A Tale of Two Rivers: 2013 Philip Rivers Preview

 

courtesy of Lastangryfan.com

Do you remember where you were during this game last year? I do. I was watching at a bar in Pismo Beach CA. I had DT on a few of my teams, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire second half. I witnessed Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos orchestrate one of the greatest comebacks I have personally seen live on television. I also saw Philip Rivers play a great first half as well as one the most anemic second halves. Such has been the trademark of Philip Rivers the last two years. Inconsistency… has doomed San Diego, as well as most of your fantasy teams he QB’s for. Going into this season I didn’t see much in San Diego except for maybe Vincent Brown. Then, last week that all changed.

After winning a 2013 copy of The Late Round Quarterback by JJ Zachariason on Twitter last week (if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it), and spending the last few days reading it, I got to thinking about which quarterback/s I could target to implement his strategy in my 2013 redraft leagues. I poured over the ADP at Fantasypros.com, and found one QB in particular to be extremely enticing indeed. Good ol’ “Marmalade”… Philip Michael Rivers.

We all remember the glory days. Late summer evenings spent waxing poetic at the potency of building a team around the prowess that was the San Diego Chargers. The whole team oozed talent.  Ladanian Tomlinson galloped through defenses with the ease of a Serengeti antelope (to this day I still have a powder blue LT jersey hanging in my closet).  Antonio Gates unleashed juggernaut scoring a la  Rob Gronkowski, and Vincent Jackson feasted on defensive backs, as well as your fantasy opponents weekly. Harnessing these talents was a perennial fantasy stud… Philip Rivers. A lightning bolt hurling, Zeus like statue, Rivers was a stalwart of teams making deep runs into the playoffs. He was a celebrated name, a QB no one hesitated to pull the trigger on early in drafts, knowing the kind of production they would get. Then the wheels fell off at the end of the 2010.

We unfortunately know the story, LT signed with the Jets, Gates’ body imploded and Vjax staged a holdout of epic proportions before taking his talents to the Gulf Coast of Florida. San Diego’s offensive line aged and deteriorated. The Ryan Matthews experiment has been a failure of epic proportions, and not surprisingly, Philip Rivers suffered the worst two years of his career.

I won’t bore you with fancy stats. If you want to see Rivers’ career production/stats you may do so here. Simply put, 2011 and 2012 equated to increased INT’s and decreased YPG and TD’s. Consequently, Rivers burned fantasy owners both years. We are talking deep, third-degree emotional scarring.

Yet, while the wounds may be fresh,  if there is one thing we look for in our teams each and every year it has to be value. Readers… Philip Michael Rivers has that in spades for 2013. Let me open your eyes and in turn, pour salve on your healing wounds.

Rivers’ current ADP is 132, and he his being drafted right now as the 18th QB. In twelve team leagues that puts him squarely in the 11th round. Am I crazy for thinking that is incredible value? Maybe I am manically brimming with excitement here; and if it was only his ADP I was excited about, that statement about my mania may be correct. However there is more than just ADP to get excited about.

San Diego has a new head coach in Mike McCoy, who worked miracles with in Denver with Kyle Orton, as well as “he who shall not be named” (in case you don’t know I am referring to a Mr. Timothy Tebow). Then last year McCoy masterfully revamped the Broncos offense with Peyton Manning at the helm, utilizing multiple WR and TE sets.

In addition to adding a new coach, SD upgraded their o-line via the draft with D.J. Fluker and inked King Dunlap in free agency. They have a budding route technician in Vincent Brown, both Danario Alexander and Antonio Gates seem to finally be healthy, and signed underrated RB Danny Wood head to help in pass protection, and with third down duties.

There are some in the fantasy community who fear Rivers’ mechanics failed him last year. That his foot work was poor, and that he made terrible decisions, resulting in too many INT’s. I believe this was more the result of shoddy protection than declining skill and that Rivers’ mechanics will be fixed under the tutelage of McCoy. I think it is safe to project rebound numbers for 2013.

As a final indicator that Rivers may just be that late round diamond, let’s look at the Chargers’ 2013 season. You can view it here. In all honesty I see the toughest defenses Rivers facing is SEA and SF in the preseason! The best defenses he plays all regular season are Houston (possibly without Ed Reed), KC, and perhaps Denver (although we saw how Flacco carved up their D in the playoffs). In the other eleven games, Rivers should shine on your fantasy squad.

All in all Rivers has a pretty decent shot at exponentially out producing his current ADP this year. That means serious value for savvy owners like yourself who snag him late in your fantasy drafts. But don’t take my advice, head on over to Lateroundqb.com and do your self a favor by procuring a copy of this years book . It served as inspiration for this article, and I have no doubt it could absolutely be the difference between finishing second and holding the prize money come championship night!

Follow me on Twitter @realABC and follow JJ Zachariason @lateroundQB

 

P.S. Our FakePigskin 2013 Draft Guide will be released on August 1st in PDF form for FREE! Simply go to our home page and sign up to receive it and our newsletter in the upper right corner right under our banner.

 

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