All signs are pointing to Buffalo Bills receiver David Nelson being a quality start against the host San Diego Chargers in Week 14.
Buffalo RB Fred Jackson’s gone. Receiver Donald Jones is gone. Tight end Scott Chandler is out this week. Even kicker Rian Lindell was placed on IR. And the Bills’ defense is bad.
Now Nelson gets the Chargers in a game that expects to see plenty of points and Nelson is almost last-man standing opposite No. 1 WR Steve Johnson.
The Chargers should have their way offensively with a Bills team that’s lost five straight and defensively, San Diego is ranked 10th worst the last five weeks against fantasy receivers — and it hasn’t seen a solid passing game since Week 11.
Nelson has had eight targets each of the last two weeks, second to Johnson’s 23. Where Nelson can pay off is in the red zone. He was already a red zone target, as was Chandler, but only Nelson is playing in this one.
Buffalo is the seventh-best touchdown-scoring team in the red zone (57.89 percent), while San Diego is 26th in the percentage of red-zone TDs allowed (60.53). And as an aside, Buffalo’s defense is ranked 30th in red-zone TDs allowed (65.91 percent).
Nelson, when the team was at full capacity early on, had fair to moderate success. He opened the season with games of 8.6, 19.3 and 11.4 fantasy points before falling off with a 2.8. He started his rise again in Week 5 with 7.1 followed by 8.2, 6.7 12.6 and 11.1. But the up and down has been too much to deal with — 1.5 in Week 11, 13.2 in Week 12 and 5.9 last week.
The Chargers had Jacksonville rookie Blaine Gabbert and Denver’s running QB Tim Tebow to deal with the last two weeks. Obviously, the passing numbers were low. Prior to that, the Chargers allowed three Chicago receivers to gain at least 62 yards; allowed Oakland’s Denarius Moore to go 5-123-2 in Week 10; allowed three passing TDs to three Green Bay receivers and 105 yards to Jordy Nelson and allowed Kansas City to have two receivers gain at least 62 yards.
Nelson has been inconsistent, but the Bills passing game is still ranked ninth this season in points scored from fantasy receivers and are 13th the last five weeks, which included games against the pass defenses of the Titans, Jets, Dolphins and Cowboys — all but the Cowboys (22nd) are ranked in the top half of the league against fantasy receivers the last five weeks. Remember San Diego is 23rd in that time with Jacksonville and Denver in there.
It might be a reach, but the numbers say Nelson should come through in Week 14.
By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter