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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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From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Nov 28): Rivers had a solid game against the tough Texans pass defense, but he might have lost Tyrell Williams to a shoulder injury and the Week 13 Tampa matchup isn't looking so easy after they shut down Russell Wilson. His schedule in the fantasy playoffs (at Carolina, Oakland, at Cleveland) is ideal, but he'll need Williams to be healthy to maximize it.

Week 13: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

All QB vs TB

Mark and Joe say: Neutral matchup. Philip Rivers has thrown three TDs in two straight games, and multiple TDs in four of his last four contests - last week he also cut down on interceptions and wound up with 22/30 for 242 yards passing, three TDs and one interception thrown at Houston (and took home a 'W', 21-13). Unfortunately Tyrell Williams left the game early with a shoulder injury, and he's said to be sore still this week (head coach Mike McCoy said on Tuesday, November 29 'He's good. He's a little sore. He's a little sore when he came down on it.') The Chargers hope Williams can go for Week 13, but fantasy owners will want to monitor his practice participation later in the week as current reports are that Williams' labrum is damaged and the extent of the damage isn't known as of midweek. Williams had 14 targets for 8/70/1 receiving before departing last week - Dontrelle Inman (six for 6/119/1) and Hunter Henry (three for 2/20/1) also snagged TDs from Rivers. If Williams is out this week, Inman and Travis Benjamin (two targets for 1/8/0 receiving last week) would need to pick up the slack. The Buccaneers stopped Seattle 14-5 last week, limiting Russell Wilson to 17/33 for 118 net yards passing, zero TDs and two interceptions, with six sacks for -33 yards. Tampa now has 27 sacks on the season (10th in the NFL), with nine interceptions (tied for ninth) while averaging 253.5 net passing yards allowed per game (17th in the NFL) with 20 passing scores given out to date. From Week Nine to Week 12 of the 2016 season (over the last four weeks, but includes 14 teams on bye during that time span - each team has at least three games played in the last four weeks), Tampa has averaged 20.4 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks (14th-least in the NFL); and 20.2 fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers (ninth-least); with 10.3 fantasy points given up per game to tight ends (seventh-most). This looks like a neutral matchup for the home-team Chargers.

Recent Stats and Projections

9 vs TEN 80 24 33 275 2 0 3 -3 0 0 21.45
10 vs MIA 77 23 44 326 3 4 0 0 0 0 24.3
12 at HOU 59 22 30 242 3 1 0 0 0 0 23.1
13 vs TB PROJ-Dodds * 23 36 * * * 1 * * * *
13 vs TB PROJ-Tremblay * 23 36 * * * 1 * * * *
13 vs TB PROJ-Bloom * 21 35 * * * 1 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2016 Week 12 vs HOU (22 / 30 / 242 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)

Rivers picked apart the Texans all game long. He completed ten of his first eleven pass attempts, with the one incompletion a drop by Hunter Henry on a pass thrown right to his hands (that could have gone for 40 yards if it hadn't been dropped). Put simply, Rivers couldn't have played better. They opened with a lot of short pass attempts, picking apart the Houston defense with slants and crossing routes. And just when Houston started to cheat up, Rivers went over the top with a perfect bomb to Dontrelle Inman for a 52-yard touchdown. He was getting time to throw, his receivers were getting open, and he was putting it where it needed to be. Nothing flashy, just perfect execution all the way around. His second touchdown was a perfect strike in traffic to Tyrell Williams down the seam from 21 yards out. It was a tough catch with the defender right in his face, but it was also put in a perfect spot by Rivers. Despite leading almost the entire game, the Chargers actually threw it more in the second half than they did in the first. Rivers kept peppering Tyrell Williams with passes, but they finally lost their connection. Rivers put one a bit high and behind the wideout, who did all he could to get a hand up and deflect the ball. Unfortunately, it was deflected right into the waiting arms of a defender for the interception. But the constant aerial attack reared its head again later on. Rivers turned in one of his more remarkable individual efforts to avoid a sack by spinning away from two would-be tacklers and rolling out to his right. On the run, he fired a dart to Inman to keep the play (and drive) alive. It was really impressive on both sides, as Rivers kept his eyes downfield the entire time and Inman never gave up on the route. It was that kind of day for the San Diego offense. Rivers capped the scoring with a floater to the end zone to tight end Hunter Henry. He put nice touch on the pass, almost too much since it went very low to the ground, and required a tough effort by Henry to get low and bring it in for Rivers' third score of the afternoon.

2016 Week 10 vs MIA (23 / 44 / 326 / 3 / 4 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)

Rivers wasn't as at ease during this game as his touchdowns and yards might indicate. He wasn't getting good protection early and appeared to be off, so more quick passing plays were called and Rivers moved well and stay composed when longer developing plays were called. His first score was an ideal ball to Antonio Gates and he was really finding his groove at the end of the first half. His second half did not live up to the momentum at the end of the first. He tied John Elway at 300 touchdown passes on a softball to Hunter Henry, but then threw too high for Tyrell Williams on a chance to pass Elway. Later, he did pass Elway with a perfectly thrown ball to Williams in stride for a 51-yard score. The team had a short-lived lead before Miami tied the game with a field goal. Rivers drove the team close to scoring position, but then missed a defender dropping into coverage and threw a decisive pick six. With a chance to tie the game, he had a miscommunication with Williams where he was expecting a back shoulder throw and Williams kept running. Rivers appeared to be yelling at Williams and he was not happy at the end of game.

