Man, oh man! What a day to be a Chargers fan!!
That was my reaction to the Chargers vs. Falcons game a few weeks back. And if you had Tyrell Williams in your fantasy football lineup that week – he reaped HUGE dividends! I have him on my team in two leagues and he was well over his projections: 15 points against an 8.64 in my Yahoo league while in my NFL League it was 14 versus an estimated 5.70 low.
Crazy to recall that this huge, raw talent was not invited to the NFL Combine. Guess he was considered too raw as he went undrafted.
That’s okay, because the Chargers picked him up. And while he didn’t see much on-field time until late last year, it’s all good.
Fast forward to 2016.
The 6’4″, 205 pounder made his way up the depth chart after an injury in training camp landed Stevie Johnson on IR. Shortly after that, the Bolts’ number one wide-out Keenan Allen was lost for the season. Where did that put Williams? Squarely in the starting line-up along with slot receiver and off-season signing Travis Benjamin.
During training camp last year, Chargers’ signal caller Philip Rivers made mention of how much Williams reminded him of Malcom Floyd; the way he moved, almost as if gliding his way down the field.
He is becoming adept at using that big body and 4.38 second speed to fly across the middle or along the sidelines. Through 10 games, Williams career stats are 43 catches for 720 yards and four TD scores. The Falcons game saw him mark career-highs in both targets (7 of 10) and receiving yards (140). To date, he is ninth in yards after the catch (YAC) with 317. That breaks down to an average of 7.4 YAC.
Those are all great. There are, however, a couple of things that Williams needs to tweak. One is his sideline awareness.
Early in the second quarter, first and 10 from Atlanta’s 49-yard line, Benjamin threw the ball towards Williams, who caught it and ran. A 22 yard bomb. While the toss took many by surprise, it was an awesome catch…except that it was called back incomplete. A simple nuance – dragging his right toe as he was going out of bounds would have been the difference of another set of downs rather than the challenge that followed. Second and 10 at Atlanta’s 49 yard line rather than first and 10. Sigh. The Bolts kick a field goal to cap that drive.
Williams was kind of quiet in the second half (3/4, 27 yds) as San Diego continued to run the ball with Gordon and began mixing Inman into the offense more. Williams’ last catch of the day converted a 3rd and 10 at the Falcons’ 15 yard line into a Chargers’ 1st and goal at Atlanta’s 5-yard line early in the fourth and Josh Lambo kicked a chip-shot to pull the Bolts’ within three.
The thing with Williams is that he is extremely adept at picking up those yards after the catch, much like Malcom Floyd was prone to do when Rivers was putting the ball up for him to nab. In just his second year, Williams and Rivers have quickly developed a rapport in which when No. 17 fires a bullet in his direction, he is confident that No. 16 is getting his hands on it. The game is not too big for him as he has continued to build on what began last December – opportunity knocking due to Floyd having to leave the Denver game. He hauled in his first NFL touchdown that day in front of Broncos’ corner Aquib Talib.
He hasn’t looked back since.
So what does Williams need to do at this stage of his development? One thing he MUST do is work on his route running. For example, we have all seen how at least a couple of times throughout a game he misses the option route. Those miscues just give Rivers fits. So far there have been 11 times where the chance for better field position has resulted in the ball not being in his hands. Overall better recognition of where the defender is in conjunction to when/where Williams should break or how deep into the route before he does will come with repetition. He needs to get a quicker break off the line of scrimmage also.
When Keenan Allen went down week one, it was Williams’ turn to step up. At that time, Rivers stated to Michael Gehlken (SD-UT) “We need him to catch a bunch of balls this year — a bunch of balls and have some huge days and big gains.”
From the apex of Atlanta to the debacle in Denver, Williams appeared to be hampered a bit in Mile High Stadium. Battling a knee injury had his status questionable all week, so perhaps limited practice time may have affected him in his running and timing ability. A tipped ball off his hands led to a 49-yard interception-TD by Bradley Roby and gave the Broncos the lead late in the second quarter. On the Bolts’ next series, Williams tweaked his knee again going after a pass and was done for the day. Targeted six times, he hauled in a lone catch for four yards.
Though still having a sore knee with minimal practice reps, Williams hauled in six Rivers’ passes for 65 yards and a score this past Sunday against the Titans. This week versus Miami, with fellow wide-out Travis Benjamin inactive with his own knee injury, Williams’ stat line was 5/125 and a TD. It could have been more if not for at least twice where he didn’t even look back to Rivers to recognize that the ball was headed in his direction. Or because he let the defender beat him to the ball and didn’t fight for it, thus causing an interception.
