4 Dynasty Players to Buy Now

Earlier this off-season I went over the guys I would look to sell high on for value. Now I want to get into players I am interested in buying in dynasty. To be clear, this is not saying to go out and pay a premium for these guys. However, I do believe some of them could be a value in your league. Some of these guys are players who others might be too low on for various reasons. Others were limited by injury and that might lead to them being available at a discount. Here is part 1 of the players I like as dynasty buys:

Dak Prescott

In fantasy, people never seem that high on Dak, but all 3 seasons of his NFL career he has finished the year as a QB1. In each season he has also rushed for 6 TDs. It’s a part of his game that will add value every season for fantasy. Dak has been consistent for fantasy and real life football purposes over his career. He has a career 66.1% completion percentage, 1.7% interception percentage, and a record of 32-16. He seems to be perpetually undervalued and that is why I see him as a great buy. In 2019 redraft leagues, he will be undervalued and a player I will target. In Dynasty, I am looking to add him everywhere I can.

2018 did not start off well for Dak but once Dallas traded for Amari Cooper he was a different player. He played 7 games without Cooper and 9 with him. The table below illustrates how Dak’s numbers look with and without Amari:

Passing YPGCompletion %TD%Fantasy PPG
Without Cooper202.4362.14%3.88%16.04
With Cooper27%.2271.25&4.38%19.29

At the pace he was playing with Cooper, he would have finished as the QB8 over a full 16-game season. Things are trending up for the Cowboys’ offense heading into 2019. Zeke became more involved in the passing game, Cooper changed the offense for the better with his arrival and Jason Witten announced his return from retirement. Witten will not put up numbers that will stand out, but he will help keep drives alive on 3rd downs. This will lead to more opportunities for Dak and the Cowboys to score both real and fantasy points. If Travis Frederick can return from his health issues, then this Cowboys offense can take off in 2019.

Dante Pettis

Last year, I was all in on Kenny Golladay as a breakout WR and this year I feel the same about Dante Pettis. While they are different types of players physically, I am expecting Pettis to take a big step forward in 2019. Both showed flashes in their rookie seasons, but missed time with injuries. Pettis comes into this season with an easier path to volume than Golladay in 2018. Other than George Kittle, the passing hierarchy in San Francisco is not clear. If they were to cut Pierre Garcon, even though he will shave a large dead cap hit, then it sends a message that the 49ers are ready to get their younger wide receivers into the game. Marquise Goodwin is still on the team, but he is best served as a deep threat. He has never caught more than 56 passes in a season and has a career catch rate of 49.4%. Goodwin also has a history with injuries that needs to be taken into account.

Even though it was a small sample, when Pettis was fully healthy for a 4 week stretch he averaged 18.8 points a game in PPR and was the WR 8 in that time frame. He scored 5 TDs on the season and averaged over 17 yards per reception. He did most of this without Garoppolo under center in those games; if both are healthy in 2019 it could be the start of a great connection between 2 talented young players.

Pettis is my favorite target this offseason with a weak free agent class at WR and other needs to address at the top of the draft, it doesn’t seem likely a high profile addition is coming to San Francisco in 2019. Unless the 49ers make a big splash by trading for Antonio Brown, the path to targets is clear for Dante Pettis. There are other young wide receivers on the roster he will need to compete with, but in my opinion Pettis is the most talented of them and that talent will win out going into 2019.

Marlon Mack

I was high on Mack going into 2018 and even though he missed 4 games, he did not disappoint. In 12 games, he finished as the 21st RB in PPR leagues. However, the number that really stands out is he was 14th in fantasy points per game. Over the last 10 games of the season once fully healthy, Mack averaged just over 16 carries per game for 4.8 yards per carry and scored 10 total TDs. The Colts won 9 of those 10 games, the only loss coming in an ugly game at Jacksonville, which was also the worst game Mack had all season. People still do not seem to believe in Mack as an NFL back or for fantasy, which I think is a mistake. It also presents an opportunity to buy him as a value before he gets a lot more expensive.

With the improvement along the offensive line for the Colts and the return to form for Andrew Luck, getting volume in this offense is going to be very valuable for fantasy. The Colts do have a ton of cap space available, but because of what I see in Mack I do not expect them to go spend big money on a free agent like Le’Veon Bell. Throwing a ton of money at a position where production is so replaceable is not what smart teams do. The Colts are going to compete to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl and Mack is going to be a large part of it. The Colts already spent 2 picks on RBs last year so the depth chart is all young RBs, using a higher pick in the draft on one does not make sense. If Mack is healthy, he is secure in his job as the starter and I expect him to be on a lot of playoff teams in 2019.