2016 Week 9 vs TEN (24 / 33 / 275 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)

While it never seemed like Rivers was lighting up the stat sheet, he made up for the lack of explosiveness by being just about as efficient as possible. He only completed one pass longer than twenty yards (and it was actually a screen pass to Melvin Gordon that went for 35), but he completed four different passes that went for more than fifteen yards. He opened the game completing his first seven passes, as well as 14 of his first 16. San Diego mostly attacked the Tennessee defense with quick slant routes inside, screens, and comebacks down the seam. Rivers typically had loads of time to stand tall in the pocket and pick apart the defense while Melvin Gordon was dominating the Titans on the ground. All aspects of the Charger offense were just clicking as well as possible. There were two first half touchdown tosses by Rivers, the first on the team's opening drive of the game. He found Antonio Gates wide open at the goal line from 13 yards out for the score, and soon after that he found Tyrell Williams on a quick inside slant for another score. He nearly added a third when he took off scrambling up the middle while under a rare bit of pressure. Rather than taking a sack, he attempted to flip one up to Tyrell Williams in the back of the end zone, but he didn't really have control of the ball and it wasn't close to completion. In the second half, the San Diego offensive philosophy was basically to give the ball to Melvin Gordon and then get out of his way. It ended up working exceptionally well, although not necessarily for fantasy owners who were heavily invested in the Charger passing game. With most of their work being done before halftime and a lead late in the game, there wasn't as much need for the Chargers to take to the air which kept the passing stats a bit depressed. You got the sense though, that they really could have dominated any way they chose to in this one.

2016 Week 8 vs DEN (20 / 47 / 267 / 2 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)

Rivers had loads of time on his first third down drop back of the game, finding Travis Benjamin for the first down conversion. It was one of the last times all game that he had enough time to step and throw. Most of the time, he was being hurried and chased from the pocket en route to a poor game for someone who entered the game in the early MVP discussions. On the team's opening possession, he found fullback Derek Watt for the biggest play of the game by either team. Looking to his left and finding no one open, Rivers checked down to his fullback who had leaked out of the backfield up the right side. Rivers found him for a 53-yard catch and run. Later in the drive, he fired a strike over the middle to Antonio Gates who then pushed by the defender into the end zone for the score. But after picking up 85 yards on their first seven plays, the Chargers totaled just 68 yards on their next thirty plays before halftime. The receivers just simply couldn't get any separation for him, and his first seven completions went to seven different players. At one point, he threw eight consecutive incompletions, which is almost unheard of for the normally accurate Rivers. Amongst those incompletions were two interceptions. Rivers turned it over three times in all. The first was a pass that was a bit high to Tyrell Williams that bounced off his fingertips and run back for a Denver touchdown. Early in the second half, he tried jamming a third down pass into traffic to Travis Benjamin, but the poor pass got batted up in the air and again intercepted. Shortly after that, he and Griff Whalen had different reads as Rivers threw a pass to the outside while Whalen broke to the inside. The ball was easily picked off by a Denver defender. He had earlier fumbled the ball away to the Broncos, but replays showed that his arm was coming forward and so that one was changed to an incomplete pass. Once he got over the turnover miscues, he managed to right the ship a bit and start putting some more drives together. He was drilled on a third and 9 pass play to Gates where he took a hard shot right to the midsection but managed to stand in and deliver the ball. That drive culminated in a touchdown pass to Benjamin that featured a remarkable individual effort by Benjamin to twist his body and make an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone. Late in the game with the Chargers trailing by eight points, Rivers engineered a drive that put them at the Denver 2-yard line. The team had been enjoying some success running the ball, but the coaches curiously chose to throw four straight passes from the two, all of which fell incomplete. San Diego got another chance with just over two minutes remaining, but that drive quickly stalled. Rivers was under a ton of pressure in the second half and was hit multiple times, and he appeared to be grimacing on the ground in pain after the last-gasp fourth down pass fell incomplete. There was no reported injury afterwards.

2016 Week 7 vs ATL (27 / 44 / 371 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / -2 / 0 rush)

Rivers didn't light up the fantasy scoring column, as he threw just one touchdown in the game. But he was certainly the key to engineering all of the San Diego scoring drives in this game. Melvin Gordon was fortunate in that he got some carries from close scoring range, but the running game wasn't really effective in moving the football all game. For the most part, it was Rivers and the passing game who got the ball down the field and into the red zone, and Gordon who benefitted from that work. Rivers started well, tossing a perfect floater over the shoulder to Tyrell Williams for a 49-yard gain on the team's opening drive. On the next drive, Rivers threw an interception that was almost entirely not his fault. He threw a pass that was very slightly behind Dexter McCluster, but it was a very catchable pass. The ball bounced off of McCluster's hands and into the hands of a defender for an interception. Late in the first half, Rivers was hit and sacked for a fumble that was recovered by Atlanta. Again it was tough to pin the blame entirely on Rivers, who had almost no time to throw at times (and whose own lineman failed to jump on the loose ball when he could have). With San Diego having trouble moving the ball on the ground, Atlanta began applying more pressure on him. Because of that, Rivers was either getting sacked and hurried, or when the Chargers left an extra blocker in there, he was able to stand tall and hope his receivers could get open. There wasn't much in between. He attacked the defense with a lot of short passes over the middle to the aforementioned Gordon, and crossing routes to wideouts Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin. The one touchdown pass Rivers threw was to beat a blitz. With Gates and Dontrelle Inman drawing the defensive attention away, Gordon was left free to leak out into the flat where Rivers found him for the easy score. Facing a fourth down with 2:00 left to play, Rivers fired a bullet pass to Gates to convert the first down and keep the drive alive. He was very nearly the hero when he again hit Gates perfectly in stride in the end zone for what could have been the game-winning touchdown. However, Gates dropped the football right at the goal line and San Diego had to settle for a field goal. They would later go on to win the game in overtime on the strength of the defense making a big fourth down stop.

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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13vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14@ Carolina Panthers
15vs Oakland Raiders
16@ Cleveland Browns
17vs Kansas City Chiefs