The chemistry between Williams and his signal caller continues to evolve with each rep in practice and on the field. After the Thursday Night game against Denver two weeks ago, Rivers told Tom Krasovic (SD-UT) “Tyrell, as you saw, has the potential to make every play. There’s not a play physically that he can’t make. It’s just a matter of continuing to grow as a receiver – running (optimal) routes.”
They say knowledge is power. Stepping in to fill the shoes of your team’s number one receiver at a moment’s notice shows one’s mettle to teammates and coaches alike.
So far, Tyrell Williams has proven he is up to the challenge. He MUST continue to do so for team to have any kind of chance at winning games.
Right now across the country, there are scores and scores of people working hard at setting their fantasy football lineup. These people are watching highlights, calculating and comparing statistics, reading injury reports and new reports and comparing their bench players to their starters. Many of these people have Chargers on their roster. You may not be impressed by the lengths that some will go to field the best team possible each week, and that’s okay. Impressed or not, I believe that deciding whether or not to start a Charger became extremely difficult thanks to last week’s schizophrenic season opener against the Chiefs.
For the average fantasy player it is not that difficult to make decisions on who should play and who should sit on your bench. Big named players generally start no matter how much they stunk the week before. Guys who had breakout games will normally start to see if one can catch lightning in a bottle. Players who are going up against a team that struggles against a certain position will also get a chance. The problem is that when considering what Chargers to start, one must look at last Sunday’s game as the proverbial tale of two halves.
You see, if the first half of the game, the Chargers looked like world beaters. They ran the ball with authority. They passed the ball down the field with relative ease. They scored at a pace that should have landed them in the 40’s by the final gun. Even the defense stepped up and was shutting down the Chiefs offense. Everything was great in Charger Country! You could not go wrong picking most players to start for your fantasy team. Heck, owners who had the courage to start Melvin Gordon were thinking they were going to be fantasy legends! Then it happened. Star wide receiver Keenan Allen blew out his knee and the Chargers lost their will to live.
Yes, it was shortly after the devastating injury to Allen that his team stopped being productive. Honestly, the second half was the polar opposite of the first. In fact, the loss to Allen seemed to affect everyone, including the coaching staff! It was like a completely different team. Players who dominated in the first half, laid down in the second half, or were effectively benched (see Melvin Gordon). Coaches who were aggressive in the first half were passive in the second. It was as if it were Week 5 of the preseason and the starters only played half of the game. The strange thing was that the replacements were wearing the same numbers as the starters! So how is one supposed to know who to start for their fantasy team? Let’s take a look at some key players and see how last week’s games will impact your decision.
Philip Rivers (QB): I would think that Rivers gets a pass (no pun intended). He put up very good numbers in the first half, with a touchdown and approximately 150 yards in the air. Two things about Rivers’ game that are somewhat disconcerting to fantasy owners are that two of the Chargers touchdowns were on the ground and that the offense completely shut down in the second half. The rushing touchdowns are a concern to fantasy owners because they showed that this perceived commitment to the run, that came to the team with the signing of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, seems to be reality. That means fewer touchdowns for Rivers. He also lost his second favorite target when Allen went down, so the run should have been used even more. The Bolts did try to throw the ball in the second half, but you could see that Rivers had lost his poise and had “happy feet” in the pocket. His accuracy was off as well as he missed a couple of key passes that would have moved the chains, and even more importantly, ran the clock. Now, fantasy owners have to wonder which Rivers they will get? The Rivers who throws the ball all over the field, or the Rivers who hands it off inside the 10-yard line? If you have a stud QB on the bench, you may want to start him until the Chargers figure out how they want to use their best asset.
Melvin Gordon (RB): I was one of the risky fantasy owners who chose to believe that Flash Gordon was back! In the first half, he knocked out around 50 yards and had two touchdowns! The Chargers built a nice lead and it was obvious that Gordon would pound the rock all day and rack up the yards and fantasy points. Then halftime came and apparently the adjustment that the Chargers brain-trust came up with was to sit Gordon on the bench, put Rivers in the shotgun and hand it off to Woodhead. I could not believe what I was seeing, despite having been a long-time Chargers fan. So what are we going to get from Gordon going forward? Will coach McCoy trust him for all four quarters? Hard to start a guy who may vanish at any time.
