Malcom Floyd has been a solid fantasy football receiver thus far in 2012.
Despite the San Diego Chargers not fielding an explosive passing offense—rank No. 20—Floyd has been a reliable target for Philip Rivers. Considering that Vincent Jackson is gone, though, it's not surprising to see San Diego not be its typical self.
Nonetheless, Floyd has taken over quite well and courtesy of an improving ground game the Chargers present a more balanced offense. With that, let's break down Floyd's play and see what to expect as 2012 continues.
Production Through Five Games
Receiving 33 targets and making 20 catches, Floyd has gained 358 yards and scored once.
Yes, it would obviously help if he reached the zone more often. Still, Floyd currently sits as Rivers' favorite target through roughly one-third of the season. He leads the Bolts in targets, yards, receptions and first downs so there's no reason why he can't remain Rivers' No. 1 receiver.
It is, however, also important to make note of the inconsistency. After getting 66 yards and a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders and 109 yards versus the Tennessee Titans, Floyd totaled just 75 yards combined between Weeks 3 (Atlanta Falcons) and 4 (Kansas City Chiefs).
Those cold spurts can be costly, therefore, just be sure to keep an eye out for his matchups.
What Does the Chargers' Schedule Dictate?
Matchups, as previously mentioned, must be well considered in fantasy football. And this goes for any receiver who's not an obvious start like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson, among a few others.
Coming up the Bolts play the Denver Broncos in Week 6, have a bye week, then face the Cleveland Browns and finish their series versus the Kansas City Chiefs. Denver and Cleveland are susceptible to the pass so Floyd has big play potential in those contests.
The Chiefs, though, are tough as they limited him to 23 yards on two catches in the first meeting. Other notable defenses he will face are the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, but the Chargers have a favorable schedule otherwise.
Floyd's matchups aren't demoralizing and if Rivers finds a rhythm his numbers will inflate. In short, he's worthy of a start each week as his impact is needed for San Diego to be in the postseason mix.
Expectations as the Season Progresses
Because of San Diego's improving rushing attack based on the solid trio of Ryan Mathews, Jackie Battle and Ronnie Brown, defenses won't be keying on Floyd.
He's going to face a lot more man coverage situations, regardless of the opponent, and be set up nicely off play-action. If there's any concern it has to be with the pass protection. After Rivers was sacked five times against New Orleans, opponents will bring the pain more often.
This only affects Floyd in terms of yards after the catch. Quicker developing plays to negate the blitz will get him more targets, it just won't allow him to get downfield as much. The running game, however, is more important than at first glance.
Most certainly this will take away some of Floyd's targets and yards altogether. What it also does is give San Diego balance and keep him against man coverage. No defense will double-team Floyd if Mathews and Co. is producing on the ground.
Thus far Floyd is averaging 17.9 yards per catch and that will continue, as well as more touchdown opportunities inside the red zone.
Follow John Rozum on Twitter.