Fantasy vs. Reality – BAL/SD


December 18, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) runs for a first down during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 34-14 Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

The Chargers have 3 Top 20 ranked fantasy options this week against the Baltimore Ravens.

We are going to compare the weekly fantasy rankings of the experts like: Matthew Berry, Eric Karabell, Tristan Cockcroft and Christopher Harris. Their rankings can be found here.

So which is right, the Fantasy or the Reality? Let’s find out!

Danario Alexander – Breaks into the Top-20 this week as the No. 20 WR


  • The Ravens struggle against the deep ball and Alexander has proven he can go up and get the ball downfield
  • Has emerged as Rivers favorite target over last couple games
  • His 19.4ypc would rank 4th in NFL if eligible


  • Has caught 15 of 22 targets for a 68% catch rate, highest on the team
  • Redzone targets have not been there, as he’s only had 1 reception in the redzone (for a TD)
  • Ravens have tall CBs (3 over 6ft) who can battle for jump balls

Verdict – Reality. While Alexander has clearly become a favorte target of Rivers, a depleted OL means there will be a lot of quick, short routes and check downs.  The overturned suspension of Ed Reed also plays a factor. Alexander will be a low-end No.2 WR or Flex play.

Antonio Gates – The 5th ranked TE this week.


  • The season has been a disappointment for the long time fantasy legend, only averaging 5.5ppg in standard scoring leagues
  • While the receptions and yards are no longer there, Gates has scored 4 TDs in the last 6 games.
  • Should see his receptions go up this game as a weak OL will force Rivers to look to his longtime TE


  • 8 of 9 games this year Gates has had less than 5 receptions
  • Still one of the best in the game in the Redzone, as all 4 of his TDs have come there
  • An old and injury-riddled Ravens secondary could mean big game for no.85

Winner- Fantasy. It has been an up and down season for Gates. However, if the Chagers run game gets going it could set up soe nice play-action down the seam for the elder statesman.  The weak OL should mean more targets for Gates as Rivers will look to get the ball out quickly. He is especially valubale in ppr leagues this week.

Ryan Mathews – Ranked 14th this week


  • Chargers have fell behind in games and abandoned the run as he’s only had more than 20 carries twice this seaon
  • Inconsistent play-calling and a poor OL have meant few holes for Mathews to run through
  • Is averaging 4 receptions per game and will most likely see more check downs this game


  • Balitmore has awful rush defense ranking 27th in NFL giving up 132.2ypg and has allowed 10 rushing TDs
  • Chargers will have to rely on the rush to contain Ravens pass rush and take some pressure off of Rivers
  • Had 2 rushing TD’s against much better Baltimore defense in meeting last year

Winner- Reality. The Chargers have to find a way to get the ball in Mathews’ hands.  He is their most explosive playmaker and has the speed to break a long one anytime.  The Ravens have allowed double digit fantasy points to opposing RBs in every game this season.

Predictions (fantasy points calculated in standard scoring)

Danario Alexander – 5rec, 84yds, 0 TDs (8 pts)

Antonio Gates – 6rec, 68yds, 1 TD (12 pts)

Ryan Mathews – 18att, 81yds, 1TD & 4rec for 24yds (16 pts)


Dan Locke