The Colts selected Washington QB Jacob Eason in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Eason looks the part. He’s 6’6, 231 pounds and might just have the biggest arm of anyone in this year’s QB class. But his accuracy comes and goes, and he struggles under pressure. “He’s the prototypical bust,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “He’s big and he’s tall and he’s pretty lookin’. He can throw it through a brick wall. But knowing how to play the position, having poise, mental processing … it’s just not there.” A big-time high school recruit, Eason started as a true freshman at Georgia back in 2016, completing 55% of his passes, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt and tossing 16 TDs vs. 8 INTs. After hurting his knee early in the 2017 season, he lost the starting job to Jake Fromm. Eason then transferred to Washington, where he threw for 3,132 yards, 23 TDs and 8 INTs on a 64% completion rate and 7.7 yards per attempt this past year. He ranked just 22nd among draft-eligible QBs in Pro Football Focus’ adjusted completion rate and 2nd-to-last in passing grade under pressure. Eason needs development and will get it in Indianapolis, where he'll sit behind Philip Rivers for at least 2020.
The Colts selected USC WR Michael Pittman with the 34th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6’4, 223-pounder impressed at the Combine with a 4.52-second 40 time and 36.5-inch vertical. He finished with an 86th percentile SPARQ score. Pittman improved his numbers in each of his 4 seasons at USC, culminating with a big 101-1,275-11 line in 2019. He ranked 4th in the nation in catches, 10th in receiving yards and 19th in TDs. His market shares — 28% of the receptions, 29% of the yards and 31% of the TDs — are just mediocre, though. And Pittman’s 2.32 yards per route run ranked 22nd among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects. He’s a strong route runner, especially for his size, and has a reliable pair of mitts, dropping just 2.8% of his catchable targets over the past 4 years. There’s just very little explosion to Pittman’s game, which would seem to limit his fantasy upside. He does have a clear path to a rookie-year role, though, with T.Y. Hilton the only established WR in Indianapolis.
The Colts have reached agreement with QB Philip Rivers on a 1-year deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. It's been a long-anticipated move that should upgrade the QB play for Indy. Of course, Rivers is 38 and coming off 1 of his worst seasons -- both of which surely factor into the Chargers letting him go. Rivers over Jacoby Brissett should help WR T.Y. Hilton and TE Jack Doyle, but we're not sure about him leading an enormous rebound for the Colts offense on whole. Over the past 4 years, Indy has ranked top 10 in scoring and yards in the 2 seasons Andrew Luck has played; 25th or worse in yards and 16th or worse in scoring in the 2 years Luck missed. Colts HC Frank Reich does have experience with Rivers, coordinating his Chargers offense in 2014 and 2015, and spending 2013 as the QBs coach. San Diego finished 2014 ranked 17th in scoring and 18th in yards; 2015 found the Chargers 9th in yards but just 26th in points.
The Chargers have "moved on" from QB Philip Rivers, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. Rivers has spent the past 16 seasons with the franchise after being traded from the Giants during the 2004 draft. The 38-year-old reportedly wants to continue playing, so we'll see who he draws interest from in free agency. The Chargers, meanwhile, are now obviously a candidate to take a QB in the 1st round of April's draft. They currently hold the 6th overall pick.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers tossed 7 INTs over his past 2 games before the Week 12 bye. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, another similar game could get him benched in favor of Tyrod Taylor. "It is a move the Chargers hope to not think about and hope to not make," Rapoport writes. But "it would be made, if necessary." Rivers sits well down our QB rankings for today's game at Denver. The next 3 contests find the Chargers visiting Jacksonville and then hosting Minnesota and Oakland, though. There's big passing upside in at least those Week 15 and Week 16 matchups ... for whoever's quarterbacking the Chargers.
The Chargers on Monday fired OC Ken Whisenhunt. The veteran coach was in his 4th season as coordinator, after previously running the Chargers' offense in 2013. This year's crew sits just 23rd in scoring and has particularly struggled to run the ball. L.A. still ranks a decent 15th in yards per play, though, and 14th in Football Outsiders' overall offensive DVOA (through Week 7 games). HC Anthony Lynn figures to take over the play calling. Perhaps we'll see a bit more rushing volume after the switch, but the Chargers will need to get much better blocking to improve efficiency on that front. We're not adjusting our fantasy outlook for any Chargers players on this news.
Update: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Chargers plan to have QBs coach Shane Steichen call plays, "though coach Anthony Lynn will be heavily involved & give input."
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Chargers WR Mike Williams (knee) is "likely to be used Sunday in red-zone situations" against the Lions. He only got in a limited practice on Friday but "showed improvement later in the week," according to Schefter. We'd still try to avoid Williams in Week 2 fantasy lineups, but this news does give QB Philip Rivers' stock a slight boost.
