The Chiefs and Chargers get Week 9 started on Thursday Night Football. It is not the prettiest of matchups, but it is football. This also means you need to start getting your fantasy football lineups set. We've got sit/start advice for Thursday Night Football to get your fantasy team off to a strong start.
Matt Cassel, quarterback - It could be worse. It could be Brady Quinn under center. However, Cassel won't make much of a difference in your lineup. His last game against San Diego in Week 4 produced two touchdowns and three picks. The Chargers defenses is by no means stellar against opposing passers, but you should know by now to stay away from Cassel.
Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis, running back - Has anyone figured out the backfield situation in Kansas City? Charles went from three impressive fantasy weeks in a row to somehow managing just four yards on five carries in Week 8. Romeo Crennel said Hillis was running effectively so he might have cut into Charles' workload, but Hillis saw nearly a third of the snaps Charles did against the Raiders. Considering Charles scored twice in Week 4 against San Diego, we can probably forget about last week's massive disappointment. Start Charles like you always do. Hillis saw 13 total snaps in his first game back since Week 3. The Chiefs are easing him back into action. The Chargers, even after allowing Trent Richardson to go off, only give up an average of 80 rush yards per game. Hold off on Hillis.
Dwayne Bowe, wide receiver - Cassel back at quarterback bodes well for Bowe. The two connected for seven catches, 108 yards and a touchdown earlier this year against the Chargers. If Crennel and his crew want to avoid further embarrassment, they'll actively look to get Bowe more involved. Feel confident about his matchup in Week 9 against a secondary that allows 246.6 passing yards per game.
Tony Moeaki, tight end - Moeaki finished with a season-high four receptions for 57 yards this past Sunday. Unfortunately until we start to see more consistency, he can't be relied on as a viable fantasy option. The Chargers have given up just one touchdown to an opposing tight end all year. Don't expect Moeaki to suddenly break out in Week 9. Find another option at tight end.
Chiefs defense/special teams - Kansas City gave up 37 points to San Diego in Week 4. Aside from a sporadic nine points yielded to Baltimore in Week 5, this group hasn't been impressive. You shouldn't be starting a defense that gives up nearly 30 points per game. Even with the Chargers recent offensive struggles, you should be looking for just about any other option.
Philip Rivers, quarterback - Some respected names around the league continue to suggest Rivers has an issue with his throwing arm. Whatever the case, he isn't looking like a fantasy stud these days. The Chiefs have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in six of seven games this season, and Rivers did manage two scores against them in Week 4. He's a risky play, though, with the way he's throwing the ball right now. The ground game is likely to take over again, so the Chargers might not even rely on Rivers much. You could do worse at quarterback, but you might want to find a better option unless you're in a deeper league.
Ryan Mathews, running back - Another fumble in Week 8 sank fantasy owners' hearts for a brief moment. Luckily, Norv Turner actually decided to stick with Mathews after his latest mistake, later stating the Chargers need him to be successful. Maybe the rain gave him some leeway this time. Assuming Mathews remains in control of the workload, he should be in for an impressive day running against the Chiefs. He tallied up 61 yards on 14 carries back in Week 4 after Jackie Battle got the start. This time we can expect more production. Ronnie Brown is eating into his receiving production, but that shouldn't deter you at all from starting Mathews.
Malcom Floyd and Robert Meachem, wide receiver - The Chiefs have allowed five touchdowns to opposing receivers in their last two games. If you're going to start anyone here, it needs to be Floyd. His worst performance of the season came against Kansas City, but he sees plenty of targets and is the only one making much of an impact in the passing game. Meachem didn't catch a single pass last week in Cleveland. There's no reason he should be in any lineup right now. Floyd is a decent play based on recent performances from the Chiefs secondary.
Antonio Gates, tight end - We're not seeing the same Gates these days. Defenses are locking down on him, and he isn't finding ways to get open like in past years. Gates blew up in Week 6, but that's the only impressive outing we've seen. If you can find another option at tight end, it might be a good idea at this point. Until Gates shows more consistency, he's hard to trust.
Chargers defense/special teams - San Diego is tied for ninth in fewest points allowed per game. Kansas City is tied for 28th in points scored each week. Which side wins here? The Chargers gave up 20 points to the Chiefs in Week 4, but picked off three passes and recovered three fumbles. With the Chiefs offense struggling right now, you should like the matchup here. Give the Chargers D/ST a start, banking on another solid haul of takeaways.