Danny Woodhead (RB): Always a solid player who can get you rushing yards as well as receiving yards. He is supposed to be the third-down back, but seemed to be the number one guy in the second half. You may want to give him a start, but beware that McCoy and Whisenhunt may learn from the past and actually use Gordon more this week. Tough call.
Antonio Gates (TE): Not a real exciting game for San Diego’s future Hall of Famer. Only targeted four times and he came down with three receptions for 20 yards. Basically a possession receiver who normally gets a shot in the endzone. No touchdowns last week. Maybe they are setting up the Jaguars for a big day for Gates.
Hunter Henry (TE): This kid has great hands and runs well. He appears to be the heir apparent to his mentor, Antonio Gates. In Week 1, he was only targeted two times and had one reception for 20 yards. Hopefully, he will become a larger part of the offense going forward. But again, there is no certainty for when he will break out.
Tyrell Williams (WR): Here is an interesting situation. With Allen out, Williams could become a larger part of the Chargers’ offensive plans. He was targeted five time but only had two receptions. Although his receptions per target numbers are down, he did gain 71 yards! Yes, both of his receptions were big plays that ate up large chunks of the field. The Chargers desperately need a big play option down the field. Will Williams fill the role?
Dontrelle Inman (WR): Another wide receiver who has had some big catches in his young career. He seems to be an obvious pick to become a replacement for Allen. That being said, he only had one catch on three targets for a grand total of six yards. Hardly encouraging. You could take a shot and pick this kid up, but I would sit him on your bench until he proves he can put up some points.
Defense/Special Teams (DEF/ST): Again, if the defense that came out in the first half shows up for four quarters, they will be worth a fantasy start. They held their opponent to three points and completely shut down the run. They even managed to get to the quarterback. Then came the second half where they allowed Alex Smith, a noted game manager, to throw for a total of 330 yards and gave up a respectable 83 on the ground. Running backs catching passes out of the backfield was the Achilles Heal for the Chargers all day. They simply could not stop the backs from getting key first downs through the air. As for special teams, they weren’t that special. The return game was non-existent. Place kicker Josh Lambo had a respectable game, but did miss one huge field goal that could be considered the difference in the game. I’ll cut him some slack though since that field goal was 54 yards. He had the distance, he just left it out to the right. It happens from that distance all the time. But what all this shows is that even the Def/ST can’t be trusted to perform for an entire game.
To be completely honest, and take away all fan loyalty away, there are no Chargers who should be a lock to start for your fantasy football team this week. Philip Rivers is probably your best bet as he routinely scores in the high teens to low twenties. Then again, the Jaguars defense only gave up 199 yards passing to Aaron Rodgers last week. Anything is possible, but unless the Chargers coaching staff decides to stay aggressive for all four quarters, fantasy dream games could turn into fantasy nightmares.
Good luck with your matchups this week. I hope you have a deep bench and didn’t rely on our Bolts to make the difference for you this week!
Please leave your comments below. I will answer all questions and reply to all comments.
It is that time of year again, it’s Fantasy football time! Last year, I ran a 12-team league and the number of people who wanted in was incredible. It was unfortunate, but I had to turn away over 50 people who wanted in on the league.
We are doing it again this year. The only fair way for me to run with this is to do it the same way I did last year. The first people who contact me and are able to paypal the $50.00 buy-in to me, will be included in this elite league. We had a great time last year and I hope the trash talk is even greater this year.
Prior to sending me the money, make sure that I can confirm your place in the league. Despite going into the playoffs in last year’s league in first place, I ended up losing. Some very close friends of mine, Larry and Valerie Karr, won the league.
Here is the breakdown of the winnings:
1st Place: $450.00
2nd Place: $100.00
3rd Place: $50.00
Clearly, this is a fantasy football league that truly believes in rewarding the winner. If you are interested in joining, contact me via these ways: direct message me on Twitter, @BoogaP or private message me on Facebook, Booga Peters. You can also send me an email to email@example.com. I will warn you that my email inbox is inundated each day with 300-500 emails each day. You have a much better chance of reaching me via Twitter or Facebook.
So, let the games begin! And just a reminder, I’ll be in the league so you better bring your A-game.
Good luck and I look forward to taking your money.
