Matchup Analysis: Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Chargers 25, Bills 18

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Los Angeles Chargers Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Chargers Offense28.0 (+4.1) (8)123 (+9) (11)418 (+180) (2)
Bills Defense47.0 (+23.1) (30)117 (+3) (19)252 (+14) (21)

Buffalo Bills Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Bills Offense3.0 (-20.9) (32)83 (-30) (25)70 (-167) (32)
Chargers Defense38.0 (+14.1) (28)106 (-7) (13)256 (+18) (22)

Chargers Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Bills defense.

Melvin Gordon didn’t see too much daylight in Week 1, finishing with 64 yards on 15 attempts. But that actually outdid his career per-carry average of 3.8. It’s early, of course, but perhaps the Chargers’ commitment to upgrading their run game is bearing fruit. Over the past two years they’ve added several key run-blockers: center Mike Pouncey, left tackle Russell Okung, right guard Forrest Lamp, and inline tight end Virgil Green. The team would love to see Gordon’s ground game stabilize quickly, providing a ball-control element in addition to its explosiveness. Austin Ekeler remains a true spark plug behind him as he’s occasionally given whole possessions to sub for Gordon. Through 12 NFL games in which he’s had an offensive role, Ekeler has averaged 5.6 yards per carry, consistently creating big, chain-moving gains.

Surprisingly, the Bills’ only ray of Week 1 light was their much-maligned run defense. Over the final 10 games of last season, 11 different runners managed 74 yards or more against them, including even a handful of teammate pairs. But last Sunday, the Bills’ shaky defensive front held up well against the Ravens’ elite line. Alex Collins managed just 13 yards on 7 carries, while the rest of the Baltimore backfield totaled 61 in garbage time. It’s yet to be seen whether the unit has actually improved much, but new tackle Star Lotulelei looked like a true missing-piece type in Week 1. He’s adept at tying up blockers, and rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds has the talent to capitalize.

Chargers Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Bills defense.

Philip Rivers posted wild numbers Sunday, but that shouldn’t be taken at full face value. He ended with 424 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception, producing a pair of 100-yard receivers in the process. But the Chargers trailed early and often, and Rivers, the career-long king of garbage-time stats, padded his numbers for most of the final two quarters. Still, it was a very encouraging performance, and one that reminded us just how stacked with playmakers Rivers is. Keenan Allen remains a terror in the slot, while second-year wideout Mike Williams flashed the ball-hungry, high-pointing ability he showed at Clemson. Having speedy Melvin Gordon to hit out of the backfield makes for a great checkdown and keeps Rivers’ fantasy floor nice and high. Rivers ended Week 1 with 424 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception, and it’s good to know he can excel in a variety of game plans. He probably won’t surpass last week’s marks, but any worries about his age or a diminished desire to go deep downfield should be squarely in bed.

While the Buffalo run defense overachieved in Week 1, the pass unit took a massive step backward. Dynamic and occasionally dominant throughout 2017, the secondary was roasted Sunday by a rejuvenated Joe Flacco and his new receiving corps. All told, through the 2.5 quarters the game was competitive, Buffalo allowed Flacco to complete 25 of 34 throws for 3 touchdowns. It was curious to see the team refuse to start new signee Vontae Davis at cornerback, and replacement Phillip Gaines’ allowing a 29-yard completion on 2nd-and-26 should’ve been a “wake up” moment. Davis should start soon, and while he’s no longer the dominator he was a few years ago, he should present a clear upgrade against good receivers. This is an aggressive, ball-hawking unit across the board, so as long as some degree of a pass rush shows up, there will be better days. Not every quarterback will pick them apart like Flacco did.

Bills Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Chargers defense.

LeSean McCoy looks to have shelved his legal problems, and he’s still firmly entrenched atop the Bills’ backfield. But he no longer looks like a dynamic runner very often, one capable of overcoming shaky quarterbacking or a porous offensive line. And in Buffalo at the moment, he has both, to extreme degrees. Defenses won’t respect the Buffalo receivers – or their rookie quarterback – nearly enough to leave consistent holes for the 30-year-old McCoy. He’ll spend much of 2018 pacing the backfield and running into crowded gaps meaning he’s no longer a slam-dunk fantasy starter. In Week 1, the only notable runs the Bills managed were a few scrambles by quarterback Josh Allen. This is the proverbial “situation to avoid,” indefinitely.

