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Fantasy football advice, Week 16: Who to start/sit for Chargers vs. Raiders on Thursday night

Which out-of-the-race team can wind its season down on a hot stretch?

The San Diego Chargers are 1-5 on the road. The Oakland Raiders are 2-5 at home. Neither team has been good this year, but they've been particularly bad in the situations they'll be in when they face off Thursday evening.

The Chargers placed rookie running back Melvin Gordon on injured reserve earlier this week, ending his season. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson and tight end Ladarius Green are both also on the injury report; Green is expected to play, while Johnson will be more of a game-time decision as he battles a groin injury that has cost him the last two games. For Oakland, wide receiver Amari Cooper has been limited in practice with a foot issue, but that appears to be more maintenance than anything; he'll play Thursday.

The Raiders host the Chargers Thursday, with kickoff scheduled for 8:25 p.m. ET. Let's take a look at the fantasy names to consider:


Start 'em: In nine games played this year, Antonio Gates has five or more fantasy points eight times. That's strong enough at tight end.

Start 'em?: In his last seven games, Philip Rivers has put up 20-plus fantasy points three times, eight or fewer three times and had one 15-point game. The highs are high, the lows are low and it's tough to guess which might come in a given week. ... Danny Woodhead had an absolute monster game in Week 15, but had six fantasy points in the preceding four weeks combined. Don't get too sucked in.

Sit 'em: With Melvin Gordon's disappointing rookie season over, Donald Brown will be Woodhead's running mate in the San Diego backfield, but isn't likely to be a helpful fantasy option. ... San Diego just hasn't had a consistent fantasy wide receiver since Keenan Allen went down. In any given week, Malcom Floyd, Stevie Johnson, Dontrelle Inman or one of the other options might have a decent game, but there's no real way to guess which. ... Divide the season into halves; Josh Lambo kicked for 8.4 fantasy points a game in the first, a number that has fallen to 5.7 in the second. He's not worth a start. ... Still can't recommend the Chargers' defense until it has even one 10-point game.


Start 'em: In a position full of question marks, we can't count on Latavius Murray for a huge game, but he's the lone mouth to feed against a weak run defense, and deserves a start based on that alone. ... Amari Cooper played his way above Michael Crabtree in the rankings based on last week's big game, but both are decent WR2 options.

Start 'em?: Since peaking in the midseason, Derek Carr has averaged 15.2 fantasy points a game in his last six. That's still competent, but hardly the big-time performer he had been early on. ... The Raiders' defense has really improved of late, with 10.5 fantasy points a game in its last four, and draws an inconsistent and occasionally awful San Diego offense.

Sit 'em: Neither Mychal Rivera nor Clive Walford really has enough upside to be in fantasy lineups. ... Sebastian Janikowski has two or fewer fantasy points in three of his last six.


Start in every league: Antonio Gates, Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree
Start if you're desperate: Philip Rivers, Danny Woodhead, Derek Carr, Oakland defense
Bench: Donald Brown, Malcom Floyd, Stevie Johnson, Dontrelle Inman, Josh Lambo, San Diego defense, Mychal Rivera, Clive Walford, Sebastian Janikowski

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SB Nation presents: NFL Week 16 fantasy start/sit advice