While waiting in line for the festivities at this year’s NFL Draft, Dave and I met Brandon Marianne Lee. Brandon is a wealth of NFL knowledge and founder of a pro football website for ladies called Her Fantasy Football. Unique ideas deserve attention so I wanted to talk to Brandon again and follow up on the details of her new endeavor. Here is the interview I had with her. Make sure to visit her website www.herfantasyfootball.com today!
What is Her Fantasy Football?
Her Fantasy Football encourages women to not only play, but to dominate the fantastic game of fantasy football. We’re a weekly podcast filled with practical fantasy information, but with a feminine touch. My sisters and I have played fantasy football for over 6 years, and we would scour the internet for rankings, injury reports, podcasts, research, and everything was so… boy. Not that boys are bad: we love boys! But the websites were very plain or WAY too cluttered. Humor was minimal. Photos were nowhere to be found. All three of us felt there could be a better way to get all of this great information out there and make the whole fantastic game of fantasy football appealing to women. But it’s funny, we have a TON of male fans. And they love the site and the fun vibe of the show. So, even though the initial impulse was to appeal to women, I think it’s great that men are drawn to what we’re doing, as well. It’s been a great experience so far.
Where is the interest in football rooted?
My sisters and I were raised on football Sundays. We knew nothing else. Our dad, Steve Williams, was a Wide Receiver and a Safety for the University of Colorado – Boulder. He has an Orange Bowl ring. He played with Don Hasselbeck, former Tight End for the New England Patriots and father to Matt and Tim Hasselbeck. Don was a senior and my dad was a freshman, but still… pretty cool. My dad blew out his shoulder on the field, so his career never really took flight. Then he had three daughters, so we bonded with Dad while rooting for John Elway every season until he finally came through. But it’s not just our dad, our mother, Catherine Williams, is a fanatic. She’s analytical and tries to remain positive while my dad declares the game over if we have to punt at all in the first quarter. They are quite the fan pairing.
Tell us about your website
First of all, we’re going to have a whole section of our site dedicated to “How to Play Fantasy Football” and “How to Watch Football.” The information will be up in its entirety by Friday, August 16. Our website currently is a vehicle for our podcast. We started off with an idea for a podcast geared towards women with information that both genders can enjoy. We realized we needed a website for that podcast. Then we realized that the website needed content. Then we realized… I think you get the picture. Basically we’re a startup and there’s been a lot more work than we at first anticipated. But really, we’re still figuring out what we want the website to be. Right now, it’s a podcast platform, a rankings dispenser, and a quick catch up on what’s going on around the league.
What is your long-term goal for HFF?
This whole process has been a bit of a whirl wind so we’re still sorting through goals. Right now we want to put up the best fantasy football podcasts on the web. Yeah, I’ll say “best” because that is the goal. We work really hard on our outlines and our research because we want listeners to feel confident about the information they acquire from the show. We want women to feel empowered. There are a ton of female NFL and fantasy football loving ladies out there, and we need to get together and have fun!
Where can we follow you and your staff of sisters on Facebook and Twitter?
Oh, my friend. That’s one this we have covered – social media. You can follow the show on Twitter @herfantsayfb The three of us all have our own Twitter handles because I guess we’re different people… I guess. I’m @BrandonHerFFB and there’s @AshleyHerFFB and @CourtneyHerFFB You can also find us www.facebook.com/HerFantasyFootball and www.instagram.com/herfantasyfb and www.pintrest.com/herfantasyfb www.herfantasyfootball.tumblr.com and www.soundcloud.com/her-fantasy-football
Will you be running fantasy drafts on your website or just giving advice?
This year we’re sticking to the podcast, rankings, advice, and small articles keeping people informed. However, we do want to have Her Fantasy Football leagues next year. We’re hoping to have a nice following by then and help foster a community of tough fantasy football ladies.
Guys love women who know football. Have you or your sisters noticed this in your relationships?
Of course! Ashley tends to date athletic men. Once time she dated a guy who HATED football, and that’s when she realized it was a deal breaker. It’s about how you spend your time. Our family spends our time, our bonding time, interacting with sports. However, Courtney and I both married guys that weren’t that into sports when we met them, and now they are insane. Borderline committable. We introduced them to fantasy football and they love it. Mostly I think our husbands enjoy being the object of envy. So many guys come up to them and tell them they are so lucky. And sure, that’s nice to hear, but I think men underestimate women. Part of what we’re trying to do is to broaden the appeal of fantasy football and football in general.
Your website features power rankings, player rankings, columns and great stories among other useful information. When will podcasts become a regular feature?
