36-Year-Old Quarterback – Los Angeles Chargers
2018 Fantasy Football Outlook
Few teams played better down the stretch last season than the Chargers. Rivers had the offense humming, averaging 27 points per game the final seven weeks with a league-leading 8.9 YPA and a league-hi...
Philip Rivers Contract Information:
Signed a four-year, $83.25 million contract with the Chargers in August of 2015.
Rivers would support the signing of Antonio Gates, Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com reports.
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|Passing||Pass Distance||Big Pass Games||Rushing||Fumbles|
|2018 Proj||36||LAC||Subscribe now to see our 2018 projections for Philip Rivers|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Fantasy Points Per Game||Passing Stats||Red Zone Passes||Red Zone Runs|
|2018 Proj||36||LAC||Subscribe now to see our 2018 projections for Philip Rivers|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Passing||Pass Distance||Rushing||Fumbles||Red Zone Passes||Red Zone Runs|
|21||PRO BOWL||Pro Bowl|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Philip Rivers: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Rivers posted a career high in interceptions last season and a nine-year low in completion percentage, but he still came through for fantasy owners with his eighth 4,000- yard season in the last nine years and the second most touchdown passes of his career. Much of his trouble can be chalked up to a leaky offensive line that forced Rivers to hurry 122 throws (5th), plus season-ending injuries to Keenan Allen in Week 1, Danny Woodhead in Week 2 and Melvin Gordon in Week 14. Losing Allen hurt the downfield passing game, which saw Rivers attempt the sixth most passes of 21-plus yards (61) in the league but complete only 32.8 percent (18th). In the midst of the chaos, though, there were some unexpected bright spots. Tyrell Williams became the go-to target in a 1,000-yard season with seven scores, and Hunter Henry proved an excellent complement to Antonio Gates at tight end with a team-leading eight TD catches, five of which came at the goal line on seven targets. The Chargers signed OT Russell Okung, in addition to drafting linemen with two of their first three picks. Their first-round pick was 6-4 receiver Mike Williams, who could challenge for a starting role and at least gives Rivers another red-zone threat. With a little luck on the health front, Rivers' first season in Los Angeles should be better than his last season in San Diego.
On the field, nearly everything went wrong for Rivers and the Chargers last season. His offensive line was a mess, the defense may have been worse, his receivers couldn't stay healthy and the team finished in the AFC West basement at a woeful 4-12. All that chaos proved to be something of a fantasy boon, however, as with Rivers running for his life and usually playing from behind, he set career highs in attempts and passing yards and likely would have topped 30 TDs for the third straight season if any of his primary targets had been able to stay on the field in the second half. Between Weeks 4 and 8, Rivers was the most productive OB in the league, throwing for more than 300 yards and multiple TDs in five straight games, including a 503-yard effort at Lambeau Field in Week 6. That perfect storm of fantasy production isn't likely to repeat itself in 2016, however. While the team beefed up his receiving options by signing Travis Benjamin away from the Browns and drafting tight end Hunter Henry in the second round, it also devoted a large amount of draft capital to improving the defense. His accuracy, decision making and experience should allow the 34-year-old Rivers to record big numbers once again, but better offensive balance and better defensive play could reduce the load he has to carry.
After winning Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2013, Rivers was on his way to a similarly productive season last year before injuries struck. In his first eight games, Rivers was top 5 in touchdowns (20), YPA (8.17) and completion percentage (68.3), with only five interceptions. But hand, rib, knee and back injuries made him a different quarterback in the second half of the season as his YPA dipped to 6.93 and his completion percentage to 64.9, with 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He was also sacked 10 more times than in the first half. Rivers did not need surgery on the bulging disk that almost ended his season, and he's expected to be healthy entering training camp. The Chargers, whose 60.5 pass-play percentage last year was easily the highest of the Rivers era, could turn to a more run-oriented attack this season, both to keep Rivers healthy and to improve the offense. The Chargers drafted Melvin Gordon in the first round to replace the oft-injured Ryan Mathews, and if his running threat frequently forces an extra defender into the box, that should work in Rivers' favor. The wideouts — Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd and Stevie Johnson — are decent, though far from elite. Freakishly athletic 6-6 tight end Ladarius Green likely will be more involved because Antonio Gates can't hold off Father Time forever. Trade rumors persisted through the offseason, but those shouldn't affect the 33-year-old Rivers, who seemingly only needs good health to hit his seven-year average of nearly 4,300 yards and 30 touchdowns.
