I'm back for round three of my fantasy preview for the 2010 season. This time I'm going to take a look at the San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers finished an impressive 13-3 in 2009 and took first in the AFC West. San Diego's offense flew high last year, especially with Philip Rivers slinging the ball down the field. A few questions are arising for the Bolts and their lack of a rushing attack.
What will they do without LaDainian Tomlinson? Will Darren Sproles even be with the team? Are they going to run the ball at all? (Well, that may be a little absurd. I'm sure Rivers will have a few quarterback sneaks for first downs.)
Remember, you can check out the other fantasy previews I'm doing on my archive page. The link is listed below. And just a reminder that these predictions may change before the season starts off. Enjoy!
When it comes to attitude and confidence, Rivers has it. That makes him one of the more hated quarterbacks in the NFL. But he sure does put up solid stat lines.
Rivers surpassed 4,200 yards and threw for 28 touchdowns in 2009. In nine of his 16 games, he had multiple touchdowns, and he managed to surpass 300 passing yards five times.
Rivers will have to carry this offense in 2010, which could help or hurt him. Sure he will be throwing more, but defenses will be keying on him. Will his production fall? With his skill set, I find it hard to say yes. Losing LT and possibly Darren Sproles will not help. Pay close attention to what happens with Sproles.
Rivers should be selected in the first three rounds of most drafts. His draft selection will depend on when quarterbacks begin to fall off the board. Rivers should be in the top five selected quarterback this year, with only the likes of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers going ahead of him.
Prediction: 4.300 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions.
Sproles was a big disappointment for most fantasy owners in 2009. Most people expected LT to go down with an injury or hand over the reigns to Sproles, but that never happened.
He actually had one of his worst years statistically, averaging less than four yards per carry for the first time in his career. He saved his season with some good numbers in the receiving category, totaling just under 500 yards receiving and four touchdowns.
2010 will be a mystery for most owners regarding Sproles. Do the Chargers keep him and bring in another back, or do they trade him and begin a new era of running backs. No one really knows as of right now except for the front office guys. If he does remain in San Diego, expect him to have a more enhanced role than last year, but I highly doubt he will be a true No. 1 back.
Sproles will probably be overvalued again this year, with less informed owners thinking he will be the only guy getting carries. He can be a valuable No. 2 back in points per reception leagues, but standard leagues will keep him at a solid No. 3. You can expect Sproles to be taken in round six or seven in most drafts.
Prediction: 150 rushing attempts, 650 yards, 6 touchdowns, 60 receptions, 600 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns.
As of right now, Marcus Mason figures to be the guy that will be competing for carries with Sproles. This goes to show you how bad the Chargers running back situation is right now.
Mason isn't a bad option, but he is unproven. In 2009 with the Redskins, Mason accumulated 127 yards on 32 carries and 58 yards on six receptions. Three of his runs did go for more than 10 yards, proving that he can find the hole and break off decent runs.
There is no way to tell if Mason will play a major role in the Chargers backfield or not at this time. If San Diego doesn't sign a free agent back, one will almost certainly be taken in the draft. His chances will solely be decided on who the Chargers bring in.
Mason will most likely not be chosen in drafts. Keep an eye out though. If Sproles goes down with an injury or no other back steps up, Mason can be in line for some meaningful carries and be a good waiver wire pick up.
Prediction: 50 carries, 225 yards, 1 touchdown, 20 receptions, 250 yards receiving, 0 touchdowns.
Hester will be the starting fullback for the Chargers in 2010. He will get a few opportunities to vulture some touchdowns and get a few touches each game due to the lack of firepower in the backfield.
Hester will not be taken in most drafts. Pick him up if you ever are desperate for a flex option. He may get a touchdown for you.
Prediction: 50 carries, 200 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns, 20 receptions, 150 yards receiving, 0 touchdowns.
V-Jax embraced the No. 1 role and showed some real skill in 2009, earning him his first Pro Bowl. Jackson caught nine touchdowns and accumulated 1,167 yards receiving. He also had nine games with double digit fantasy points and three games with at least 20 points.
In 2010 you can expect more of the same from Jackson. Teams will know the pass is coming, but with Antonio Gates getting attention as well it will be tough to double either. Jackson will get some one-on-one coverages down field because of Gates. Look for Rivers to make the connection.
Jackson figures to be one of top receivers taken in this years fantasy draft. He finished in the top 10 last year in standard ESPN scoring and seems to be getting better. Expect Jackson to be taken somewhere in the third round.
Prediction: 80 receptions, 1,200 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns.
Floyd did little to impress anyone in the early part of 2009. After the Chris Chambers release, Floyd played consistent ball the rest of the year. When Vincent Jackson didn't play in the final game of the year, Floyd blew up and caught nine passes for 140 yards.
Floyd will be the No. 2 receiver going into 2010. The one thing he does have going for him is the Chargers will be passing a lot. With Jackson and Gates seeing double teams quite often Floyd should get some opportunities to show his stuff.
Floyd will be considered a fourth or fifth wide receiver going into drafts because of his lack of production last year. Use this to your advantage and grab him in the later rounds. He has some upside and can break out against teams who are lacking good number two or nickel corners.
Prediction: 45 receptions, 650 yards receiving, 3 touchdowns.
This guy is as consistent as they come in terms of tight ends. Last year, Gates just missed 80 receptions, topped 1,100 yards receiving, and found the end zone eight times. Another big stat; he has only fumbled three times in his seven year career. Impressive, I know.
2010 will bring about another great year to be Antonio Gates. Now that Vincent Jackson has established himself as a true No. 1 receiver, Gates will see less double teams. That means more receptions, more yards, and more touchdowns. Can you say Yahtzee!
Gates will be one of the first tight ends taken off the board. He puts up wide receiver-like numbers so it's understandable that he will go around the fifth round. Don't expect him to last much longer than that.
Prediction: 85 receptions, 1,200 yards receiving, 10 touchdowns.
Kaeding had the best year of his career in 2009, putting up 146 total points. He only missed three field goals, and they were all over 40 yards.
The Chargers may be losing a little bit of offensive fire power with the lack of a running game. That should put up a green flag to grab Kaeding. He should have more opportunities, and that equals more points.
Don't grab Kaeding until the last round of the draft. He should be there unless someone really wants him. Otherwise, he's yours for the taking.
Prediction: 34/39 field goals made, 50/50 extra points made.
The Chargers defense was middle of the pack last year in terms of fantasy numbers. Not that surprising when you consider the offense is being geared towards putting up a lot of points.
This year it may get worse for the Chargers. The loss of Antonio Cromartie will hurt and Shawne Merriman appears to be a shell of his former self. There appear to be few bright spots on this defense.
The Chargers defense doesn't appear to be getting better this year. But then again, you never know in the NFL. There are better defenses out there, so I would avoid drafting them.
Prediction: 15 interceptions, 10 fumbles recovered, 2 touchdowns.