Our “premiere” was officially August 1, but we’re having a tough time getting approved by iTunes. We’ve waited on the email to friends and family until we could give them an iTunes link so they could subscribe to the show, but we’re in some sort of iTunes purgatory. We haven’t heard anything, yes or no, so we just have to wait. I called Apple and talked with three different people and they said there is no “person” who runs the podcasts. It’s all automated. Terrible. And shocking, really. But our show will be up on our website by 10am EDT every Thursday from now until the end of the season!
How can fans provide topics for you to cover?
Great question. You can always contact us on Facebook or Twitter. You can also email questions and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org We’re going to address listener questions at the end of each podcast and we would love to address questions on our site, as well.
What other features do you have planned for your site?
Interviews! We want to start doing email interviews like this one and interviews as part of our podcast as well. We built the site and we produce our podcast all on our lonesome so we have our hands full right now. However, we want to expand, so the sky’s the limit!
Who is your favorite team? What is your outlook on them?
Oh… you don’t want to hear this… We are all born and bred Broncos fans. We were there with season tickets for the Elway glory, and you can live on those fumes for a long time. I don’t like the high expectations. I prefer being the underdog, but it’s still an exciting time to be a Broncos fan. However, I also love the Minnesota Vikings. My grandparents are from Minnesota and Vikings fans, so we were brought up with the idea that they were our NFC favorites. I also lived in Minnesota for nine years, went to college there, met my husband there, etc. So they are a very important team in my life. Adrian Peterson is already one of football’s great legends, but my favorite player is Jared Allen. I think they might be pretty good this year. My husband is a Jets fan. And a Mets fan. There’s a lot of sadness in our household on his half of the room.
Let’s talk fantasy drafts. Is there a consensus number one draft pick?
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson. Don’t get cute. Don’t over think it. This year it is a clear choice.
Who is the most overrated player regardless of position?
San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great football player. But last year almost all of his passes went to WR Michael Crabtree, the guy who’s out for the season. They have TE Vernon Davis lining up all over the place because they are ridiculously weak at WR and now they are looking at adding Terrell Owens as a last-minute roster Hail Mary. I think he’ll be fine, but I wouldn’t take him over Atlanta QB Matt Ryan or even the other new and shiny QBs like Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson or RGIII. People keep saying, “Oh, no. Wilson doesn’t have WR Percy Harvin anymore. His value just dropped.” Oh, yeah? Well, he didn’t have Harvin last year and he was a stud for the last half of his rookie season. Even New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is falling in rankings because he lacks weapons… and he’s TOM BRADY!!! Of anyone in the NFL, he’s proven he can make it work. So why is everyone giving Kaepernick a free pass? I think it’s his long, colt-ish legs, but that’s for our next interview.
Can you give me two late round bargains?
San Diego Chargers RB Danny Woodhead. And I didn’t say that because I wanted extra credit, I really think he’s going to rock it all year. I project that he will have more fantasy points than Ryan Mathews and he may even crack the top 20. I’m interested in Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater and St Louis Rams WR Brian Quick. I’m going to watch them in preseason, but I’m sensing serious potential.
Who is the most overvalued player?
I’m going to go with RGIII. It’s not a slam against him as a player, but I’m not willing to hand over all credit for the Redskins’ success to him when Alfred Morris blew everyone away last year. He’s not a pass catching back, but neither is Adrian Peterson! Morris and Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin should have been more in the conversation for rookie of the year last year. So, for that reason, I say RGIII.
This is for a Chargers website, what is your Chargers prognosis for this season?
The loss of WR Danario Alexander sort of felt like the final blow. I’m not saying it’s hopeless, but I do think the chance of a playoff berth has been greatly reduced. I like the way the team is building. I feel great about your coach, a former Bronco (I miss him already). And I liked your draft, especially the STEAL of Manti T’eo. As a Broncos fan, I’ve learned to fear The Chargers. You find ways to beat us, so I don’t underestimate the ability of the team as a unit. But if I am totally honest, I am more concerned with 2014 rather than 2013, but that’s a good thing for your organization. The future is bright.
A big thanks to Brandon, Ashley and Courtney at Her Fantasy Football for taking time from developing their new site to accommodate us for this interview. As you can see, these ladies know their football and their site is only going to get greater. Please visit their site, and help us get their Twitter follows up! Even if they are Broncos fans, they’re teaching ladies football!! No way not to love that! We’ll rub it in after the Chargers knock the Broncos out of the playoffs but that will be an interview for later.