Hunter Henry

Going into 2018 I was very high on Hunter Henry, so when he tore his ACL it was rough for me. Now after seeing players like Kittle and Howard break out in 2018, Henry is probably going to end up ranked lower than he should be. In 2018, we were expecting to see Henry without Gates syphoning off targets, but the breakout I expected was derailed by the injury. Henry has already shown he is a dangerous Red Zone weapon. In his first two seasons, he was targeted 28 times and scored 10 TDs.

The Tight End situation for the Chargers was not pretty in 2018. Henry was replaced with a combination of old Antonio Gates and Virgil Green. They combined for 72 targets and 3 TDs. This is not normal for Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ offense historically. In 2017, Henry and Gates combined for 114 targets and 7 TDs. In 2016, they combined for 146 targets and 12 TDs. With Henry back on the field the Chargers will go back to involving the TE more. It will not go back to 2016 levels because that was the year Keenan Allen went down for the season in week 1. I do believe the target volume will come in closer to 2017, which means Henry will have a lot of value.

Henry represents a huge upgrade athletically for the Chargers at TE. Gates is well past his prime and Green is better served as a blocker than a pass catcher. I am very happy to have Henry on IR on 2 of my dynasty teams and if I can add him in any other leagues before his value gets back to where it should be, then I will pay the discounted price with a smile.

Hakeem Butler: the Underrated 4 Star Prospect

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full database of 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer. All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

Hakeem Butler (6’6″, 225), Wide Receiver, Iowa State           

21 Aggregate Score (4 Star Prospect)

Hakeem Butler is one of my favorite top tier receivers. I probably have him higher than most at the moment. He’s the best receiver in this class at his size. With him having a 6’6 frame, he’s bigger than most tight ends and definitely receivers.

This caused me to look at those who may have come before him to see what kind of success bigger receivers had and there hasn’t been many. Since 1989 (last 30 years), only 10 receivers his height or taller have managed game time of any sort. The most successful was QB convert Matt Jones with a season of 54 receptions on 107 targets for 761 yards and 2 TDs. The next best and most recent were Brandon Coleman and Tanner McEvoy. Coleman was waived from the Saints practice squad in 2018 and McEvoy was waived January of this year by the Bills.

The biggest difference between all these guys and Butler is that he’s had a much more productive career thus far and has a chance to be the best 6’6 non-TE the NFL has ever seen.


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College Production: 

RECYDsYard/CatchTD
2017 (Junior)4169717.07
2018 (Senior)601,31822.09

When you look at his statistics from his junior year, his yards and yards per catch standout. Considering he was on the middle to low end of receptions, he did very well for what he caught.

When you watch his tape you can absolutely see why. It also helps that he was in a respectable offense with a running back that will more than likely go in the top 6: David Montgomery. Butler definitely made them pay for having to respect Montgomery and his greatness from the backfield.

Speed/Acceleration: Aggregate Score: 3.3 (Personal Score: 4)

I’m higher on Butler than the other raters but I think it’s warranted. He’s not a gazelle no, but he moves very fast and has some great acceleration both in his routes and after the catch. I think it played a huge part in his YPC being so high.

Route Running: Aggregate Score: 4.6 (Personal Score: 5)

He has a great two-point stance & is smooth on his routes. From the tape I watched, he looks to be able to run the whole tree and that from each receiver position on the field. Iowa State definitely used him correctly and seemed to have gotten the most out of him.

Blocking: Aggregate Score: 3.3 (Personal Score: 2)

I’m a lot lower in this aspect because I didn’t see the desire to block from him nor the scheme to have him as a blocking receiver. Nothing so bad that it will hurt his stock and it can be improved if necessary.

Handwork/Positioning: Aggregate Score: 5 (Personal Score: 5)

We all agree that this kid has the ability to use his hands and it’s not his catching (although he’s good at that too); it’s his hand-fighting.

He’s so deceptive that you might even miss the moves he uses to create such great separation. He probably uses this trait more in tandem with his other abilities than any other prospect in this draft and that’s exactly what I love about him.