The Chargers looked strong in run defense in Week 1 but beware a mirage. Just last year, this was the worst run-stopping unit in football, giving up a league-high 4.9 yards per rush. They closed the season allowing an average of 111 yards to their last 5 opponents’ lead backs. There are problems on both the first and second levels: the line is packed with backup-level journeymen, especially with Joey Bosa out, and the linebackers are average at best. Denzel Perryman is a solid plugger but not explosive in pursuit, while weakside man Jatavis Brown has been roundly exposed as a weak spot. Downfield tackling duties fall too often on the safeties, so opposing backs who can build up steam in the open field can be trouble. LeSean McCoy is no longer an eruptive force like that, but it’s worth noting he notched

Bills Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Chargers defense.

At least there’s nowhere to go but up. In Week 1, the Bills showed why most of the world considers theirs the shallowest and least threatening in all of football. Second-year man Nathan Peterman flamed out immediately as the starter, somehow managing to create just 24 yards on 18 attempts. (He actually threw more interceptions than yards per attempt, a truly bizarre feat.) He’s almost certainly out, replaced by rookie Josh Allen. There’s promise with Allen – he’s a cannon-armed guy with a downfield mentality and underrated footwork and mechanics. But he’s also exceptionally raw in his transition from Wyoming even with a passable receiving corps, he’d likely struggle with growing pains off the bat. And Allen doesn’t have that, nor anything close, in Buffalo. Default No. 1 wideout Kelvin Benjamin already looks gassed and washed-up, catching just one of his seven targets Sunday. Names like Jeremy Kerley, Zay Jones, and Andre Holmes dot the rest of the landscape, making for what has to be the least dynamic supporting cast in the league. There’s always hope that a brash, strong-armed youngster like Allen can jump-start a passing game with play-action and fearless downfield play that pans out. But there look to be too many obstacles and not nearly enough talent for this passing game to make any kind of noise soon.

It was assumed all preseason that, even with cornerback Jason Verrett out, the Chargers’ collection of talented secondary pieces would stay elite. That may bear out, but it didn’t in Week 1, as Patrick Mahomes carved them up for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns. It’s too early to react much, though: Casey Heyward remains a shutdown force on the outside, and youngsters Derwin James and Desmond King showcased their playmaking abilities against the Chargers. In fact, Hill was the only Chief to sustain any real success – no other wideout or tight end topped 21 yards. And it can’t be forgotten that the performance came with Joey Bosa stuck to the Chargers sideline. When Bosa is on the field, he’s a tenacious, talented pass-rush threat that hurries and disrupts throws. But Bosa isn’t ready to suit up, so opponents are able to tee off downfield with more time and confidence. Whether the Bills can operate on that NFL-replacement level, though, is wholly up for debate. This looks like a great “breather week” as the Chargers continue to get healthy.

Bills vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+9.2)27 (+9.2)28 (+9.4)28 (+8.5)
1Joe Flacco5425342363023024.124.121.721.7

Philip Rivers (FanDuel: $7400, DraftKings: $6700)

1vs KC8234514243100032.
2PROJ-Dodds25382901.9112021.321.321.3 (H=54)21.3 (H=59)
2PROJ-Tremblay23382771.81000202020.0 (H=48)20.0 (H=53)
2PROJ-Bloom25342732.11000212121.0 (H=52)21.0 (H=58)

Bills vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+7.8)26T (+8.2)26 (+6.3)25 (+6.7)
1Kenneth Dixon2213441000010.410.410.410.4
1Javorius Allen304171651509.214.211.714.2

Melvin Gordon (FanDuel: $8200, DraftKings: $7400)

1vs KC6215640139102016.625.623.130.6
2PROJ-Dodds18740.55350. (H=35)20.1 (H=48)
2PROJ-Tremblay18740.56500.317.223.220.2 (H=44)23.2 (H=62)
2PROJ-Bloom17700.55410.215.320.317.8 (H=35)20.3 (H=49)

Austin Ekeler (FanDuel: $5600, DraftKings: $4400)

