Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2012 Fantasy outlook: San Diego Chargers

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Philip Rivers might be the face of the Chargers franchise but it's rusher Ryan Mathews who is the Charger of most interest to the Fantasy universe -- a spotlight he's stood in before.

As a rookie in 2010, Mathews was among the trendiest picks in Fantasy. With promises of LaDainian Tomlinson-like numbers, many owners invested heavily in him, some taking him as high as a late first-round pick. He went on to total 823 yards and seven touchdowns while fellow Chargers rusher Mike Tolbert had 951 total yards and a massive 13 touchdowns. Consequently, owners were gun-shy to draft Mathews in 2011 -- his average draft position was roughly 53rd overall -- but he improved on his rookie totals with 1,546 total yards and six scores on 272 touches (Tolbert had 923 total yards and 10 touchdowns).

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Football.

This offseason, Tolbert bolted San Diego for Carolina, meaning that the days of him stealing touches and touchdowns away from Mathews are over. Based on the last two seasons, one might deduce that effectively 10 touchdowns are on the table for the taking with Mathews the run-away candidate for them. So it's no surprise once again that Mathews is going to get taken regularly in the first round of Fantasy drafts with wild expectations.

Head coach Norv Turner has done nothing to dispel those expectations, either. He thinks Mathews is "ready to take that next step" which means, in his mind, that "the production goes way up." National writers have wondered about Mathews taking on 400 touches. The Chargers have done little to replace Tolbert, signing big fullback Le'Ron McClain, declining rusher Ronnie Brown and drafting Michigan State's Edwin Baker with a seventh-round pick. They join Curtis Brinkley (142 total yards, one touchdown) as the backups. If the Bolts have a plan to take carries from Mathews, they sure picked a motley crew of backs to pick from to do so.

But the belief, or the hope in the case of Fantasy owners, is that Mathews won't share much and reap the statistical rewards of being an every-down back. Sounds great, but questions about his durability (he's missed six games) and his inability to live up to expectations (he's done that twice in two seasons) temper his potential. Regarding his body holding up, Mathews has reportedly put on 15 pounds of muscle in anticipation of the added workload, a drastic change considering he showed up to camp out of shape last summer. Regarding meeting his expectations, consider this: In the eight career games Mathews has had at least 20 touches, he's had seven with at least 100 total yards and/or a touchdown. That includes going six for six last year. The Chargers went 5-1 in those games.

Guess who's getting the ball. The high draft consideration for Mathews has merit and should pay off for those who choose to take him between fifth and 10th overall.

Fantasy Value Chart
Player Draft Day value Estimated round
Quarterbacks
Philip Rivers 4
Running Backs
Ryan Mathews 1
Curtis Brinkley ND
Ronnie Brown ND
Wide Receivers
Robert Meachem 9
Malcom Floyd 11
Eddie Royal ND
Vincent Brown ND
Tight Ends
Antonio Gates 5
Kickers/Defense
Nate Kaeding 14
Chargers DST ND
ND - not expected to get drafted

Breakout ... Robert Meachem, wide receiver
There's a changing of the guard in San Diego as Vincent Jackson has left the team after getting paid a ton by Tampa Bay in March. To replace him, the Chargers signed Meachem away from the Saints with the premise that he can take over as the deep threat Jackson was for much of seven seasons. Meachem was never a stat machine for the Saints but much of that had to do with sharing the field with a lot of receivers and not seeing a ton of playing time (he was out there 78 pct. of the time according to Pro Football Focus). As a highly-paid acquisition, Norv Turner said he'd like to get at least 45 plays per week out of Meachem, which should give him a chance to put up career highs in receptions and receiving yards and come close to the nine scores he had with the Saints in 2009. Healthy for the first offseason in a few years, Meachem is one to target with a pick starting in Round 9 or 10.

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe today!

Sleeper ... Malcom Floyd, wide receiver
Meachem won't catch everything in San Diego, but he'll surely draw some coverage. Tight end Antonio Gates will draw plenty of coverage too. That might leave Floyd in a familiar position: In single coverage awaiting Philip Rivers' passes. Floyd has never been a Fantasy darling partially because he's spent too much time on the sideline inactive (he's missed nine games in the last two seasons), but he ended last season as one, catching four touchdowns in his final five games with 455 yards in those games to push his 2011 total to a personal-best 856 yards. His familiarity with Turner's offense, his likelihood for playing time and his speed make him an intriguing late-round pick. He's also entering a contract year, so if he can play well this season he could take a page out of Vincent Jackson's playbook and land a big contract in the spring.

Keeper-league targets ... Vincent Brown, wide receiver; Ladarius Green, tight end
Brown was a hometown rookie for the Bolts last season, and he played well in a couple of games in early November. He hopes to build off of his first year with a bigger role this year. Brown will battle newcomer Eddie Royal for playing time, a battle that sounds one-sided after Turner called Royal among the best players he's ever coached. But Brown is sure to stick around San Diego for a while and could earn playing time eventually. As for Green, he's joining the Chargers in the same mold Antonio Gates did back in the late 1990s: Tall, lean, fast project pick. He's got the potential of a Dallas Clark or Aaron Hernandez and will take time to develop. Green will be available in rookie drafts and Brown might be available in dynasty and keeper re-drafts. Both are worth mid-to-late picks.