Athleticism: Aggregate Score: 4.6 (Personal Score: 4)                                                                                                    

The way he catches the ball is like artwork. He utilizes his size and frame to make things happen that solidify him in the top tier of receivers this draft. He also has some ups that make jump balls ridiculous for a defensive back (usually between 5’9-6’2) to even imagine going up and fighting for.

Conclusion: Top 5 pick

There should be no way he slides outside of the top 5 and I won’t have it any other way. If he falls to me outside of there, I will rejoice! My thing is really what NFL teams decide to do with him. I really hope they keep him as a mismatch wideout vs making him shift to tight end. It would be a shame. He’s way better at moving around the field and being a super mobile big-bodied weapon. He’s what some people wish JJ Arcega-Whiteside could be. Hakeem Butler is the real deal!

Dynasty Stashes Being Drafted Outside the Top 150

There are few better feelings in dynasty football then hitting on a late round flier.  Hitting on a flier can be that final piece that pushes your team over the top and make you a contender for years to come.  Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to figure out which late round guys will pay off.  The recipe for a late round pick to become a fantasy stud includes being talented, having opportunity and having upside when given the opportunity.  Based on these characteristics, I’ve found 4 late round players that you should be buying or drafting that can potentially become quality fantasy players in 2019 and beyond.

WR Antonio Calloway, Cleveland Browns (July ADP: 162 Overall, WR 75)

Antonio Calloway is one of my favorite late round fliers this year.  There is no doubt that Calloway is extremely talented, but due to multiple off-the-field issues and being suspended for the whole 2017 season, Calloway dropped to the 4th round in the 2017 draft.  If this wasn’t bad enough, Calloway got drafted to the Cleveland Browns, which seem to be loaded at the wide receiver position.  Perceived to be below Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman on the depth chart, it is hard to see a scenario where Calloway is fantasy relevant in 2018.  However, with reports of the Browns trying to trade Coleman and Gordon becoming a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) after the 2018 season, there is a realistic shot of Calloway becoming the WR 2 in Cleveland for 2019 and beyond.  If Calloway can get the opportunity and he can stay out of trouble, his talent should show, which could cause him to become a top 30 wide receiver.

WR Taywan Taylor, Tennessee Titans (July ADP: 180 Overall, WR 80)

When Taywan Taylor was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he quickly became one of the dynasty community’s favorite late round rookie picks.  Over shadowed by 5th overall pick Corey Davis, Taylor was slipping to the 3rd round or later in almost every rookie draft, and his value hasn’t seen much of an increase since.  Although Taylor saw limited work and production in 2017, there are a couple of signs that say Taylor could find some major value as early as next season.  One reason is the Tennessee Titans decision to enter the 21st century and bring in Matt LaFleur as the Offensive Coordinator.  LaFleur spent last season as the Los Angeles Rams OC, where he helped lead the Rams to become one of the top offenses in the league.  There is a ton of hope that Lafleur can bring over what he learned under Sean McVay and help develop this offense under Marcus Mariota.  Another reason to be hopeful for Taylor is the fact that Rishard Matthews is scheduled to be an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) after the 2018 season.  If Matthews were to walk and sign somewhere else after 2018, Taylor would be primed to become 2nd in the pecking order for receptions.  If all of that weren’t enough for you, according to playerprofiler.com, Taylor’s SPARQ metrics are comparable to Doug Baldwin, one of the top receivers in the league.

RB Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons (July ADP: 192 Overall, RB 61)

Before being picked in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Ito Smith was very productive at Southern Mississippi.  Along with 3 straight 1000+ yard rushing seasons, Smith put up at least 40 receptions and 390 receiving yards in each of his last 3 seasons.  Being a smaller back (5’9”, 200 lbs.), Smith profiles to primarily be a 3rd down back in the NFL.  Luckily for fantasy owners, Smith landed in Atlanta, who has shown that they incorporate running backs into their passing game.  Unfortunately, Smith is currently behind Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman on the 2018 depth chart.  But as you probably have heard, Coleman is set to be an UFA after the 2018 season.  If Coleman were to leave Atlanta, which most of us expect, then Smith could find himself in a huge role in the Atlanta offense alongside Devonta Freeman.

