December 2, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) runs onto the field during player introductions prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The preseason is underway and the regular season is just around the corner. That means that its time to talk about fantasy football! I thought I’d do a little preview of just the Bolts players and see where they stack up against the rest of the league.
Okay, so I’m basing this off of a twelve-team snake draft, which I believe is the most common type of fantasy draft. You may only have 8 teams and therefor this article my appear optimistic when you go to draft (as far as rounds go); you may have 16 teams in your league, in which case the opposite would be true. It’s sad to say, but if you’re looking to win your league then you probably shouldn’t take any Chargers player before the 5th round—unless you’re in a 16-team league and there’s a run on QBs or you’re in a league that really rewards running backs.
Anyway, let’s get to it. These estimates are based one a few 12-team mock drafts and analysis of performance over the last couple of seasons.
Week One Starters
Ryan Mathews: Should be the first Charger of the board despite the sub par performance last year. He’s a starting back who will get more of a workload this year as well as an improved offensive line. If he can stay healthy he’s a solid number 2 fantasy back or a number 1 in a pinch. Projected Round: Think about it in the 5th, probably the 6th, 7th is a steal.
Antonio Gates: No matter what anyone says, Gates is still a great weapon and has the potential to easily be in the top 12 fantasy tight ends in the league. If he and Rivers can get back on the same page then he will be a solid #1. Tight end is a fairly deep position so you can wait a little for Gates and hopefully he ends up being a steal. Projected Round: 7th is a little too early, probably the 8th, steal in the 9th or 10th.
Philip Rivers: As I’ve said before, I’m a huge Rivers fan and I think he will get it back this year. However, if you’re looking at him from a purely fantasy standpoint then he has struggled to make it in to the top 12 fantasy QBs over the last two seasons. With an improved O-line and more time to throw, I think that Rivers will have more success and fewer turnovers this year; he looked very impressive in the opening drive of the Seahawks game. If you want, a good strategy might be to go for elite running backs and receivers in the early rounds and wait for Rivers in the later rounds, especially in a 16-team league. I don’t know if you can call him a sleeper, but he may shock a few people this year and is definitely worth picking up as a late round #1 or #2 rotational QB. Projected Round: He’ll drop to 12th-14th as a rotational QB but I think that’s a steal.
Solid Rotational Players
Malcom Floyd: On paper he’s a number 3 or 4 fantasy receiver. If you can get him really late in the draft then he could be useful in situational plays and as a backup. With DX going down, however, he’s going to be thrust into that #1 role and will get more points because of it, making him a potential steal. Of course, we always worry about his health but that could be said of most players. Get him late if you can. Projected Round: 14th, steal in the 15th
All of the guys in this section shouldn’t be taken before the last two rounds. These are guys with the potential to break out and put up good numbers; they might be worth gambling on with a late pick.
Vincent Brown: Everyone’s favorite sleeper. With DX going down, he will be one of our two starting guys on the outside. He has a lot of potential but is still a little bit of a mystery, since we haven’t seen him in action yet for a full season. Grab him with one of your last picks because he has the potential to break out in week one, if not you’ll have to hope you’re number 1 on the waiver wire.
Eddie Royal: Royal has been making waves in camp and will probably lock up that starting slot position. He made an amazing catch in Seahawks game and was firmly in the starting lineup. If he can stay healthy for a full year and starts to build chemistry with Rivers—especially in the new quick-fire offense—then he has the potential to put up decent numbers. Grab him with a late pick if Brown isn’t available.
Danny Woodhead: If you pick Mathews early in the draft then this is a must. Mathews has a history of injury—obviously—and so Woodhead could be our number 1 at any point. Also, if you’re in a PPR league then he might be worth grabbing for his pass catching skills alone.
NOTE: Keenan Allen, Ronnie Brown and Robert Meachem probably shouldn’t be drafted. Out of the three I would take Allen, purely based on the rookie factor—you never know what he’s going to do, especially with DX out and Royal’s injury history. Brown and Meachem are probably going to be late-season desperation adds.
Nick Novak only missed two kicks last year so he’s a more than solid option. Unfortunately, we’re going to be scoring touchdowns every time we get the ball, so he’s only going to net you about 5 extra points per game (a guy can dream).
Our Defense/ST is middle of the road right now. I have no doubt that they will improve upon last year’s success and crack into the top ten in points. They will be a solid #1 or rotational defense this season and have the ability to rack up the points on any given Sunday. Our return teams looked a little suspect during the Seahawks game but I’m sure they will improve as we get closer to the regular season.
You shouldn’t draft either Novak or the Defense before the 15th round—Novak preferably in the final round.
Defensive Players (If You Play Like That)
Eric Weddle is sure to get you a lot of tackles and a few INTs, so go with him first. Corey Luiget is probably going to have more sacks this season than he’s ever had and will get you some tackle points too. Donald Butler will hopefully get more tackles this year and is probably going to be the most consistent in points. If Dwight Freeney can get back to his old self then he could rack up the points with both sacks and tackles. Derek Cox will vie to lead the team in INTs and, if history repeats itself, our corners seem to get a lot of tackles.
So there you have it. As fans we may not agree with some of these projections and, who knows, someone may break out and become a fantasy star this year. These numbers, however, are purely based on past performance and mock drafts. This is where the guys are falling now. Man, I sure miss the days of LT #1 overall, Gates #1 tight end and Rivers in the top 5. Hopefully things turn around this year, and next year when I write this article there will be some fantasy superstars on our roster. Let me know if you agree in the comments or if you think someone should go higher, lower or not at all.
P.S. If you’re doing an auction draft, then I wouldn’t spend over $2 for anyone on the roster, except maybe Mathews who could go for $10 at most.