any other option in this offense. Don't get cute here.

Jacoby Ford, WR, Raiders

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    Jacoby is one of my sleeper picks to have a big game this week.

    In Week 9, Ford nearly doubled his season production when he snagged five receptions for 105 yards and a score with new quarterback Carson Palmer.

    Ford has been a disappointment this year mainly because of a hamstring injury, but he looks rejuvenated and certainly made a case against the Broncos.

    I like Carson Palmer to keep feeding the hot hand here and expect Ford to find the end zone again against the Raiders.

    Deep-league start at your third wide receiver spot or maybe even a flex if you have no better option.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers

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    If it seems like I'm adding the entire San Diego offense on this list, it's because I pretty much am.

    Despite the team's overall struggles, the offense is always potent.

    Jackson had a huge game against the Packers secondary in Week 9 where he had seven catches for 141 yards and three touchdowns.

    This one, like Gates and Rivers, is an obvious choice. He'll produce similarly against an equally weak Raiders secondary.

Sebastian Janikowski and Nick Novak, K, Both Teams

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    I contemplated giving Sebastian Janikowski and Nick Novak their own slides but then I realized that they're kickers, and, well, this is fantasy football.

    Both guys are top-10 kickers this week, so I'm not going to take long to tell you that if you have them, you're set for a few points from your kicker this week.