1vs KC2253905587118.623.621.123.6
2PROJ-Dodds6310.22200. (H=12)8.9 (H=20)
2PROJ-Tremblay6270.22210. (H=11)8.6 (H=18)
2PROJ-Bloom5260.13280. (H=15)10.2 (H=25)

Bills vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+9.4)23 (+8.3)23 (+8.3)23 (+6.3)
1Willie Snead426449100010.914.912.914.9
1John Brown484344111010.513.512.013.5

Keenan Allen (FanDuel: $8000, DraftKings: $7800)

1vs KC72118108100016.824.820.827.8
2PROJ-Dodds6750.500010.516.513.5 (H=22)16.5 (H=32)
2PROJ-Tremblay5740.40009.814.812.3 (H=19)14.8 (H=27)
2PROJ-Bloom6730.500010.316.313.3 (H=22)16.3 (H=32)

Mike Williams (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $3700)

1vs KC44658100008.113.110.613.1
2PROJ-Dodds3390.30005.78.77.2 (H=11)8.7 (H=22)
2PROJ-Tremblay3360.30005.48.46.9 (H=10)8.4 (H=21)
2PROJ-Bloom3410.30005.98.97.4 (H=11)8.9 (H=23)

Tyrell Williams (FanDuel: $5800, DraftKings: $4400)

1vs KC6252810006.
2PROJ-Dodds2380.2000576.0 (H=7)7.0 (H=13)
2PROJ-Tremblay2360.20004.86.85.8 (H=7)6.8 (H=12)
2PROJ-Bloom3420.40006.69.68.1 (H=12)9.6 (H=22)

Travis Benjamin (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3600)

1vs KC4751101190232.53.0
2PROJ-Dodds2320.21504.96.96.0 (H=9)7.0 (H=16)
2PROJ-Tremblay2320.21705.17.16.2 (H=9)7.2 (H=16)
2PROJ-Bloom1130.10001.92.92.5 (H=2)3.0 (H=3)

Bills vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+4.1)28 (+8.9)28 (+6.6)28 (+8.7)
1Nick Boyle54634004.

Antonio Gates (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $2600)

1vs KC33321601.
2PROJ-Dodds3310. (H=10)7.9 (H=27)
2PROJ-Tremblay1150. (H=2)3.1 (H=5)
2PROJ-Bloom3270. (H=10)8.1 (H=28)

Virgil Green (FanDuel: $4300, DraftKings: $2700)

1vs KC44222102.
2PROJ-Dodds1140.1232.5 (H=2)3.0 (H=4)
2PROJ-Tremblay1120. (H=1)2.8 (H=4)
2PROJ-Bloom1800.81.81.3 (H=0)1.8 (H=2)

Bills vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27T (+3.8)27T (+3.8)27T (+4.1) (+0.0)
1Justin Tucker2255111112.00.0

Caleb Sturgis (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

1vs KC2300667.00.0

Bills vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)20 (+1.3)20 (+1.3)29T (+7.7)29T (+7.7)
1Baltimore Ravens315362000101017.017.0

Los Angeles Chargers (FanDuel: $4400, DraftKings: $3600)

1vs KC38.003621000011-3.0-3.0
2PROJ-Dodds17.703072.51.10.800.5111111.0 (H=28)11.0 (H=35)
2PROJ-Tremblay17.75325210.900.611.111.111.1 (H=29)11.1 (H=35)

Chargers vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)29 (+10.9)29 (+10.9)29 (+11.1)29 (+10.2)
1Patrick Mahomes II56152725640521030.930.928.328.3

Josh Allen (FanDuel: $6100, DraftKings: $4600)

1@ BAL32615740042606.
2PROJ-Dodds20322041.214170.216.916.916.9 (H=43)16.9 (H=58)
2PROJ-Tremblay18312001.117280.217.417.417.4 (H=46)17.4 (H=61)
2PROJ-Bloom17351390.81.56310.112.412.412.4 (H=25)12.4 (H=34)

Chargers vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)15 (-1.2)11 (-4.8)13 (-2.7)12 (-5.3)
1Anthony Sherman17000113619.610.610.110.6
1Kareem Hunt401649010004.

