The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers square off in the 2011 season premiere of Thursday Night Football in a huge divisional matchup in San Diego. The two teams are tied for first with the Kansas City Chiefs.
For the San Diego Chargers in the game and in fantasy football, the big question will be what to make of their running back situation. Ryan Mathews missed last week's game with a groin injury and Mike Tolbert filled in with 83 rushing yards, 59 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Now they face a Raiders defense that was thrashed by Willis McGahee in week nine. Chris Mortensen is reporting the Chargers hope is to get Ryan Mathews 15-20 touches on Thursday night. If Mathews gets those touches, it lowers the value of Tolbert to third down and goal line back. That is still a valuable role, but it doesn't guarantee anything resembling the work he had last week.
In spite of all this, Tolbert is a solid fantasy play this week. The Raiders have had considerable struggles against the run this season. If you have Tolbert AND Mathews, I actually think Tolbert ends up with better numbers tonight. It's not a pretty situation because of the questionable use of the two backs. But I think given that Mathews is not quite 100% yet, Tolbert will prove to be the better play on this night.
For more on the Chargers, check out Bolts from the Blue. For Thursday Night Football featuring the Raiders and Chargers, check out our TNF game stream. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams. Follow @sbnationfantasy on Twitter.