RB James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers (July ADP: 202 Overall, RB 67)

There is no doubt that James Conner is one of the best stories to enter the NFL in a long time.  After being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2015, Conner battled back to play a full 2016 season at Pitt.  In 13 games, Conner accumulated 1092 rushing yards, 302 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns.  This stellar production led to Conner being picked in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.   Currently slated as Le’Veon Bell’s backup, it is hard to see a scenario in which Conner produces any fantasy relevance in 2018.  The promising thing for Conner is that Bell is scheduled to become a UFA in 2018.  Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, Bell and the Steelers failed to come to an agreement on a contract extension, which means that Bell will most likely be on a different team in 2019.  Now, I am not going to sit here and tell you that James Conner is going to become the next Le’Veon Bell.  However, Conner is a very powerful runner that has shown he can produce in the rushing game and help out in the passing game.  If Conner is given the opportunity to be a starter, he could have top 24 upside in 2019 and beyond.

* All ADP is based on www.dynastyleaguefootball.com July ADP

** All stats are curtesy of www.sports-reference.com

*** All contract information is curtesy of www.spotrac.com

Giant Confusion; The Numbers Don’t Add Up Without Eli

Recently, I’ve recognized a confusing trend. Fantasy analysts are overwhelmingly and appropriately giving love to Odell Beckham Jr, Saquon Barkley, and Evan Engram. Even though they are giving this love to the offensive players, they are still ranking Eli Manning as middling or failing. Even our own Top 2 consensus rankings have OBJ at WR2, Saquon at RB5, Engram at TE4, but Eli Manning is QB23. I conclude that the rankings of these players do not add up OR the fantasy community has the non-QB skilled positions ranked too high.

For a little background to how I came to that conclusion, let’s consider 2017 results.

RB WR TE QB
Hunt (RB4) Tyreek (WR9) Kelce (TE1) Smith (QB4)
Gordon (RB5) Allen (WR3) Henry/Gates (TE5) Rivers (QB8)

As you can see, players who are ranked high at their position equate positively for the QB. I can instantly hear your arguments against my, thus far, simplistic reasoning. Allow me to elaborate a bit.

Projecting Eli’s Floor

I’m not claiming that Eli will be the QB4 like Alex Smith in 2017. We are hard pressed to find a game-manager QB like Smith. He runs more than Eli and he is far more efficient in his interception rate (Last 5 years, Smith has a 1.4% to Eli’s 2.9%). To accomodate these differences, let’s take Alex Smith’s legs and efficiency last season and match them to Eli’s by adding 8 more interceptions while removing 330 yards rushing (subtract 49 points). Alex Smith is still the QB14. We can use this number to project a potential floor.

Projecting Eli’s Ceiling

I think the best argument for how Eli Manning should be ranked based on the projected stats of his receiving targets can be made by looking at Philip Rivers’ results in 2017. Their team makeup of 2017 is almost identical to the projections for the Giants in 2018. They had a clear #1 receiver in Keenan Allen just like the Giants have with Odell Beckham Jr., a clear bell-cow RB in Melvin Gordon (just like Saquon Barkley), and a solid TE combo in Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates who equaled the output of Evan Engram in 2017. Similar to Eli Manning, Rivers makes a lot of passing attempts and throws a lot of interceptions. Also like Eli, Philip Rivers simply does not run the ball.

Using these stats and projections, I believe the ceiling for Eli Manning is QB8 in 2018.

The Missing Game

In Week 13, the soon-to-be-ousted Ben McAdoo benched Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith. The game was against a subpar Oakland Raiders defense. Granting Eli Manning a modest game of 250 yards and 2 touchdowns, he would have finished 2017 as the QB16. That’s right, with no running game, a bunch of injured receivers, and a rookie Tight End, Eli Manning would have finished the season 16th overall instead of 23rd.

Final Thoughts

If there are any naysayers or Giants haters who simply cannot project Eli better than a QB20, then those friendly analysts will need to drop their projections of OBJ, Barkley, or Engram. It is quite difficult to have a successful result at all 3 positions without having a successful QB. The addition of Saquon Barkley will take some of those 2017 pass attempts away, but it will also open the field for the receivers. I anticipate that this will improve Eli’s efficiency.

For the record, I have Eli at QB16. I have OBJ and Barkley right around their ADP according to Fantasy Football Calculator, but I have Engram much lower (TE9 as of today). With the addition of Barkley, the health of OBJ, and the skill of Sterling Shepherd, I don’t believe there are enough targets to make Engram as valuable as he was in 2017 when he was the only healthy target left on the team.