LeSean McCoy (FanDuel: $6800, DraftKings: $5700)

1@ BAL34722031-
2PROJ-Dodds13610.23200.19.912.911.4 (H=19)12.9 (H=29)
2PROJ-Tremblay12510.22170.18.610.69.6 (H=14)10.6 (H=20)
2PROJ-Bloom14520.23160.18.611.610.1 (H=16)11.6 (H=24)

Marcus Murphy (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1@ BAL23631020003.
2PROJ-Dodds5250.11703.84.84.4 (H=5)4.9 (H=10)
2PROJ-Tremblay7310.11804.55.55.1 (H=7)5.6 (H=13)
2PROJ-Bloom4150.11502.63.63.2 (H=3)3.7 (H=6)

Chris Ivory (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $4200)

1@ BAL733000000.
2PROJ-Dodds3140.11602.63.63.1 (H=2)3.6 (H=4)
2PROJ-Tremblay3150.10002.12.12.1 (H=1)2.1 (H=1)
2PROJ-Bloom250.10001.11.11.1 (H=0)1.1 (H=0)

Chargers vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)29 (+16.7)28 (+16.6)30 (+22.1)29 (+23.6)
1Tyreek Hill4087169224029.336.338.845.3
1DeAnthony Thomas721110006.

Kelvin Benjamin (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $4600)

1@ BAL4771100000121.52.0
2PROJ-Dodds4460.30006.410.48.4 (H=14)10.4 (H=25)
2PROJ-Tremblay4520.30007119.0 (H=16)11.0 (H=27)
2PROJ-Bloom3310.20004.37.35.8 (H=7)7.3 (H=13)

Zay Jones (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3800)

1@ BAL60632600002.
2PROJ-Dodds3350.20004.77.76.2 (H=10)7.7 (H=18)
2PROJ-Tremblay3360.20004.87.86.3 (H=10)7.8 (H=18)
2PROJ-Bloom3280.2000475.5 (H=8)7.0 (H=15)

Jeremy Kerley (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3500)

1@ BAL4442700000.
2PROJ-Dodds2220.10002.84.83.8 (H=4)4.8 (H=8)
2PROJ-Tremblay2220.10002.84.83.8 (H=4)4.8 (H=8)
2PROJ-Bloom3230.20003.56.55.0 (H=6)6.5 (H=14)

Robert Foster (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1@ BAL162000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1120.10001.82.82.3 (H=1)2.8 (H=3)
2PROJ-Tremblay1140.1000232.5 (H=2)3.0 (H=4)
2PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Andre Holmes (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3200)

1@ BAL11111400001.
2PROJ-Dodds000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Tremblay1600000.61.61.1 (H=0)1.6 (H=1)
2PROJ-Bloom11100001.12.11.6 (H=1)2.1 (H=2)

Chargers vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2 (-5.6)2 (-8.8)2 (-7.1)2 (-9.0)
1Travis Kelce5661600.

Charles Clay (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3100)

1@ BAL402000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds2240. (H=5)5.6 (H=12)
2PROJ-Tremblay1140.1232.5 (H=2)3.0 (H=4)
2PROJ-Bloom2170. (H=3)4.3 (H=8)

Jason Croom (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2500)

1@ BAL18321801.
2PROJ-Dodds1130. (H=2)2.9 (H=5)
2PROJ-Tremblay2180. (H=4)4.4 (H=10)
2PROJ-Bloom1800.81.81.3 (H=0)1.8 (H=2)

Logan Thomas (FanDuel: $4400, DraftKings: $2500)

1@ BAL18212402.
2PROJ-Dodds1110. (H=1)2.7 (H=4)
2PROJ-Tremblay1120. (H=1)2.8 (H=4)
2PROJ-Bloom000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Chargers vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)17T (+0.8)17T (+0.8)18T (+1.1) (+0.0)
1Harrison Butker1155889.00.0

Steve Hauschka (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

1@ BAL1200333.00.0

Chargers vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6T (-3.7)6T (-3.7)17T (+0.7)17T (+0.7)
1Kansas City Chiefs28541111015510.010.0

Buffalo Bills (FanDuel: $3500, DraftKings: $2100)

1@ BAL47.0036920100440.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds25.103991.910.600.3777.0 (H=16)7.0 (H=27)
2PROJ-Tremblay25.253902.410.600. (H=18)7.5 (H=31)