We now have a full week of preseason football to digest, and the practice of picking apart the few meaningful fantasy nuggets from the minefield of elongated boxscores is ongoing.
There are few definitive conclusions we can make following Week 1 of the preseason. That’s the nature of early August, as this isn’t a place where definitive conclusions usually live. However, here’s one statement that feels increasingly obvious: Robert Meachem is the suckiest suck that ever sucked.
This is not new information. Between 2009 and 2011 in New Orleans, Meachem was good, though not yet great. During those three seasons he averaged 660 receiving yards on 43 catches while scoring 20 total touchdowns. The expectation and hope was that after posting those fine numbers as a secondary option in the Drew Brees passing circus in New Orleans, he would then bust through an entirely different ceiling when given the keys for the No. 1 job in San Diego.
We’re still waiting on the second half of that hopeful dreaming.
Last year, Meachem had only 14 receptions for 207 yards as the trust in his hands and his role in the Chargers’ offense quickly faded. He was barely used, even while his offense struggled, and even while Norval Turner — a head coach who would eventually be fired — grasped for an answer, any answer at all. Meachem was targeted only 32 times, a significant drop from his 60 targets in 2011.
Now following an awful training camp thus far and an even worse start to the preseason during the Chargers’ loss to Seattle, Meachem’s time on the roster could be limited to a matter of weeks, even with the $5 million in guaranteed money he’s due this season. The first of Charlie Whitehurst’s two interceptions likely wouldn’t have happened had Meachem not been blatantly lazy. But that’s what he did, choosing not to work back to the ball.
We’re reaching the point with Meachem that not having him on the roster is better than having him on the roster, which will soon be true despite the financial burden which comes with cutting him, and the season-ending injury to Danario Alexander. A source told Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee that Meachem is simply “broken down“.
So if this ends the way it should in a few weeks with the Chargers swallowing a lot of pain and pride, what’s the trickle-down fantasy effect? Well, if we weren’t already, we’re assured that Malcom Floyd will get the targets on the outside, while Eddie Royal maintains his position as the primary slot guy. Most importantly, if he gets healthy the Vincent Brown show should take off, and he remains the Chargers receiver with the highest fantasy ceiling.
But when we add Meachem’s nearly certain demise to Alexander’s injury and the injury history of Brown, suddenly rookie Keenan Allen has even more deep sleeper value. In his limited NFL debut against the Seahawks, Allen had two catches for 13 yards.
As we discovered late last week, the Chargers could be a fantasy wasteland. But with one more body out of the way in a clustered wide receiver depth chart, there’s an opportunity for both clarity, and value.