Schedule breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
@OAK TEN ATL @KC @NO DEN bye @CLE KC @TB @DEN BAL CIN @PIT CAR @NYJ OAK

And here's the last piece of the puzzle regarding Ryan Mathews, Philip Rivers and the Chargers' Fantasy outlook. The team has to love the first 11 weeks of their schedule: Maybe two teams with stout defenses are in front of them. Starting in Week 12 it gets a little hairy with three straight games against the best teams the AFC North can offer and a Week 16 date in New York (a game where they struggled last season).

Training camp topics

2011 Touches Leaders
Player Touches
Ryan Mathews 222 carries, 50 catches
Mike Tolbert 121 carries, 54 catches
Antonio Gates 64 catches
Vincent Jackson 60 catches, 3 carries
Malcom Floyd 43 catches

Let's just pause on the Mathews hype for a second: Let's say that Norv Turner was full of hot air this offseason and plans on using Mathews as he always has and will give up some reps to another back. Who will be that other back? Training camp will determine whether Curtis Brinkley or Ronnie Brown will step up to be the backup, or if Le'Ron McClain is the next fullback to become a running back in San Diego. If we had to name a "best bet," it would be Brinkley, though for now no handcuff for Mathews is warranted like it was in the past.

The slot receiver role will also need to be watched in camp. Eddie Royal joined the Chargers from the Broncos and has yet to reclaim his magic from his 91-catch, 980-yard, five-touchdown rookie season. Since 2009 Royal has had four touchdowns and 115 catches over three years. It will be a major reclamation project for Turner if he can turn Royal into more than a special-teams returner after three years of mediocrity.

But there are two mainstays in San Diego that Fantasy owners will lean on as weekly must-starters: Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates. Luckily, the outlook for both is good. Rivers is coming off one of his worst seasons, tossing a four-year low 27 touchdowns and a career-high 20 interceptions while throwing a career-high 582 times. Rivers' pass attempts has either stayed even or gone up in every year of his career. If he's passing over 550 times and throwing like we've been accustomed to, we're going to see a big year for him. As for Gates, he's entering training camp healthy for the first time in years. His feet need to stay healthy in order for him to be productive. Some might think Gates could struggle given that Vincent Jackson is gone, but if defenses hound Gates then Rivers will burn them connecting with his other weapons. So Gates should find his moments and still be an asset for Fantasy, even if his seven scores last year broke a seven-year streak with at least eight touchdowns per season.

There will be a kicking competition in San Diego between Nick Novak and Nate Kaeding. Kaeding tore his ACL on the opening kickoff last season (how was that for a harbinger of things to come?) and Novak replaced him effectively, making 27 of 34 attempts, including 4 of 7 from 50-plus yards. If Kaeding's leg is healed and he's an effective kicker he'll probably reclaim his job. But he's on the books for a $2 million salary this season, money the Chargers might need if they get thin at another position. Novak is slated to make less than half of that. Money could be a factor in who kicks for the Chargers, and until that battle is settled Fantasy owners won't touch either guy knowing neither is locked into a job.

If the offense is loaded with stat producers who could help Fantasy owners, the defense is loaded with question marks. The pass rush has been an issue for the Chargers for years. They attempted to address it with Melvin Ingram and he'll help a unit that was led by backup Antwan Barnes last year (11 sacks, roughly one-third of the team's total). If the pass rush can't come down on their division rivals including Peyton Manning, they'll lose a lot of games. The secondary is looking for rebound years from Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason after personal issues impacted both cornerbacks; if they get their act together they would benefit from any improvement made from the pass rush.

Injury update

Robert Meachem (knee; probable for the start of training camp) ... Nate Kaeding (knee; probable for the start of training camp) ... Jacob Hester (shoulder; probable for the start of training camp) ... Luis Castillo (leg; questionable for the start of training camp).

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Cardinals' Larry Foote '50-50' on playing in 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:17 pm ET) Though Larry Foote is on the Cardinals' coaching staff at the moment, he hasn't ruled out a potential return to the team

Speaking to the team's website, Foote said he's "50-50" about playing in 2015. He talked about the factors that could play into whether or not he returns to playing. 

“Draft, what happens with (suspended linebacker) Darryl Washington, stuff like that, how my knee feels (after offseason surgery),” Foote said. “I’ll sit down with (Bruce Arians) and the next couple of months are really going to be the deciding factor.”

If Foote doesn't play, he'll be the linebackers coach for Arizona's upcoming season. He's been adjusting to the role of being a coach this offseason. 

“I am starting to like coaching,” Foote said. “It’s a little tough in the office, eating M&Ms, snacking all day, drinking coffee. I started my diet a couple days ago.”


Panthers pick up option on Luke Kuechly contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) What was promised by general manager Dave Gettleman is now official - the Panthers have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of standout linebacker Luke Kuechly, per the team website.

The two-time Pro Bowler has led the NFL in tackles in two of his three seasons and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He has racked up 473 tackles since 2012, the most in the NFL.


Ravens TE Dennis Pitta hopeful for 2015 return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season, but admits it's too early to determine if that goal can become a reality.

Pitta has undergone surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip in each of the last two years.

"We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if I can get there."

Pitta has played in just seven games in the last two seasons combined.


Mark Sanchez: Eagles said Tim Tebow was just a camp arm
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez said he wasn't concerned that the team signed Tim Tebow, because the Eagles told him Tebow was just there to throw in camp.

"We needed another guy to throw while Sam's (Bradford) still recovering. So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me," Sanchez said, per CSN Philadelphia

The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday. He hasn't played in the NFL since getting cut by the Patriots at the end of training camp prior to the 2013 season. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network. 

Tebow and Sanchez were teammates on the Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a back-up created a quarterback controversy among fans and media that last ed throughout the season. 


Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


 
 
 
Rankings