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QB Philip Rivers - San Diego Chargers

6-5, 228Born: 12-8-1981College: North Carolina StateDrafted: Round 1, pick 4

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Photo: Denny Medley, US Presswire

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News you need to know

From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Oct 17): The Chargers settled for field goals and nursing their lead for most of the win over the Broncos, but Rivers was effective early and could have had a solid fantasy day if the came script called for it. He'll go to Atlanta this week in what should be a high-scoring and streamable game for Rivers.

Week 7: at Atlanta Falcons

All QB vs ATL

Mark and Joe say: Neutral matchup. Phillip Rivers led the Chargers to a rare win over Denver last weekend, with 18/29 for 178 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions thrown. Rookie tight end Hunter Henry continued his impressive season with eight targets for 6/83/1 receiving, while Antonio Gates (six targets for 2/16/0 receiving last week) continues to struggle with a hamstring injury. Gates (hamstring injury) said Monday, October 17, that he is not 100 percent healthy. 'It's very difficult when you're constantly playing on it,' Gates said. 'This is new for me, to be dealing with a hamstring. So I'm learning a lot about it.' Tyrell Williams (three targets for 3/28/0 receiving) and Travis Benjamin (five for 3/17/0) both helped move the sticks for Rivers, but weren't explosive factors for their fantasy owners. The Falcons' pass defense held Russell Wilson and company out of the endzone in this phase of the game (25/37 for 261 yars passing, zero TDs or interceptions thrown, with one sack for -9 yards) but still lost 24-26, while two weeks ago they dumped Paxton Lynch for six sacks (23/35 for 183 net yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown). From Week Four to Week Six of the 2016 season (over the last three weeks), Atlanta has averaged 20.1 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks (16th in the NFL); and 19.8 fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers (ninth-least); with 8.4 fantasy points given up per game to tight ends (tied for eighth-most in the league). So far this year the Falcons average 285.3 net passing yards allowed per game, tied for 26th-most in the NFL, with 14 passing scores handed over vs. five interceptions (tied for 10th in the NFL) and 11 sacks (tied for 19th) recorded. This is a mediocre pass defense by most measuring sticks. This looks like a neutral matchup for Rivers and company.

Recent Stats and Projections

3 at IND 60 26 39 330 0 0 1 2 0 1 15.7
4 vs NO 70 28 43 321 2 1 1 0 0 0 21.05
5 at OAK 51 21 30 359 4 2 0 0 0 0 30.95
6 vs DEN 66 18 29 178 1 0 0 0 0 0 12.9
7 at ATL PROJ-Dodds * 25 38 * * * 1 * * * *
7 at ATL PROJ-Tremblay * 23 36 * * * 1 * * * *
7 at ATL PROJ-Bloom * 23 36 * * * 1 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2016 Week 6 vs DEN (18 / 29 / 178 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)

Rivers entered the game needing just 125 yards to pass legendary Dan Fouts for first place on the Chargers all-time passing yardage list. He got to that number, but this wasn't a classic big-time statistical performance like we're used to seeing out of Rivers. Instead, the Charger offense was opportunistic and methodical, while the defense was actually the primary factor in taking down the first place Broncos. San Diego's first possession lasted precisely seven minutes, and culminated with Rivers finding his rookie tight end Hunter Henry on a quick slant in the end zone for the score. The pass was perfectly thrown, exactly where it needed to be. Later in the half, Rivers again found Henry for a nice gain. This one was with a defender bearing down on him, and River simply lofted it up over the top of the defense to find Henry in the flat. That was the one that pushed Rivers past Gates on the yardage list. As the half resumed, Rivers then engineered a drive that chewed up more than ten minutes of clock, though it stalled before reaching the end zone as they settled for a field goal. Opening the second half, Rivers looked to Tyrell Williams inside the 5-yard line, but he was dragged down from behind before he could get into the end zone. And then Rivers looked to the unheralded Griff Whalen on a quick inside slant, but again the tight coverage by Denver never really allowed the pass to come close. There was in fact significantly more pressure on Rivers in the second half than in the first. He wasn't being sacked a lot, but he hurried his passes a lot more and started looking frustrated after some miscommunication with his tight end Antonio Gates. The Chargers, who have seemingly invented new ways to lose this season, looked to be in some trouble late in the fourth quarter when Rivers took a bad sack causing a huge loss of yardage. But somehow the defense found a way to do just enough to keep the Broncos from getting any closer.

