Philip Rivers led the Chargers to 12 wins in 2018. They finished second in the AFC West in their second season in Los Angeles. In the playoffs, the Chargers dominated the Ravens in Baltimore before being taken down by their kryptonite. The Chargers suffered a 41-28 loss to Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxborough.
For Rivers, this was his 13th season as a starter for the Chargers. During that time, he has not missed a single game. Rivers threw for 32 touchdowns which marked the sixth time in his career he has thrown for 30 or more.
Rivers was sacked 32 times last season. He will turn 38 in September as he prepares for his 14th season as a starting quarterback. What does this mean for Rivers in fantasy football? Since 2009, Rivers is tied for the third among quarterbacks with the most top-10 fantasy point finishes. Only Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers have more. Rivers is fifth on the list in top five finishes.
The new trend in sports now is that having a child improves performance. Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors improved his shooting production during the playoffs after his son was born. New York Yankees’ ace Masahiro Tanaka threw a complete game, two-hit shutout in his first start after the birth of his second child.
If this trend holds true, Rivers should have no problem succeeding. Rivers and his wife welcomed their ninth child into the world in March.
Does this mean that Rivers is in line for a dominant season?
Chargers’ Offensive Scheme
Philip Rivers has always been a quarterback that likes to sling the football all over the field.
The Chargers threw the ball 58.35% of the time last season. Rivers exceeded 30 pass attempts six times in 2018. He went over 40 twice, including a game where he attempted 51 passes. Heading into 2019, Los Angeles will continue their trend of being a pass first team.
Tyrell Williams signed with the Oakland Raiders this offseason. Despite losing a promising receiver, the Chargers are still in a good spot with their skill position players. Keenan Allen has proven to be one of the top receivers in the league when he is healthy. That has been his biggest problem in his career.
The Chargers selected Mike Williams with the seventh pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He had a strong season in 2018 with 10 touchdowns. Williams is looking to take the next step as a big time receiver. The Chargers also added Travis Benjamin for depth.
At the tight end position, Hunter Henry will enter 2019 healthy after tearing his ACL. Henry was coming on as a dominant tight end before a knee injury halted his progression. Melvin Gordon has eclipsed 400 yards receiving in each of the last three seasons despite missing seven games over that span.
In Los Angeles, there is no shortage of offensive weapons.
Rivers vs. the Field
In fantasy football, the quarterback may be the most important position. There is a need on every team to draft a quarterback who will stay healthy and likes to throw the football.
In recent years, the dynamic of running the football as a quarterback has come into the league. Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Lamar Jackson are just a few who like to use their legs. It is important to be mobile in the game today. Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are quarterbacks who can escape the pocket and extend plays to torture opposing defenses.
Philip Rivers is getting older, however, the game has not passed him by. Rivers is not as mobile as Rodgers, but he is not as stationary as Eli Manning. He is still a player that can extend plays and speed up the pace of play.
According to Matthew Berry’s rankings on ESPN, Rivers is currently ranked as the 18th quarterback. This is surprising given his recent success in fantasy. Some quarterbacks above him include Jameis Winston, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, and Lamar Jackson.
Running the ball as a quarterback has affected these rankings. As we begin to enter draft season, it would be wise to hold off and steal Rivers in later rounds, if possible. Avoid the urge to reach on Jackson or Murray because they use their legs more.
If you do not land Rodgers, Luck or Mahomes, wait until later rounds and take a strong option like Rivers.