December 11, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) celebrates following a two-yard touchdown reception during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
As many of you know, due to participation in, or hearing about it over and over again, the fantasy football season has already begun in correlation with the beginning of the NFL season.
In this article I would like to highlight the top five fantasy aspects of our Chargers that will stand out. Although some of you would disagree I welcome any and all comments.
Prior to Vincent Brown’s broken ankle, he would have been on the list without a doubt.
Let us go ahead and get started. Shall we?
5) Eddie Royal
Although I would love to place Floyd on this list, I have a hunch that Royal will put up some points in both the return game as well as at wide receiver.
Although Hochuli blew the call in “that” Denver game, Royal scored both the touchdown and the winning two-point conversion. I only remind you of that to show that he can be a redzone threat in addition to his quick strike ability in the open field.
Not to mention, we all remember what he did at Qualcomm by returning both a kick and punt for a touchdown in another rivalry matchup against the Broncos.
I don’t look for Royal to be a starter in your Fantasy League unless he is your flex option. If you add Royal as a flex, be sure to have two strong starting wideouts. Look out for Royal.
4) Chargers Defense
I’ve made it no secret that I love the additions made through both the draft and free agency. I’d be remissed if I didn’t admit that I am especially excited at the performances of rookies Ingram and Reyes in the preseason. Couple that with the health of Phillips and English (fingers crossed), there is no reason, in my mind, to not expect big things from the Bolt’s defense.
The secondary was responsible for covering for far too long last year. Our pass rush was practically non-existent.
Although Antwan Barnes had 11.0 sacks, the next closest defender was limited to four. The next closest player just happened to be spot starter, and future star, Camaron Thomas.
Look for there to be much more pressure under the John Pagano led defense than the one that was employed by Greg Manusky.
If for no other reason, Pagano has received a much needed upgrade at multiple positions. That includes through the draft and the fact that this year’s sophomore players have not been locked out again for this offseason.
I expect the Chargers to have a top 10 defense this year. I believe this due to the upgrades made to the front seven. I do think that the secondary will be made to look much better than advertised due to the guys up front.
Weddle is a stud. Bigby has not exactly impressed me in the preseason. Jammer had personal issues that consumed his mind last year. What excuse can I make for former Thorpe award winner Cason? You get the point. The secondary needs to perform much better as a group and they will get a bunch of help from the front seven in 2012 and beyond.
3) Ryan Mathews
Despite his broken clavicle, and games that should be missed, Norval has made it clear that he intends to ride the Mathews Express.
I refuse to compare Ryan to Emmitt, at this point, but Turner has made it clear that he would like to make Mathews a similar workhorse type back.
His injury issues, along with fumbling problems, are well documented. But, let it be known that Mathews is in the best shape of his life.
All Charger Fans know of his failed conditioning test at the beginning of the lockout shortened 2011 season. He has looked like a comic book superhero in all pictures and videos that I have seen of him this offseason. (Go ahead and run with that people. I expect it. ? )
When healthy, which has not been the case at any point in his football playing career, he is capable of being a top 5 back in the league. I have to admit that I feel as though once he comes back he will prove me right.
If he doesn’t, I won’t be the first person wrong to have high hopes on an injury-prone player proving that they belong.
2) Philip Rivers
The former NC State standout had what some could consider a horrible season in 2011. Having a total of 25 turnovers, Rivers still managed to throw for over 4,600+ yards and 27 touchdowns.
Although it makes no sense to eliminate the season-changing turnovers, his yards and touchdowns would be career years for 90% of the quarterbacks, statistically, that have ever completed a full season in the NFL.
Have I been very upset with his decision making, at times, in the preseason? Absolutely. Did I find it to be reminiscent of 2011? Of course it reminded me of that a little bit. But I must admit that I have full confidence in our leader.
In 2010, a certain Peyton Manning threw for a career high 4,700 yards. He happened to finish second in the NFL to Rivers while Philip threw to an NFL tying record 17 different receivers. I believe that he will use all of his weapons this year also. I believe that he will take serious advantage of my number one fantasy Charger.
1) Antonio Gates
If you have already drafted Gates then Kudos to you. If you have a chance to trade for him then I suggest that you do so.
If indeed he is healthy, for the first time in four years, I would hate to attempt to find ways to cover him sufficiently.
Look for Gates to have a career year and possibly break a couple records this season.
Although it’s all still speculation at this point, I have given all of you Bolt Family members my true, deep-down opinion.
These are the five areas that I would suggest that you own in the fantasy world. Feel free to call me out or come at me for my choices.
Thanks a lot for reading.