The Greg One
What’s good, BoltFam and Fantasy Footballers? As promised, this year I am hosting a Fantasy Football league that will be sure to peak your interest.
The buy-in is $50.00 and the accepted form of payment is via PayPal. If you are selected as one of the 12 teams, you will want to know the information listed below.
- Payment must be received by me, via Paypal, within 48 hours of being accepted into the league. No ifs, ands or buts. Only want serious people involved
- The 12 of us will have a night where we will all vote on the rules ( Date of this to be determined shortly after all teams accepted )
- I would prefer to do this league on ESPN.com but if the majority votes against it then so be it
- The draft will be on the night of September 1st
- 3rd Place wins $50.00
- 2nd Place wins $150.00
- 1st Place wins $400.00
- If you are new to Fantasy Football this is probably not the league for you
- May the best team win… and I plan on it
It is that time of year again. This is when people truly start to do their homework for the upcoming Fantasy Football season. I am really hyped and I plan on winning. Here’s how you can let me know you’re interested in joining: send me an email at email@example.com, send me a direct message on Twitter @BoogaP or friend me on Facebook (Booga Peters) and send me a message there.
Thanks a lot for reading and I look forward to kicking all of your asses in this league.
After meeting Adam Rank of NFL.com and NFL Fantasy Live at this year’s NFL draft in New York City, he and I have stayed in touch. We have already done one interview and there is another one coming up in the next week to 10 days.
I am writing this article to provide you with an opportunity to ask you Fantasy Football questions to the NFL.com’s Fantasy Expert league Champion two out of the last three years. That’s right; Adam is really good.
To submit a fantasy football-related question for Adam Rank you can do so by the following:
– Leave a comment at the bottom of this article.
– Send me a tweet on Twitter to @BoogaP or use the hashtag #FFLQsRank.
– Friend me on Facebook and leave a question on my page Booga Peters.
– Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line state FFL question for Adam Rank interview.
Our previous interview lasted a little over an hour. I will do my best to fit in each and every question that is asked if time permits me to do so.
With Fantasy Football drafts already taking place, if you have any tough decisions to make going into your draft be sure to get ahead of the game and submit your questions as soon as possible.
Thanks a lot for reading.
The most exciting parts of the NFL offseason have come and are for the most part, now gone. Free agency has slowed to a crawl and near a dead stop. The draft has come and gone. All coaching and staff hirings and firings are done. Tis the season of minicamps and OTA’s. In a couple of weeks training camps will officially open and teams and players will cocoon themselves from the rest of the world aside from fan day and occasional open practice. So what do hardcore fans like us have to look forward to aside from the start of preseason?
We know, for the most part, who will comprise the rosters of our favorite teams and can start building fantasy strategy accordingly. For the devout Chargers fans, we’ve been witnessing a paradigm shift in the way this team is constructed. New GM Tom Telesco is phasing out the grizzled veterans and replacing them with younger, faster, hopefully stronger players. The blueprint has been easy to read for his offseason signings. Four years experience or less, 27 years old or younger, can play multiple positions. Telesco emphasized adding team speed and the roster is looking more impressive, especially now, after the draft. The question now is:
Are there any Chargers worth drafting?
Citing my 65% success rate in Yahoo leagues (57 trophies since played my first Yahoo league in 2000), The Greg One will be happy to be your fantasy guru for this piece. Let’s start with the easy one. Defense.
In standard Yahoo leagues, defense is drafted as a whole, not individuals. The Chargers defense should DEFINITELY be drafted. The Chargers have a fantastic core group with Corey Liuget, Melvin Ingram, Kendall Reyes and Donald Butler. This core really came together at the end of the season as the rooks Ingram and Reyes got even more game time. Letting Cason and Jammer walk is addition by subtraction because there is a better cornerback in newcomer Derek Cox and Shareece Wright will get to fill the other starting corner spot if he passes muster in camp. Marcus Gilchrist is seeing time at strong safety, his natural position in college. Add in All-American college standout Mantei Te’o and cornerback draftee Steven Williams to this mix and the Chargers defense has all the makings of a top five defense in this league. There’s always one defense a year that shocks everybody by posting double-digit points almost every week and the Chargers are that team this year. Draft a big name defense in the middle rounds (Baltimore, San Francisco, Seattle, Pittsburgh) the Chargers will still be there in round 10.