2016 Week 5 vs OAK (21 / 30 / 359 / 4 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)

Rivers got some help in the form of two players returning to the lineup in OL King Dunlap and TE Antonio Gates. The return of Gates was a huge help in particular, because Rivers is largely playing with players he hasn't really had a whole lot of game action with until this season. Gates' return didn't go totally smoothly, as he fumbled the ball away in the red zone early on, costing the Chargers a scoring opportunity. Rivers then tossed a careless interception down the seam on a deep ball to Travis Benjamin that was returned a long way. The ball was underthrown and never really had a chance, and was the first play of the possession which really gave Oakland a lot of momentum. But Rivers regrouped and engineered a touchdown drive with a perfect 29-yard strike to wideout Tyrell Williams over the middle. Williams had beaten both defenders in the double team, and the Rivers pass led him perfectly away from them for the score. Late in the second half, Rivers heaved another deep ball down the seam on third and long, but that one was also easily picked off. On the one hand, you could say Rivers treated it almost like a punt and figured he would take a shot on completing it. On the other hand, the ball was returned a lot further than a punt likely would have been, so it may not have been the wisest decision. On the first play of the second half, Rivers was sacked and fumbled. The ball kicked around a bit by the defender before San Diego eventually recovered it. Despite the miscues, the Chargers were very much in the game and Rivers engineered several scoring drives the rest of the way. He tossed a dumpoff into the flat to running back Melvin Gordon, who waltzed into the end zone untouched for the easy 18-yard score. The next touchdown was considerably more difficult, as Rivers did a great job of looking off of his primary target (Gates) and checking down back to the left to find the wide open Hunter Henry in the back of the end zone. He did manage to hook up with Gates later on in the contest for his fourth score of the game. A quick slant by Gates, who then slipped inside the defender and followed a potentially illegal screen by wide receiver Tyrell Williams, brought the Chargers to within three points but they couldn't get any closer.

2016 Week 4 vs NO (28 / 43 / 321 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)

Rivers picked the Saints apart early on, methodically moving the ball downfield with a series of short passes. Just as the Saints tightened up, Rivers picked the right time to go back over the top, connecting with Hunter Henry for a long score. With the offense rolling (and the Saints helping out with busted coverage), Rivers found Dontrelle Inman deep down the left sideline for a 57-yard touchdown in stride. Inman did the rest after the catch, beating the defense in the open field. There was a lot more short stuff from the Chargers, but it was highly efficient and getting decent yardage since the Saints receivers were constantly trailing the speedier Charger receivers. He was close to a third first half touchdown, another to Henry, but the ball was just out of range as Henry was unable to get a second foot down inbounds. Facing a third and long from inside the red zone late in the first half, Rivers threw one up for grabs into the end zone. It was intercepted, but Rivers was bailed out by an offsides penalty on the Saints. He threw it up there with such reckless abandon that one has to assume there's a decent chance Rivers knew it was a free play. In the second half, Rivers was actually under a good amount of duress which is part the reason he only attempted one deep shot (to Travis Benjamin, which fell incomplete due to very good defensive coverage). Part of that can possibly attributed to the fact that the running game was giving very little help to Rivers, so the Saints were free to target him a bit more. There also seemed to be some miscommunication between Rivers and his receivers on a few occasions. On one play, there were two receivers within a couple of feet of an intended target. On another, he was trying to throw a screen to Travis Benjamin but kind of darted the ball right into the ground. The last time Rivers came close to scoring was on a pass to Tyrell Williams from the goal line. After a pass interference penalty in the end zone, the Chargers lined up from the 1 and faked out everyone by taking to the air. The attempted screen to Williams was completed, but he was unable to beat his man to the end zone before being taken down. Melvin Gordon rumbled in from a yard out on the very next play. To Rivers' credit, he stood tall in the pocket despite the defensive pressure and continued putting his receivers in position to succeed. On one play, he may have stood tall a bit too long as he was hit by a defender and fumbled the ball, but he recovered it himself. Despite leading by 13 with only a few minutes left to play, the Chargers turned the ball over on successive offensive plays, a fumble by Melvin Gordon and another by Travis Benjamin. The Saints capitalized on both, scoring two touchdown to go up a point. Rivers and the Chargers got the ball back with just under two minutes left to play and trailing by one. But they quickly moved backwards, setting up a desperation 3rd and 22 pass play. Rivers perfectly fired one down the sideline to Inman, but a defender just got a fingertip on it to change the trajectory and cause it to be dropped. On the ensuing fourth down desperation heave, Rivers again fired one down that same sideline, but that one was picked off for his first interception of the season.