There is a potential 2018 where Eli Manning could finish the season as a top 10 QB in fantasy. If other analysts want to keep projecting OBJ, Barkley, and Engram at their current rankings, then they better take a long hard look at their QB rankings and adjust accordingly.

Chicago State of Mind: Buy or Sell Bears Edition

If I had to have a mindset for when I think about Chicago, it would be: worrisome. Through some of my research, I came up on some disturbing news: the Bears haven’t had a top 36 fantasy wide receiver in the last three years. Now, granted, we can excuse last year when they had Who, Freaking and Cares as their starting receivers. In 2016, however, both Cam Meredith (42) and Alshon Jeffery (57) ranked outside the top 36. Both ended up with 800+ yards/90+ targets but failed to crack the 100 target/1,000 yard threshold. 2015 was no better with only Alshon achieving pretty much what he did in 2016. I’m afraid that we will see an underwhelming Allen Robinson in the same position.

This Has to Be the Year Right?

Knowing that those two are gone now and the whole receiver corps has been retooled, we have to have at least one guy in those 3 tiers right? There should be and here’s why.

The Bears have since hired first year head coach Matt Nagy from the Andy Reid coaching tree. What we know about those offenses is that they don’t Fox things up. He’s worked with a whole lot of Alex Smith in his time as a quarterbacks coach. It gives me hope for sophomore quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who has suffered under the grimy hand of John Fox. A big part of the fantasy community has been predicting that he will have a resurgence similar to when Jeff Fisher left the Rams causing that offense to take off. I see it happening, just not to the extent the Rams had. Trubisky is a more athletic QB than Goff and I believe we will see his rushing numbers increase over last years number of 41 for 248. It’d be crazy if we saw that double because that would be knocking on the door of Cohen’s attempts. I do believe that Trubisky will see an increase in passing numbers too, just not as much as Goff’s.

Because I don’t believe that Trubisky’s passing numbers will balloon as Goff’s did, I don’t think the Bears will have more than one wideout over 800 yards. I think with the way this offense is built, it’ll end up being Allen Robinson, Burton and Cohen atop the target chart. After that tier, I see Gabriel and Howard coming in next.

Growth is the Propane for Change

For such a paltry offense last year, I do see a change on the horizon for this team in 2018. Here’s my outlook for the prominent weapons for fantasy.

Allen Robinson

I like him in the second tier of receiver (13-24) as long as he can stay healthy. He has the tools to become a higher end receiver but it won’t happen this year with a new coach, different scheme and recovery from injury.

Taylor Gabriel

He was used as a gadget player in Atlanta and really similar to the Cohen/Tyreek build. With him and Cohen on the field, it’s going to be really fun to watch. So much elite speed together from the slot and backfield. He’ll end up as the third passing option (barring a Kevin White breakout) behind Robinson and Burton. Gabriel will be most teams’ 4th or 5th receiver drafted but will be worth the roster spot.

Trey Burton

Nagy has already mentioned how he’ll be used like Kelce was and that he will have him everywhere in the offense with Shaheen being more of an in-line blocking tight end. Burton will be able to create mismatches with linebackers on the inside and be the security blanket this young QB needs. I see Trey falling into the 8-12 range for tight ends.

Jordan Howard

I have him as a back end top tier running back (12th). He was 7th in total touches and I don’t see him losing much of that to Trubisky and Cohen. The only reason I won’t rank him higher is due to all of the pass catching work essentially going to Cohen.

Tarik Cohen

I get more excited than a kid at a candy corral with this guy. He was so electrifying last year catching passes and blowing by guys out of the backfield. Another one that Nagy has specifically mentioned having an increased role, I see him landing as a third tier running back with tier two capability. I have him ranked way higher (27) than my cohorts at Top 2 (unranked) and I didn’t realize how big that gap was until today.

Mitchell Trubisky

He embodies what I want in a fantasy QB, dual capability. Scoring normally always favors those types of QBs. He will end up being a great QB2 or streaming candidate depending on how you run your team. Our consensus rank has him at 17.

