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San Diego Chargers: Fantasy Football Studs

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Every year, as a team that racks up points and yardage from nearly every skill position in the offense, the players on the Chargers roster become a hot commodity for fantasy football players. Let's break down where some of these skill position players rank on Yahoo! ranking of players for fantasy football (based off of where they've gone in Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football drafts thusfar)...

Philip Rivers: 3rd QB
That seems about right. The two guys ahead of him are Michael Vick (who could, someday, seemingly break every yardage record and score a bunch of TDs along the way) and Peyton Manning (Mr. Consistency). With lots of weapons to throw to, and an offense that allows him to build up great stats without throwing many inteceptions, Rivers is a sure thing to finish in the Top 5 in points for QBs.

Ryan Mathews: 21st RB
Maybe people are ready to give up on Mathews already, but this seems like a significant drop from where he was slotted last year. Players above him include Marshawn Lynch, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and LaGarrette Blount. Mathews flashed the talent we were looking for in 2010, but struggled to stay on the field. If he can stay healthy, and work on his blocking and hands, he could get more carries than most #1 RBs around the league and put up big fantasy points while the defense is focused more on stopping Rivers and Gates.

There is some concern with Ryan at the moment, as he came into camp and failed a conditioning test immediately before injuring himself. However, it's a long month before the season starts and he'll have a good chance to round himself into shape before the games start to count.

Antonio Gates: 1st TE
First?!? Yup, first. Don't forget that before getting injured last season, Gates was seemingly on pace to shatter every TE receiving record on the books. It doesn't appear he's as healthy to start this season as he was last year's, but he's been a top TE for years while fighting through similar toe and foot issues.

One big reason Gates is up top is that his position may be more secured than any other top-flight TE. Vernon Davis is getting thrown to by Alex Smith in a new offense, Jason Witten is getting thrown to by a QB that missed most of last year, Marcedes Lewis has no WRs around him to get coverage away from him, Dallas Clark and Peyton Manning are coming off of fairly major injuries, Todd Heap and Greg Olsen are switching teams/offenses. You get the idea. Gates is in the same offense with the same QB and fighting through an injury he's played with before, and played well. He's maybe the closest thing to a sure thing in a weird TE class this season.

Vincent Jackson: 28th WR
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Not really though, I think people are just unsure if he's going to be able to stay healthy after his struggles in a limited amount of time last season. I think that's silly, since he'll have the entire preseason to work out with the team and get on the field. In reality, if you can get Jackson as the 10th WR taken (or later), you've gotten yourself a steal. In his last full season he put up 68 catches, 1,167 yards and 9 TDs. He also didn't turn the ball over once.

Nate Kaeding: 6th K
I know there's a lot of people that think we should release Nate Kaeding and start over with a new Kicker. Those people are wrong. Kaeding is one of, if not the, most consistent Kicker in the NFL today and his ranking in the Top 6 should be somewhat of a testament to that. So what if he can't make FGs in the playoffs? Fantasy Football never goes into the playoffs anyway.

Chargers Defense: 7th
Four things to factor in here. First, the Chargers defense last year gave up the least amount of yards and were second in the league with 47 sacks. Secondly, they played the easiest schedule in all of football last season. Third, they've brought in a Defensive Coordinator that is seemingly more aggressive than Ron Rivera was. Fourth, the Chargers added a former Defensive Player of the Year and a renowned playmaker to their defense (for as long as he stays healthy). There's a lot of potential here (which is why they're in the Top 10), but also some potential for disaster as well (which is why they're not in the Top 5). This would be a gambler's pick, unless you can get them as your backup Defense.


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