2016 Week 3 vs IND (26 / 39 / 330 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)

Rivers spread the ball around, with eight different players catching a pass in the game. But that may have been more a function of Rivers not having complete trust in any one guy at this point. Rivers is already without Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead for the remainder of the season, and his longtime passing game partner Antonio Gates was unavailable for this one. With all of the personnel changes, it's tough for him to establish a rapport with those who remain on such short notice. His first pass of the game went to Tyrell Williams, an easy catch that should have gone for nice yardage on third down. But Williams dropped the pass that hit him right in the hands. As the half went along, it became more and more apparent that Rivers was going to be under heavy duress from what was thought to be a suspect Colts defense. This, despite the fact that Indianapolis was coming at him with just three and four man fronts. Late in the half, he was stripped from behind and lost the ball to the Colts. Just before halftime, the Chargers appeared to grab the momentum with a fumble recovery and touchdown of their own, and Rivers came out in the second half firing on all cylinders. He found Travis Benjamin with a perfect deep ball down the sideline to set up a first and goal (a play on which Rivers was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting), and then found Hunter Henry on the next play for another first down to keep the drive moving. He finally appeared to be comfortable in the pocket for the first time all game. It wouldn't last, as the Colts turned up the pressure the rest of the half and kept the Chargers out of the end zone. On what would have been close to a game-clinching first down pass, Rivers was hurried a bit and threw it too high to Benjamin. The pass went off his fingertips, the Colts took over possession, and scored the game-winning touchdown on the ensuing drive. It's not necessarily panic time yet for Rivers owners, but one would have hoped for more than a handful of fantasy points on a day where he threw 39 passes against a poor defense.

2016 Week 2 vs JAX (17 / 24 / 220 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)

You can count on one hand the amount of times that it appeared that Rivers did not have an answer for whatever the Jaguars threw at him, either pre-snap or post-snap. Despite losing several key pieces to injury, he looked calm and in command at all times and did a good job of spreading the ball around. Perhaps his most impressive trait was how easily he diagnosed and exploited the mismatches the Chargers offense created against the Jags, including finding Travis Benjamin in single coverage against linebackers several times. If there is any QB who can shoulder the losses that the Chargers have experienced, it is Rivers.

2016 Week 1 vs KC (25 / 36 / 243 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 9 / 0 rush)

Rivers completed 25 of 36 passes for 243 yards 1 touchdown and tacked on 2 rushes for 9 yards. Rivers did a great job distributing the ball to 7 different receivers throughout the game, targeting Travis Benjamin a team-high 8 times. Rivers day took a big hit when he lost star receiver Keenan Allen to a knee injury. Rivers lone touchdown came on a 4-yard pass to Danny Woodhead in the second quarter. With the loss of Allen, Rivers will quickly have to build chemistry with the likes of Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams before next week.


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7@ Atlanta Falcons
8@ Denver Broncos
9vs Tennessee Titans
10vs Miami Dolphins
11--- BYE WEEK ---
12@ Houston Texans
13vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14@ Carolina Panthers
15vs Oakland Raiders
16@ Cleveland Browns
17vs Kansas City Chiefs