On the surface, this offense looks ready to take the leap and it resembles the Kansas City offense from last year, but they won’t. It’s going to take some time and we have to be patient. Trubisky possibly has a small scale Gronkowski on his hands in Shaheen (great dynasty asset) and Anthony Miller will be a starter within this offense very soon. Not to mention eyes should be kept on Bennie Fowler, Tanner Gentry (one of my favorites) and Javon Wims who is no slouch either. Don’t sleep on the Bears!

Philip Rivers: A Contenders Dream

When determining a player’s dynasty value, there are some different characteristics to consider.  The main characteristics considered are age, production, opportunity/potential and injury history.  When it comes to Philip Rivers, he matches all but one of these key boxes.  The only checkmark I can find against Rivers is the fact that he is 36 years old.  Yet in dynasty start-up drafts, according to fantasyfootbalcalculator.com, he is currently being drafted as the QB 21, behind the likes of Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, Jameis Winston and others that have larger concerns then Rivers does.  At this value, I believe that Rivers is a steal and can provide huge value for contending teams.

Old Reliable

Philip Rivers is the definition of being reliable.  Rivers leads all active QBs with 201 consecutive starts, dating back to 2006! The next closest QB is Matt Ryan at 140 consecutive starts.  Since Rivers is consistently on the field, he also consistently finishes as a top 12 QB in fantasy.  Since 2008, Rivers has been a top 12 QB in all but one season (ffstatistics.com). Even though he is older than the likes of Ryan, Carr and Winston, Rivers’ consistency and production greatly outweighs the vast majority of options at the QB position.  Let’s take a look at Rivers finishes in 4 pt./td leagues against the younger options listed above.

 

Year Philip Rivers Matt Ryan Derek Car Jameis Winston
2017 QB 7 QB 15 QB 21 QB 22
2016 QB 11 QB 2 QB 13 QB 16
2015 QB 12 QB 19 QB 14 QB 13
2014 QB 12 QB 7 QB 20
2013 QB 4 QB 14
2012 QB 21 QB 7
2011 QB 9 QB 8
2010 QB 5 QB 8
2009 QB 7 QB 19
2008 QB 3 QB 15

Great Weapons

The Los Angeles Chargers have done a great job of surrounding Philip Rivers with weapons that should help him succeed for at least the next couple of seasons.

Running Back:  The headline of this group is Melvin Gordon.  The former 1st round pick is entering his 4th season and seems to be improving each year.  According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), last year Gordon ranked as a top 12 running back despite being very inefficient in terms of YPC.  The main reason for this ranking is Gordon’s contribution in the passing game.  Gordon jumped to 83 targets in 2017, hauled in 58 receptions and added 4 receiving touchdowns. Melvin Gordon adding this aspect to his game allows for the Chargers to be creative and not become predictable. Between Gordon, Austin Eckler and the newly added Justin Jackson, Rivers has some great receiving options coming out of the backfield.

Wide Receivers:  The Chargers wide receiver group is led by Keenan Allen.  Keenan Allen has shown that when he is healthy, he is one of the best receivers in the game.  In 2017, Allen graded out as the WR 5 according to PFF. Allen showed that he is fully recovered from his torn ACL and has all the skills to be a top WR in the NFL.  Keenan Allen will be paired with 2nd year receiver Mike Williams.  The 7th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft experienced an injury riddled rookie season.  With a full offseason to recover, Williams should be able to bounce back in 2018 and provide Rivers with another great receiving option, especially in the red zone.  Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin will also be viable options for Rivers in 2018.

All Signs Point to A Couple of More Years

When looking at his stats from 2017, Rivers is showing no signs of slowing down. Playing in his 14th season, Rivers put up 4515 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.  This was good for Rivers’ 4th highest amount of passing yards in a season and 3rd lowest amount of interceptions in his career, when looking at full seasons.  Assuming there is no massive drop-off or major injury, Rivers seems to be aging like a fine wine and has what it takes to be a top 15 QB for the next couple of seasons.

The Los Angeles Chargers also seem to believe that Rivers has multiple years left in the tank.  The Chargers, who are quietly putting together a Super Bowl caliber team, have failed to majorly address the QB position, as opposed to teams like the Steelers and Giants, who used decent draft equity to snag young QBs.  As is, the only other QBs on the Charger’s depth chart are Geno Smith, Cardale Jones and Nic Shimonek. If the Chargers were truly concerned about Rivers regressing or possibly retiring, I would think that they would have made a strong push to find a quality candidate to be River’s replacement in the last couple of years.