Let me backstory this rant by saying that I am in a fantasy football keeper league and that Phillip Rivers has been my go-to guy at the QB position for about 4 years. While bad luck, injuries and overall misfortune has kept me from winning this league (I've finished third in it the past 3 years), at least I had the small comfort of knowing that I would always get production out of my QB position.
Then we hit this season and even that warm feeling has been ripped away as Rivers has, well, just looked pedestrian through the six weeks he has played.
From a yardage standpoint, he is only averaging roughly 9 yards less than a season ago when he threw for 4,710 yards, down from 294 a game to 285, but it's the rest of the stats that are disturbing me. Over the past 3 years, Rivers has averaged 31 touchdown passes to just 11 interceptions, basically a 3 to 1 ratio that had me as giddy as a school girl. This year, however, he is on pace for 19 touchdowns while tossing 25 picks.
That's a pretty sharp decline and it doesn't even account for another glaring problem, the fact that the most fumbles he's ever had in a season was 6 and he already has 4 through 6 games! The loss of fantasy point due to this touchdown reduction and turnover increase has had me foaming at the mouth as I have lost a few games by the smallest of amounts, games that I would have won had Rivers just been himself.
But what is the issue with him this season?
That, my friend, is the million dollar question! People have been trying to make excuses for him, saying that due to the rash of receiving corps injuries he has had to work through, a rough start should be expected. And while I can buy that not having Antonio Gates, who is finally back (halleluiah!!), has accounted for some of those lost td's, I'm not buying the excuse as a whole.
Then there are those that are saying that Rivers is hiding some phantom injury that is hindering him. But again, not buying it as the man himself has refuted those claims and heck, football players never lie!
“I am as healthy as I have been through six weeks,” Rivers said. “I am doing the best I can to lead a 4-2 team.”
No, I can't put my finger on any one reason for this sharp drop in effectiveness. I can only hope that he is epitomizing the Chargers normally slow start and that he will heat up as the season progresses. That better happen fast, however, or I may not claim third place again this year!
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