By the end of the 2012 season it appeared that Rivers was in decline, as his YPA dropped from 8.7 in 2010 to 7.9 in 2011 before hitting rock bottom at 6.8 in 2012. A new coaching regime and a couple talented rookies in wideout Keenan Allen and tackle D.J. Fluker arrived before 2013, though, and Rivers managed to relocate the elite level of play he showed from 2008 through 2010. Rivers had arguably his best year as a pro in 2013, and there's reason to think he'll keep it going this year. Allen is one of the league's most promising young receivers after posting 71 catches for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns, and the loss of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt shouldn't be an issue since 2013 quarterbacks coach Frank Reich will take over for Whisenhunt. It's probably reasonable to expect a slight touchdown decrease – his 90 red-zone pass attempts were significantly higher than the 65-75 range he displayed in previous years – but he still looks like a reliable low-end QB1, high-end QB2.
In a down year, Rivers still threw for 3,606 yards and 26 scores. Prior to 2012, the Chargers quarterback had recorded four straight seasons with at least 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns, however, so he's a candidate for a bounce-back. Yes, he lost Vincent Jackson before the start of last season, but the biggest problem in San Diego has really been pass protection. With first-round rookie tackle D.J. Fluker, the Chargers are hoping they can give Rivers a little more time to find his weapons downfield. As usual, Rivers will still look to find tight end Antonio Gates in 2013, but he also has a new weapon in rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen. Between Allen and is aided by the return of Vincent Brown. In any case, it's highly likely Rivers will improve upon his 6.8 YPA in 2012 – by comparison, the quarterback totaled 8.4 YPA over the four previous seasons.
Rivers finished with 4,624 yards and 27 touchdowns, yet the 2011 season was the worst of his six-year reign as San Diego’s starting quarterback. That’s because he also threw 20 interceptions, after throwing just 22 in 2009 and 2010 combined. His 7.9 yards per pass, though perfectly fine by normal standards, was a significant regression from the figures of 8.4, 8.8 and 8.7 he posted in 2008, 2009 and 2010, respectively. His value took another hit as his top receiver, Vincent Jackson, left San Diego for Tampa Bay this offseason. The additions of Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal help offset that, though, and Rivers arguably had his best year in 2010 (4,710 yards, 30 touchdowns), a season in which Jackson played only five games. One subtle addition that could go a long way for Rivers and the Chargers is fourth-round pick Ladarius Green, a 6-6, 238-pound tight end with an enormous wingspan (34.5-inch arms) and 4.53 speed who could eventually replace Antonio Gates. In any case, last year’s blemish aside, Rivers is an elite quarterback, and elite quarterbacks make their receivers, not the other way around. Put differently, 2011 was the aberration, not the three years before it, and Jackson’s departure should have only minimal impact.
Antonio Gates missed six games. Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd combined to miss 16. Ryan Mathews missed four. A less-than-great offensive line allowed Rivers to get sacked 38 times after he went down just 25 times in each of the two years prior. While Rivers may have had it rough in 2010, you couldn’t have guessed by looking at his numbers. He finished with career highs in both completion percentage (66.0) and yardage (4,710), and his 30 passing touchdowns were the second-highest total of his career. His 4,710 yards led the league, in fact. He also finished with an impressive average of 8.7 yards per attempt – his third year straight with a figure of 8.4 or better. It seems like no matter the conditions surrounding him, Rivers is a gamer and big-time playmaker who can be expected to put up numbers. He’s in an offense that runs the ball more often than teams like Indianapolis and New Orleans, however, so it’s unlikely he’ll get enough pass attempts to repeat as the league’s yardage leader.
No one was more bullish on Rivers than we were last year, and he did not disappoint. Rivers was only 18th in pass attempts, however, this is largely a function of his greatness. When you’re going 80 yards in five plays and three passes, you’re not going to pile up lots of attempts. Rivers had an excellent 8.75 YPA last year. That’s been a guaranteed 30 TDs, and we can reasonably expect 40 when the YPA pushes 9.0. But Rivers had just 28 TDs mostly because Tomlinson was the focus inside the five. The one big plus about Turner’s offense is the downfield focus, as Rivers’ 9.76 average air yards per pass was best among qualifying starting QBs. But the trade up for Ryan Mathews tells us that the Chargers are again going to be a 50/50 team with a heavy red-zone tendency toward running despite all the circus freak receivers.
