Daily Dr. Roto—January 28, 2019
BOMBSHELL: Chargers “moved on” from Philip Rivers
The Los Angeles Chargers have decided to move on from QB Philip Rivers after 16 years with the franchise. Rivers, 38, will test the free-agent market and will be starting for another team next season. This announcement should not come as a surprise to many who have been paying attention, as just last week, Rivers said that he was moving his wife and children to Florida to be closer to family. This was also another way of saying that his time with the Chargers had come to an end.
What will the Chargers do?
The Chargers have the sixth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. With Joe Burrow expected to go first overall, either Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon’s Justin Herbert should be available when the Chargers select. If the Chargers want to make sure to “get their guy,” they could always decide to trade with the Detroit Lions, who have the third overall selection or the New York Giants who pick fourth overall. Assuming the Chargers take Tua or Herbert, he will be paired with Tyrod Taylor, who has one more year remaining on his contract. Having Taylor around will allow the Chargers to take their time with their rookie QB and make sure that he is ready to succeed before throwing him to the wolves.
Fantasy wise, this move potentially devalues many of the Chargers’ offensive players. No longer will Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have the luxury of catching passes from a man who has 16 years’ experience facing NFL defenses. This will most assuredly lower the numbers of Allen, Williams, and TE Hunter Henry, making them less valuable at Fantasy drafts next season. The only Charger who should not see a decrease in value is RB Austin Ekeler, who will probably benefit from catching short passes out of the backfield.
Where will Rivers likely end up?
There have been many reports about where Rivers could (and should end up). Rivers probably has about two years left as a quality starter in the NFL, so he would need to go to a team that is close to the playoffs and might only be lacking a top QB to get them there. Three teams that come to mind are Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, and Tennessee. Tampa Bay’s Head Coach Bruce Arians came back to coaching specifically because he thought he could win with the Bucs, but he was very frustrated with Jameis Winston’s decision making. Bringing in Rivers might be the perfect pairing with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to bring the Bucs to a playoff berth. The Colts are another team that could use a QB. Jacoby Brissett seemed to get worse with each passing week, and if the Colts think that they are only a QB away from making the playoffs, they might prefer to avoid drafting a rookie and paying Rivers for two seasons. The Titans were incredibly close to making the Super Bowl, and they might think that adding Rivers on a short-term contract would be better than sinking gobs of money into Ryan Tannehill on a long-term deal. Tannehill flashed nicely in the second half of the year as a starter for the Titans, but Rivers is clearly a better player and would improve their offense immensely.
Another place where Rivers could end up is in Miami as a potential one-year replacement until Tua or Herbert is ready to take over as the starter. This seems to be more remote, as the Dolphins already have Ryan Fitzpatrick on their roster who would come at a much cheaper price than Rivers.
It will be interesting to see where Rivers ends up. One of the things holding him back from a potential Hall of Fame selection has been his lack of quality playoff appearances. However, if he chooses the right team going forward, he might be able to add to his Canton resume.