Everyone knows the song. Whether it was your mom’s favorite tune or the weird throwback that nobody really liked but was always played at middle school dances, you’ve heard it time and again.
“Why do you build me up (build me up), buttercup baby just to let me down?”
The buildup was there—Rivers was ranked among the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks by just about every major site prior to the season. He didn’t even start the season too badly, producing at least decent numbers in four of his first five games.
The letdown, however, was never far away.
After those first five games, things got truly pathetic. The four-interception, two-fumble travesty Rivers emitted against Denver in Week 6 that allowed the Broncos to complete a 24-point comeback on Monday Night Football now feels more like a weekly possibility than an unfortunate aberration.
Through Week 9, Rivers has posted one good game, four average outings, three complete duds and a bye week. That’s good enough for the 26th-best point total among fantasy quarterbacks this season. He has thrown for more than 300 yards just once and has posted more turnovers (13) than touchdowns (12).
The most frightening thing, however, and the reason Rivers is not even worth a spot on fantasy squads anymore, is that there’s no longer any reason to believe he can turn it around.
Five of the Chargers’ first eight games were against defenses that rank among the seven worst in the NFL. Rivers committed eight turnovers and threw just two touchdowns against the other three defenses—Atlanta, Denver and Cleveland—and posted fantasy scores in the single digits in each game.
The receiving weapons around Rivers are limited. With Vincent Jackson gone, Malcom Floyd has been the only consistent option at wide receiver. The normally fantastic Antonio Gates is having an off year.
If we can recognize how poorly Rivers is playing, then the Chargers can, too. It’s looking more and more like they’ll stay away from an aggressive passing attack, sticking with Ryan Mathews on the ground and using Rivers for short, safe passes to limit turnovers.
Getting rid of the Chargers quarterback now is his fantasy owners’ best bet. Snag whatever value you can for him in deeper leagues, or simply replace him with one of the many quarterbacks who have outperformed him and will be available in smaller leagues.
But whatever you do, don’t let him build you up again—Rivers will continue to be projected for big numbers, but he will let you down in the long run.