He showed last year he’s not only a great fantasy player but also a great player, period. Yes, he only won eight games in the regular season. But he got a playoff pelt against Peyton Manning, which is no small feat, and look at the stats: league-leading 8.4 YPA and league-leading 34 TD passes, just like we like to see it. And he didn’t even throw that much – just 478 attempts – considering the Chargers poor defense. This team became pass-oriented as the season wore on, so there’s still some upside here if they continue that trend in 2009. There’s a good chance LaDainian Tomlinson is shot now, and Darren Sproles, who the team franchised, is even better as a receiver than as a runner and is probably the best screen weapon in the league. The receivers are the strength of this team, especially if count Sproles and TE Antonio Gates, as you must. Vincent Jackson has freakish size and decent speed. Chris Chambers is a perfect No. 2 receiver given he has game-breaking athleticism but lacks the route-running precision to be a reliable down-in and down-out option. And Malcom Floyd was given the second-round tender, so the team obviously likes him, too. Floyd is another monster target at 6-5, 225. Of course, let’s not overrate these guys. If Kyle Orton were San Diego’s QB, teams wouldn’t be thinking twice about them. Rivers is the guy who makes the show go.
It's really incredible that Rivers managed to post a 20-plus TD season given his putrid performance on first down and near the opposing goal line. There were 52 QBs last year with better firstdown YPAs than Rivers. Some of those are backups with sample size issues, but you get the idea – 5.97 on the easiest down on which to pass isn't going to get it done. He had three TDs on these throws when the league leader (Tom Brady) had 16 and a couple of other guys had 15. Just to give you some more perspective, Trent Dilfer and Quinn Gray also had three first-down TD passes in 2007. Rivers threw 25 inside-the-5 passes last year and just four went for TDs – 16 percent (half the league average). Kurt Warner had 27 of these throws and got 12 TDs on them; Derek Anderson 25 and nine. That's a lot of easy fantasy points that Rivers left on the board. Rivers has skills. His 87.6 rating on FAS throws is solid. And he has seven games with two or more TD passes. Alas, his five games with zero TDs made him an unreliable starting option. Although he’s coming off January ACL surgery (which Carson Palmer proved you could come back from in 2006), the upside is still here considering his relative lack of starting experience and decent productivity in his career to date. Rivers is an attractive option for those who want to double down in the middle rounds on a couple of QBs after loading up on running backs and wide receivers.
We tabbed Rivers as the new Troy Aikman last year, and now he has Troy Aikman’s play-caller, Norv Turner, as his coach. And Aikman was a great player, but he not only never achieved fantasy greatness, he was rarely even a serviceable fantasy starter (just one 20-plus TD pass season). There’s some chance the Chargers offensive tendencies will change with the new coaching staff, but that’s doubtful. This is going to be a running team that plays good defense and expects the QB to make big plays only periodically and mostly when it’s necessary. Rivers is the real deal. If you were having a draft of QBs in reality, he’d probably go Top 5. But fantasy QBs are products of their playing environment, and Rivers’ isn’t friendly. You want supporting evidence? Rivers had 17 total passes inside the opposing 10. Peyton Manning and Marc Bulger had 18 touchdown passes inside the 10. Rivers is so good that nine of these passes went for TDs, the best percentage in football. You can bet against LaDainian Tomlinson if you want, and bank on more opportunities for Rivers to get those easy scores. But, keeping with the 1990s Cowboys theme, Tomlinson is Emmitt Smith.
Again, we’re flying blind as we have nothing significant on Rivers as an NFL QB. We can look at the Chargers tendencies last year, which were conservative. But it’s reasonable to expect more conservative play calling with the inexperienced Rivers. For the record, the Chargers were 23rd in first down passing, 17th in overall pass percentage and 26th in percentage of red-zone passes. LT will again be the main man down close, which hurts Rivers even though Antonio Gates gives Terrell Owens a run as the league’s best red-zone receiver. Don’t read too much into the Chargers’ decision to dump Brees. It wasn’t so much a vote of confidence for Rivers as a financial consideration given Brees’ creaky, reconstructed shoulder.
This is an important year for Rivers and the Chargers. When he was drafted, every expert in the country figured that the lowly Chargers were about to hand him the keys to the castle. Instead, Rivers held out, and incumbent Drew Brees held on to his starting job and wound up in the Pro Bowl. This season, conventional wisdom says that the Chargers need to see what Rivers can do on the field so that they can decide who they want to keep for 2006 and beyond. Still, this is definitely Drew Brees' team and the early news out of camp is that Rivers has not looked very good.
Forget about him unless you're in a keeper league. Yes, he has the best RB in football, but there are no noteworthy receivers to help ease those rookie jitters. And Rivers is working under a head coach who views passing the way the rest of us view root canal.