Now to where your championships are made: KICKER!
Just kidding. If you’re drafting a kicker anywhere outside of the last two rounds of the draft, accept your place in the bottom of the consolation round now. Now for the offense.
Philip Rivers is definitely a player you want to draft. The beauty of it is that now he is a backup quarterback for fantasy purposes. No one outside of the San Diego is going to draft Rivers as their main quarterback. Well, almost no one. Philip Rivers has been trending downwards in fantasy since the Chargers postseason slide began. Lost in the turnovers, sacks and depleted offensive line is the fact that Rivers has averaged over 4000 yards and 27 touchdowns over the last five seasons.
Last year was Rivers worst in the last five and he still three for over 3600 yards and 26 touchdowns! Each of the last four seasons prior, Rivers had thrown for over 4000 yards. With a new zone blocking scheme on the offensive line being implemented and a rebuilt offensive line Rivers will be fantasy gold. That is IF this new line keeps him clean and Mike McCoy’s new passing attack gets the ball out of his hand quicker.
We all know how accurate Rivers can be when he can just read and throw, not improvise because of an opponent running him down. Is drafting him worth the risk? Consider the fact that he will still be there in round 8 and later. That’s seven top-tier skill positions filled and a 4000 yard quarterback still on the board. Add in the fact that quarterbacks like Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Dalton, Bradford and Andrew Luck will still be on the board to add to compliment Rivers, you can’t go wrong.
Ryan Mathews. You have been warned, DO NOT DRAFT THIS MAN!! Mathews has not succeeded in staying on the field an entire season, his touchdown totals have gone down each season and so has his yardage. Mathews is in a contract year and Telesco will give him one shot to save his career in San Diego. We’ve fell for the Mathews ‘potential’ excuse for three seasons now. Why be fooled a fourth time? Let someone else worry about his collarbones and ankles.
Danny Woodhead. This could be a great pickup in the late rounds. He averaged over 4 yards a rush and 11 yards per reception over his three seasons in New England. Unlike Mathews, Woodhead played every game last season and only missed three games total while in a Patriots uniform. Woodhead will be the new safety valve for Rivers and third down specialist in the McCoy offense. He can line up anywhere on the field as well as on special teams as a returner. Woodhead is worth taking a very late round flyer to fit your flex position or third running back slot.
Antonio Gates. Still worth your vote. Gates ran, cut and shed defenders a lot better as the season progressed and finally looks to be similar to the Gates of old. What he may have lost in speed he has made up for with his football IQ. Gates is still a top-10 tight end in this league and as Rivers’ favorite target, we know when Rivers has time to throw he will get Gates the ball. Gates will still be available around round 6 or 7. Prime time to fill in that slot.
Danario Alexander. Due to the fact that Alexander only played half a season, Alexander won’t be high on anyone’s radar. All the better for us. We in San Diego know of the instant chemistry that was formed when Alexander and Rivers stood on the field together. Alexander had touchdowns in five of the ten games he played and two of those were two touchdown games. Alexander will be a great ‘sleeper’ pick around round 9-11. This way, he’s only a third wide receiver with ability to put up first WR numbers. Also, if he falls off of last year’s production, you didn’t burn a top pick to speculate on a guy who only had half a season in uniform.
The issue with Chargers wide receivers is that Rivers gets the ball to everyone. Philip Rivers will hit the equipment manager if he’s open! Aside from Gates, he chucks the ball around the field playing no favorites. Alexander might become an exception but the Chargers are now absolutely loaded at wide receiver with Alexander, Malcolm Floyd, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, the return of Vincent Brown and rookie Keenan Allen. Add in the backs who all catch the ball out of the backfield like Woodhead, Mathews and Ronnie Brown, Rivers 30 plus touchdowns this season are going into many different pairs of hands. Floyd will be a good WR3 around round 12 and unless they really have amazing preseasons, Brown and Allen will be available AFTER the draft.
So there you have it. To answer the question, no, there are not a lot of Chargers worth drafting and none worth drafting within the first five rounds. That simply means they all fall in the value pick category. Rivers will be the poster boy for value pick if the Telesco plan works half as well as it did in Indianapolis. The Chargers will be invisible to the fantasy world until they start winning and they will be a surprise to everyone but us. Go forth, young drafter and use this knowledge to stack your roster, win leagues and win money. I won’t even ask for a cut, just a shout out that my system worked for you. Take advantage now, before I patent it!
The Greg One