Week 14 is here and in most leagues this means playoffs! While the San Diego Chargers have been very frustrating all around for fantasy owners. Let's take a look at the major players heading to the east coast this week as the Chargers go head to head with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Every good team needs a good leader, but when it comes to fantasy quarterbacks, Phillip Rivers is not your man. Rivers has officially made it to the lists of top 10 most dropped players. People have finally come to terms with what was once an elite fantasy QB is no longer a reality. And for anyone who has held onto Phillip Rivers, I hate to break the news to you, but this week doesn’t look like he should be a starter against the Steelers. In the last several games, Rivers had frustrated his fantasy owners by producing below 15 points a game. Considering this is a playoff week for fantasy leagues, if you haven’t already sent Rivers to the waiver wire I would certainly sit him this week.
While Rivers can’t play ball by himself, let’s take a look at his receiving corps.
Tight end Antonio Gates is player that has not been able to stay open all season long because every defense so far has had him under full protection for most of his time on the field. He was certainly drafted high enough to give fantasy players hope that if they held onto him for just a little while, he would have his breakout game making him worth the wait. I hate to once again be the bearer of bad news, my friends, but this week I would sit him. The truth is, you probably don't have another tight end on your bench that willget you any more than the 3- 4 fantasy points that Gates will get you, so you'll likely have to start him this week. However, keep in mind, the Pittsburgh Steelers are tough on tight ends, so don’t count on seeing high numbers from Gates this week. If you are seriously searching for a potential replacement that may still be available, take a look at Coby Fleener. The Indianapolis Colts face the Tennessee Titans this week, who are known for giving up serious points to opposing tight ends. Dwayne Allen will probably have the advantage in this matchup, but Fleener is known to suddenly find the end zone. I'm not one to advise taking risks in the playoffs, but if you feel the rest of your starting lineup is strong enough to carry the risk, then Fleener is really the only player still available in leagues that's a viable alternative to Gates.
When it comes to the rest of the receiving court, I am not comfortable telling anyone to start Malcolm Floyd, Robert Meachem, nor Eddie Royal. However, Danario Alexander is a stud player that will get a start from me. Although Alexander is facing a much tougher matchup than his week 13 confrontation against the Ravens, I do see consistency in Alexander. In one way or another, Alexander racks up fantasy points in yards and occasionally finds the end zone. It's safe to say steer clear of all Charger players in your fantasy line up going into the Fantasy Playoffs,but Alexander is an exception. He is just too good of a player to sit this week.
The ground and pound option is not necessarily a game-winning strategy for the San Diego Chargers. Ryan Mathews has not yet been able to live up to the off-season hype that made him a first round fantasy draft pick. Mathews is a player that if you have him on your roster, no matter what advice you read on any site, you are still going to be forced to start him. There is not another running back available on waivers that will get you the 8 point average that you can expect from Matthews. He is ranked about middle of the pack going into week 13. Anyone in round one of the playoffs who is forced to play Matthews I wish you luck, because you’re going to need it. Now, if any of you are Ronnie Brown owners…I’m not even going there. You know what to do.
Finally, I am still a believer in the old saying "Defenses win games". And as a Chicago Bears defense fantasy owner, I believe this applies to fantasy as well. San Diego’s defense is still in the top fifteen defenses and will probably get you an average of 4 points a week. The only other defense that is available and worth a look are the Cleveland Browns. Yes, you read it correctly, the Cleveland Browns. While considering last week they had a favorable matchup and only scored 1 point for fantasy owners, consider that in week 13, they face the Kansas City Chiefs, who allow the most fantasy points to opposing defenses. If you're playing in round one of the playoffs and own the Chargers Defense, you don’t need me to remind you that it wasn’t their high scoring fantasy points that have gotten you this far. So, if you are feeling a little brave, the Browns may be a great sleeper as they are only owned in about 10% of fantasy leagues.
Good luck y’all
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