The Chargers announced that TE Hunter Henry suffered a tibia plateau fracture to his left knee in Sunday's win over the Colts. For what it's worth, this is the opposite knee in which he tore his ACL last spring. Henry will "continue to be evaluated" and a timetable for his return "has not yet been determined," per the team's statement. There are 3 instances of a tibia plateau fracture in Sports Injury Predictor's database. Those guys (Nate Burleson, Anthony Hitchens and Daniel Sorensen) missed anywhere from 1 to 3 months. We should learn more about Henry's status over the next few days, but fantasy owners obviously need to plan to be without him for a while. Virgil Green is currently the Chargers' backup TE. (We'll see if they try to bring Antonio Gates back.) Henry's absence will push even more targets to WR Keenan Allen and RB Austin Ekeler.
Update: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Chargers are expecting Henry to miss 4-6 weeks.
QB Tyrod Taylor has inked a 2-year deal with the Chargers. He'll serve as a strong backup to QB Philip Rivers but obviously holds no value in 2019 fantasy football drafts. Taylor will be 31 when this contract expires.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that Chargers WR Keenan Allen (knee) is expected to play against the 49ers today. He only got in a limited practice on Friday, so don't expect him to be at 100%. But Allen still belongs in season-long lineups in a plum matchup. WR Travis Benjamin (foot) is also expected back for the Chargers today, per Rapoport. It's all good news for QB Philip Rivers.
Chargers TE Hunter Henry suffered a torn ACL in Tuesday's OTA session, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. "Did it during a drill, running downfield, untouched," Schefter tweeted. Freed from Antonio Gates' shadow, Henry was a prime breakout candidate entering his 3rd NFL season. He'll now miss the entire 2018 campaign. With Virgil Green now sitting atop the depth chart, the Chargers might consider bringing Gates back. The loss of Henry dings QB Philip Rivers' fantasy outlook and frees up targets for WRs Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers (concussion) is active for today’s game against the Bills. He practiced all week and received full clearance on Friday. Rivers is a solid QB1 vs. a Buffalo defense that’s allowed the 12th most fantasy points per game to QBs over the past 5 weeks.
The Chargers announced late Friday that QB Philip Rivers cleared the final step in the league concussion protocol and will play Sunday against the Bills. We’ve had Rivers projected in starter territory all along against a Buffalo D that has sprung some recent leaks
Chargers QB Philip Rivers (concussion) is listed as questionable for this weekend’s game vs. the Bills. He put in full practices on Thursday and Friday, so it sure looks like he’s on track to be cleared ahead of Sunday’s game. We should get another update on his status between now and Sunday morning.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers (concussion) was listed as a full participant in Thursday's practice. Barring a setback, he'll be out there for this weekend's game against the Bills. It's excellent news for all of Los Angeles' skill-position guys.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers (concussion) put in a limited practice on Wednesday. The fact that he was out there at all means he's made progress through the protocol. We'll continue to track his progress ahead of Sunday's game against the Bills.
Chargers HC Anthony Lynn announced Monday that QB Philip Rivers is in the concussion protocol. He didn't leave Sunday's loss to the Jaguars early, so the symptoms must have arisen Monday. We'll see about his status this week, but it obviously doesn't bode well for Sunday's game against the Bills. Kellen Clemens and Cardale Jones are the backups, with the team website listing Clemens #2.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Chargers will be activating rookie WR Mike Williams from the PUP and adding him to the 53-man roster. That's a surprising move after Williams spent the summer dealing with a back injury. He seemed a strong candidate to open the regular season on the PUP. This decision signals that Chargers coaches expect the 1st-round pick to be ready to contribute within the season's 1st quarter. We'd still be wary of expecting any fantasy value from Williams, but the added pass-catching talent can only help Philip Rivers.
The Chargers selected Clemson WR Mike Williams with the 7th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. He joins a loaded offense that also includes Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates. A scary neck injury cost Williams almost the entire 2015 campaign. But he turned in a strong 57-1,030-6 line as a sophomore and then exploded for 98 catches, 1,361 yards and 11 TDs this past year. Williams is a mediocre athlete who doesn’t create much separation at the top of his routes, but strong body control and hands make him dominant in contested situations. The question is whether those skills will translate to the next level against stronger DBs. Los Angeles isn’t an ideal landing spot, with loads of target competition in the short term and a QB question long term (Philip Rivers is 35).
On the same day they announced their relocation to Los Angeles, the Chargers named Anthony Lynn their new HC. Lynn has 17 seasons of experience in the NFL, but all but 1 of those were spent as a special teams or RB coach. Lynn was promoted to OC in Buffalo prior to Week 3 of this past season and was then named interim HC for the season finale. The Bills averaged 25.8 points per game under Lynn's watch -- a mark that would have ranked 8th league-wide. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Chargers are hoping to retain OC Ken Whisenhunt and hire Gus Bradley as DC.
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