In a world that’s not crumbling, Philip Rivers actually would have been a fine late-round pick, and a decent target for the daring individuals who seek to avoid the early payment for Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees et al at the quarterback position. He wouldn’t have been a good pick, per se, and especially not a very enjoyable one. But for a late-round quarterback draft strategy, he would have provided good value.
Consider briefly a world in which Rivers has a healthy complement of wide receivers, in addition to the support of a reinforced backfield with Danny Woodhead providing another target, and hopefully, new head coach Mike McCoy busy righting his wayward direction. After the spiral of the last two years, it’s easy to forget that not so long ago (2010) Rivers posted fine fantasy numbers while passing for 4,710 yards at a pace of 8.7 per attempt, which at the time was the third straight season that number eclipsed 8.0. Most importantly, he had a +17 TD:INT ratio, which has fallen to only +7, and then +11 over the past two years.
No one with a shred of sanity is saying that McCoy alone is the difference and he can find a pulse somewhere in Rivers, especially with the continued wonkiness of the Chargers’ offensive line. But at a cellar dwelling ADP of 157.1 (meaning he’s often not drafted at all in many leagues), Rivers provided great value and a history of production as a lottery ticket for the savvy owner who waited on a more promising late-round QB target like Tony Romo or Jay Cutler, and then needed some added insurance. That’s not asking much.
Now, Rivers isn’t even touchable in that capacity.
Danario Alexander is lost for the season after tearing his ACL, and last night that was the initially feared fate of Malcom Floyd too after he crumbled on the practice field. Thankfully, Floyd suffered a knee strain, and ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that at minimum he’ll be out until Week 1. We’ll get a more definitive timetable later this afternoon following a second opinion, but Werder’s report hints strongly that Rivers could begin the season without two of his top three receivers, and instead he’ll be forced to throw to a raw rookie (Keenan Allen) and three other receivers (Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown, and the awful Robert Meachum) who have their own injury histories dotted with pain, and they combined for just 37 catches last year.
No really, it’ll be that bad. Toss in Antonio Gates’ descent into nothingness at the age of 33 following his 538 receiving yards last year with no +100 yard games (only the second time in his career that’s happened), and the woe thickens. Oh and about that offensive line: D.J. Fluker is a fine upgrade, but overall a line that watched its quarterback go down three times per game last year (including seven games with four or more sacks allowed and 49 in total) is still weak.
You haven’t had enough yet? Here are some more depressing numbers:
- Let’s assume what’s seemingly the worst, and that Floyd misses two games. That means Rivers would spend 15 percent of the fantasy regular season without receivers who were targeted on 27.8 percent of his throws last year.
- Taking that percentage the other way, the current top three receivers he’d be throwing to were targeted on just seven percent of his attempts.
- Of Rivers’ 41 completions of 20 yards or more last year, 24 or them were caught by either Floyd or Alexander.
Brown should be catapulting up your draft rankings, as if he stays healthy, he could quickly become this year’s Alexander and far outperform his draft spot. That’s thinking quite optimistically, though, and optimism is a difficult thing to find around San Diego right now.
This will be much easier to locate…